Historical Center of Istanbul with Travel Warnings

Located south of the Golden Horn, Istanbul’s Historical Center is the area featuring most of the city’s well-known sights. Beginning with the borough of Sultanahmet, wander around its “meydanis” (squares) and “sokaks” (streets) to explore the Historical Center’s most popular attractions, including Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Byzantine Hippodrome.

Moving down to the borough of Beyazit, you will have a chance to see Beyazit Tower and the Beyazit University, which dates back to 1453 and was founded right after Istanbul was conquered by the Ottomans. However, Beyazit is mostly known as a gateway to the Grand Bazaar. Enter the Grand Bazaar from Beyazit Square to explore its 4000 shops, which spread around a maze of 56 alleys in one of the world’s largest roofed markets.

North of Beyazit, you will find Eminonu and Suleymaniye. Suleymaniye being known for the namesake mosque, Eminonu is mostly well-known for its Spice Bazaar and the New Mosque. Bosporus Cruises begin from Eminonu’s pier as well.

Moving southwest of the Spice Bazaar you will come across Tahtakale’s picturesque narrow streets and traditional coffee shops. Kumkapi on the other hand, is known for its many fish taverns.

Fatih borough also gathers a large amount of sights. One of the city’s most conservative areas, Fatih hosts the Valens Aqueduct, the Yedikule Fort, the Palace of Porphyrogenitus, the tombs of several important sultans and a series of mosques, most of which used to be Byzantine churches. The Greek Patriarchate is also located in Fatih.

Modern Center North of the Golden Horn spreads Istanbul’s Modern Center, the city’s vibrant and lively core. Taksim Square is a popular meeting point for locals who go shopping or just for a walk down Istiklal pedestrian and its side streets.

Sisli is the modern city’s business hub, while located within Sisli district, Nisantasi area is the hot spot for Istanbul’s young elite. Featuring apartment buildings in Art Nouveau architecture, it is thriving with dozens of hip galleries, sophisticated bars and luxurious boutiques occupying every other corner.

The emperor’s summer residence during Byzantine times, Besiktas hosted the palaces and gardens of several Sultans in Ottoman era; Topkapi Palace and Dolmabahce Palace are two excellent examples. Within the boundaries of Besiktas district you will find Ortakoy borough, which is known for its lively nightlife.

Karakoy is the city’s transportation hub, also known for its Persembe Pazari, which houses dozens of electronics-related shops. Istanbul Modern, Istanbul’s brand new museum of contemporary art, is located here. Housing the city’s red light district, the area is better to be avoided after dark.

Istanbul Travel Warnings – January 12, 2016
A Syrian suicide bomber is believed to have carried out the deadly attack on a historic central square in Istanbul that killed at least 10 people and injured 15 more, including foreign tourists, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

At least six German citizens, one Norwegian and one Peruvian were injured in the blast, Dogan reported. Norway’s Foreign Ministry later confirmed that one Norwegian citizen was injured in the blast and is receiving treatment at a local hospital.

“It’s not a life-threatening injury,” Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Guri Solberg said.

There was a group of German tourists on the square at the time of the blasts, an official from a tour company told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

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