Iconic Historical Attractions in Turkey's Marmara Region

This content was last updated on 29.01.2024 15:12

Historical places in the Marmara Region

Tarihi Yarımada (Historical Peninsula) İstanbul

Tarihi Yarımada

The historical peninsula area located within the oldest boundaries of Istanbul is also known as the Historic Peninsula or Suriçi. As a part of the Fatih district, this region contains traces of almost all civilizations that have passed through Istanbul. During your visit to Istanbul, you must definitely try fish-bread in Eminönü, explore the famous Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar, enjoy a tea with a view of the Bosphorus in Gülhane Park, and visit all the historical buildings and museums in Sultanahmet!

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Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) İstanbul


One of the first places that come to mind when it comes to places to visit in Istanbul is Hagia Sophia, one of the world's oldest cathedrals. It was commissioned by Eastern Roman Emperor Constantius and built in the year 360. Its present appearance is the result of the work of Anthemius of Tralles and Isidore of Miletus, who were commissioned by Emperor Justinian. With the combined effort of these two architects, Hagia Sophia became the fastest-built cathedral of its time, completed in 5 years and 10 months, surpassing other structures of that era. After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. Mimar Sinan added minarets to Hagia Sophia. In 1935, it was transformed into a museum and in 2020, it was reopened for worship.

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Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Topkapı Sarayı (Topkapi Palace) İstanbul

Topkapı Sarayı

When you go to the Historical Peninsula, one of the first places you should see is, of course, Topkapi Palace. Located on Sarayburnu, Topkapi Palace was built after the conquest of Istanbul and served as the center of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years. Reflecting the grandeur of the Ottoman Empire's most splendid periods, the palace was converted into a museum on April 3, 1924, becoming the first museum of the Republic of Turkey. Covering an area of 300,000 square meters, Topkapi Palace is among the world's largest palace museums with 300,000 archival documents. Sections such as the Harem Section, Chamber of the Sacred Relics, Imperial Council Chamber, and the Palace Gardens are particularly popular. You can visit Topkapi Palace on any day except Tuesdays.

Opening hours:

  • Closed on Tuesdays
  • Other days: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

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Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Sultanahmet Camii (Sultanahmet Mosque) İstanbul

Sultanahmet Camii

The Sultanahmet Mosque, the most touristy spot in Istanbul, is not only the symbol of the city but also of our country. Built in the 17th century by Sedefkar Mehmet Ağa, a student of Mimar Sinan, under the order of Sultan Ahmet I, the interior of the mosque is adorned with 21,043 tiles from İznik. Due to the color of these tiles, Sultanahmet has a serene, sky-blue appearance, earning it the nickname "Blue Mosque," especially among foreign tourists. The mosque's 16 domes were constructed to symbolize Sultan Ahmet I being the 16th Ottoman Sultan. Today, the Sultanahmet Mosque is open for worship, which is why it can be quite crowded on Fridays and during holidays.

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Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Galata Kulesi (Galata Tower) İstanbul

Galata Kulesi

Let's talk about my favorite place in Istanbul, the Galata Tower. This iconic tower, one of the symbols of the city, was built in the year 528. After the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet, the key to the tower was handed over to the Ottoman Empire by the Genoese. The top floor of the tower, from its terrace, offers a delightful panoramic view of the entire city and is operated as a restaurant. If you prefer, you can also sit on the stairs and benches just below and enjoy the view of Galata instead of Istanbul.

Opening hours:

  • Every day from 08:30 AM to 10:00 PM

Admission fee:

  • 650 TL (Museum Pass is accepted)

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Galata Tower, Istanbul, Turkey

Aya Yorgi Kilisesi (Hagia Yorgi Church) İstanbul

Aya Yorgi Kilisesi

The Church of Saint George, located at the highest point of Büyükada, annually welcomes visitors who quietly and by pulling ropes, walk up to it, hoping for their wishes to come true. Due to the popular legend surrounding this Orthodox church, both the island and the church experience a high influx of people on September 24th and April 23rd. The church, built in 1751, has a steep path leading to it. If you plan to visit this place on one of its famous dates, you should make an early reservation at Büyükada hotels, as finding a place without a reservation can be challenging.

Dolmabahçe Sarayı (Dolmabahce Palace) İstanbul

Dolmabahçe Sarayı

The palace stretching from Beşiktaş to Kabataş along the coastline, right at the edge of the sea, holds national and historical significance as it is the place where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk passed away. According to the notes of Evliya Çelebi, Yavuz Sultan Selim had a pavilion built in the current location of the palace. In the 19th century, Sultan Abdulmecid II replaced the pavilion with a palace. Dolmabahçe, Istanbul's third-largest palace, became a venue for hosting foreign guests, congresses, and meetings in the early years of the Republic. Since 1952, the palace has been open to the public for commemorating Atatürk and for tourist visits.

