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Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia)

Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia)

Aya Sofya is a remarkable mixture of Christianity and Islam, a church with minarets and a mosque with pictures of the Virgin Mary (now covered up, unfortunately). The building is one of the wonders of world architecture. Its 32-metre main dome has stood firm since Aya Sofya's completion in 537 CE. Yes, that's almost one and a half thousand years ago. Originally constructed as a Christian church, the temple has since been a mosque, then a museum, and now once again acts as a mosque.
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Süleymaniye

Süleymaniye

Süleymaniye is the largest mosque dating from 1557 and also contains the mausoleum of sultan Süleyman and his wife Roxelane. The master architect Mimar Sinan built many of Istanbul’s mosques during the 1500s and is buried next to the mosque. This is one of the best-known sights of Istanbul, and from its location on the Third Hill, it commands an extensive view of the city around the Golden Horn. If you have seen a photo of Istanbul taken from a ferry — most likely Süleymaniye is right in the middle of the composition.
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Boat trips

Boat trips

Boats travel along the shores of the Bosporus from Eminönü, they chug quietly under the bridges that connect Europe and Asia. One hour away is Anadolukavağı, a little Asian fishing village with lots of pleasant restaurants. You can travel to the largest of the Prince Islands with a Seabus, departing from Kabataş below the Dolmabahçe Palace. Ferry terminals in Eminönü and Karaköy on either side of the Galata bridge are good starting points for exploring Istanbul by ferry.
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Maçka Park

Maçka Park

Maçka Democracy Park is about 10 minutes away from Taksim square and has paths for jogging, walking and dog walking. The northern part of the park is popular with young people who come there to sit around on the lawn, talk with friends over a couple of drinks and escape the heat of the city blocks. The park's location close to a university campus means it's always full of hip students. Don't miss the opportunity to fly high above the park in a cute 2-cabin cable car. You'll need your public transit card for that.
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Galata tower

Galata tower

The Galata Tower is a medieval stone tower in the Galata/Karaköy quarter of Istanbul, just to the north of the Golden Horn's junction with the Bosphorus. The top floor of the tower is located at a height of 52 meters and houses an observation deck. It is unlikely that you will find a better lookout spot in all of the city — simply stunning. The tower is one of the most iconic building in Istanbul and is a very popular destination. It's a good idea to come early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
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