Travel Guide for the Historical Peninsula: Must-Visit Places in the Historical Peninsula

When it comes to must-visit places in Fatih, Istanbul, it is the "Historical Peninsula" that comes to mind first. Referred to as the heart of Istanbul, the area, an excellent reflection of the rich historical texture, is also known as Surici. 





The Historical Peninsula - the Old Town of Istanbul - nestles between the Marmara Sea, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, and is a unique location that is home to historical artifacts and buildings with a long-standing history. Topping the list of popular places in Istanbul, the Historical Peninsula promises an unbeatable experience for those who love traveling and exploring.



Where is the Historical Peninsula?

The question “Where is the Historical Peninsula?” is one of the most frequently asked  questions by local and foreign tourists. With a deep-rooted history dating back to 685 BC, the Historical Peninsula is in a location connected to the Golden Horn, the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus. Located in Fatih district, the peninsula bears the traces of Egyptian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. The surroundings of Sultanahmet, Suleymaniye Mosque and its surroundings, and Fener and Balat districts are popular and important places in the Historical Peninsula. 


Must-Visit Places in the Historical Peninsula

We can say that, in fact, the Historical Peninsula is Istanbul that was conquered by Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Let's take a look at the list of must-visit places in the Historical Peninsula, a popular site in the Istanbul travel map.




Topkapi Palace

Built in 1478, Topkapi Palace is located at the heart of the Historical Peninsula. This palace was used actively until Sultan Abdulmecit moved to Dolmabahce Palace. Topkapi Palace was turned into a museum in accordance with the law that was enacted by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on April 3, 1924.



It takes a full day to explore Topkapi Palace in detail. Topkapi Palace features the paintings, furniture, jewellery, weapons, porcelain ware and many other cultural heritage from the Ottoman Empire.






At Sultanahmet Square, which is crowded and lively all day long, you can relax while watching the Hagia Sophia, Sultanahmet Mosque and their surroundings. Sultanahmet promises great time by taking you on a journey to the past, thanks to the historical monuments such as the German Fountain, Horse Square, Serpent Column and Obelisk. 



Hagia Sophia

Meaning "Holy Wisdom" in Greek, Hagia Sophia stands out as one of the must-visit places in the Historical Peninsula. Hagia Sophia, which strikes one immediately with its unique color, is the first cathedral in the world. 




With striking mosaics that makes it more valuable, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul. In 1930, Hagia Sophia was restored and turned into a museum, and in 2020, it was reopened to serve as a mosque for worship. 




Basilica Cistern

Located in the Historical Peninsula, Basilica Cistern was built by the Roman Emperor Justinian. With 336 columns, the cistern was built to provide water supply to Istanbul.





Basilica Cistern, which served as water storage for centuries, attracts local and foreign tourists with its "Inverted Medusa Head". In 1987, the Basilica Cistern, one of the must-visit places, was cleaned and renovated by the Municipality of Istanbul, and opened to tourism. 





Istanbul Archeology Museum

Located near Gulhane Park, Istanbul Archeology Museum was founded by Osman Hamdi Bey in 1869 as Muze-i Humayun. The museum also features Tiled Pavilion built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet, Darphane-i Amire, Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum and Binbirdirek Cistern.



Gulhane Park

Gulhane Park, which served as the yard of Topkapi Palace in the past, now serves as an independent park. The walnut trees here also remind us of a well-known song. You can enjoy taking a walk at Gulhane Park, which remains as an important place where Tanzimat Fermani (Imperial Edict of Gulhane) was declared. 



How to Get to the Historical Peninsula

To get to the Historical Peninsula, you can take the tram, get off at Sultanahmet or Gulhane stations and then walk to the desired point. Our article The World's Top City Landmarks and Their Stories on our Blog page can be inspiring for new and different destinations for the wandering spirit in you. 



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