Opening hours:

  • Closed on Mondays
  • Other days: 09:00 AM - 04:00 PM

Admission fee:

  • 800 TL (Museum Pass is accepted)

Selimiye Camii (Selimiye Mosque) Edirne

Selimiye Camii

The Selimiye Mosque, which Mimar Sinan described as his "masterpiece," is located in Edirne, one of the former capitals of the Ottoman Empire. This work, visible from all parts of the city, combines elegance and grandeur. The tile decorations of the Selimiye Mosque, commissioned by Sultan Selim II, were produced in İznik. In these decorations, 101 different tulip motifs were used.

Truva Antik Kenti (Ancient City of Troy) Çanakkale

Truva Antik Kenti

Troy, the legendary site of the famous Trojan War, is one of the world's most renowned ancient cities. The initial settlement in this city with nine layers is estimated to have been around 3000 BC. At the museum located at the entrance of the Troy Archaeological Site, you can explore hundreds of artifacts unearthed from the excavation of this unique city. In 2018, the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism declared it the Year of Troy, leading to an increased interest in the region.

Opening hours:

  • Every day from 08:30 AM to 05:30 PM

Admission fee:

  • 600 TL (Museum Pass is accepted)

Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park, Çanakkale

Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park

The national park located in the Eceabat district of Çanakkale fills me with both sorrow and pride every time I visit. Çanakkale, one of the most significant fronts of World War I, also witnessed the most intense and bloody face of the war. On the peninsula that you can explore with local guides, you can find remnants of the war, fortifications, castles, museums, reconstruction works, and, of course, memorials. If you want to learn the history of these lands firsthand, you can find bus services to Çanakkale from all over the country.

Ulu Camii (Grand Mosque) Bursa

Ulu Camii

The mosque, commissioned by Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I, is one of the city's most important symbols. The structure is also the first Ottoman mosque with multiple domes. Heavily affected by the earthquake in 1855, the mosque's restoration involved some of the most famous calligraphers of the time. Therefore, the mosque has become a virtual museum of calligraphy. After visiting the Ulu Mosque, a must-see on Bursa tours, don't forget to explore the famous inns located in the city center!

Taksiyarhis Kilisesi (Taksiyarhis Church) Balıkesir

Taksiyarhis Kilisesi

The Taksiyarhis Church, located on the colorful Cunda Island, the most touristy part of Ayvalık, is the first church of Ayvalık. Built in 1873, the place of worship is currently an untouched monument museum. Operating under the name Rahmi M. Koç Museum, the church houses various collection items, from historical toys to baby carriages, boats, and model cars. You can reach Cunda Island from the center of Ayvalık either by minibus or by boat. After visiting Taksiyarhis, you can enjoy wandering through the streets of the island.

Opening hours:

  • Closed on Mondays
  • Other days: 10:00 AM - 6:30 PM

Yürüyen Köşk (Walking Mansion) Yalova

Yürüyen Köşk

The mansion, constructed in 1929 with the purpose of accommodating Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, is located in Yalova. Named the "Walking Mansion" because the mansion was shifted using a rail system to avoid cutting down the plane tree in Atatürk's property garden. When you visit the mansion, you can still see the plane tree that greets visitors. You can enjoy an organic and delicious breakfast at the café here and explore the interior of the mansion, which holds historical and political significance.

Opening hours:

  • Closed on Mondays
  • Other days: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM

Koza Han, Bursa

Koza Han

Koza Han, built in the spacious area between Orhan Mosque and Ulu Mosque, was commissioned by Sultan Bayezid II with the aim of generating income for the mosque and madrasa in Istanbul. With 50 rooms on the upper floor and 45 rooms on the lower floor, Koza Han serves as an important center for the sale of silk and silk products. For those who wish to have tea or a snack after exploring, a cafe and tea garden have been established in the garden of Koza Han. Built in 1492, you can take a journey into the past by visiting this structure, purchase unique products made from Bursa silk, and enjoy a cup of tea in the cafe in the courtyard.

Opening hours:

  • Saturday: 08:00 AM - 8:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:30 AM - 6:30 PM
  • Other days: 08:00 AM - 7:30 PM

Küçük Mustafa Pasha Hamam, İstanbul

Küçük Mustafa Pasha Hamam

Located across from the Gül Mosque, converted from a Byzantine church, the Küçük Mustafa Pasha Hamam is a 15th-century bathhouse. Considered one of the most significant bathhouses of its time, Küçük Mustafa Pasha Hamam remains usable today despite being an ancient structure, thanks to the restoration efforts. The restoration work was carried out in line with the original plan of the hamam, preserving its initial form, allowing visitors to observe traces of the past when entering the space. To experience a unique atmosphere in a historically renowned structure, you can visit the Küçük Mustafa Pasha Hamam.

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