Visit Istikal Street &
Our Hotel's Spot in Istanbul!
More Near Our Hotel's Spot in Istanbul!
Our Hotel's Also Near Istanbul University and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
Additionally, our hotel's locale also puts you near the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and Istanbul University, among myriad other equally beautiful and enlightening points of interest in the area. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, home to the world headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Church, is six miles away, and Istanbul University, now in its 558th year, is just three miles from the hotel.
Exciting Istiklal Street is Just Minutes from Our Hotel's Central Spot in Istanbul
In English, Istiklal Street or Avenue translates to "Independence Avenue". And you will definitely feel free as you stroll the busy and beautiful pedestrian avenue filled with dozens and dozens of options all ready and waiting for just your style of entertainment and pleasure. From boutiques, music shops and bookstores to galleries, movie theaters, playhouses and libraries to cafes, live music, night clubs and a mouthwatering array of historical patisseries, chocolate shops and restaurants.
What Kinds of Attractions Wait Outside of Hotel Sari Konak in Istanbul? Ancient Palaces, Whirling Dervishes, the Grand Bazaar and Turkish Baths.
The first palace built in the freshly conquered capital of the of the Ottoman Empire, Topkapi Palace dates back to 1466. Enjoy beautiful views of Istanbul and the sea of Marmara. The palace is open daily between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., except during the winter months, during which time it is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The palace is always closed on Tuesdays. Guided tours in English are available every 30 minutes. You will certainly want to visit the Harem and the Treasury, for which you will need to purchase separate tickets. Given that you are likely to spend from two to three hours here, lunch at the palace Konyali Restaurant, complete with beautiful views overlooking the sea of Marmara, is always a pleasure.
Built between 532 and 537 A.D., the ancient Byzantine church Hagia Sophia is the most renowned and famed monument in Istanbul and was converted into a mosque in the mid-fifteenth century. Hagia Sophia, the name of which translates to "divine wisdom," features both Christian and Islamic art and is one of the most impressive sights in Istanbul. Be sure to venture to the upper gallery, which is filled with breathtakingly beautiful mosaics created in the Byzantine era. Hagia Sophia is open every day except Monday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Located directly across from Hagia Sophia, the seventeenth-century era Blue Mosque is famous for the beautiful blue tile work ornamenting its walls. As it is a working mosque, the Blue Mosque is closed to visitors for a half hour after each call to prayer. Please remember that shorts and skirts are prohibited in the mosque, but that's a small price to pay for the beauty you will witness while touring this gorgeous and sacred space.
Built in the fifteenth century, the Covered Bazaar or Grand Bazaar features an exotic atmosphere complete with fine shops and some of the same sorts of wares sold so many centuries ago. This confluence of the ancient and the modern—where you can visit a multitude of sections filled with specialized wares, including leather, rugs, souvenirs, copper and textiles—make a visit to this Grand Bazaar an absolute must. With 18 gates and 60 streets inside, the Grand Bazaar is truly an adventure.The bazaar is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and is closed on Sundays.
Experience this world-famous luxury for yourself—a Turkish bath, known in Turkey as a hamam. Recommended as a cleansing and relaxing evening practice, this steam bath is invigorating and incredibly efficient in releasing toxins from the body. There are two old and well-known Turkish baths in Sultanahmet—Cemberlitas Hamami and Cagaloglu Hamami.
Take a Tour on Bosphorus Strait. It's Just Minutes from Our Hotel's Front Doors!
Spanning the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara that separate Europe and Asia, this 20-mile strait offers a one-of-a-kind way to enjoy the treasures of Istanbul—by boat! Public cruises leave from Eminonu every morning at 10:30. During the summer months only, two more boats depart at both noon an 1:30 in the afternoon. The cruise's final stop is Anadolu Kavagi, a small village near the Black Sea end of Bosphorus. Numerous options abound when it comes to Bosphorus cruises. Discover which one is right for you.
An impressive work of architecture built in the 16th century by the famed architect Mimar Sinan for Sultan Soliman the Magnificient, Suleymaniye Camii (Mosque of Soliman), is the largest mosque in Istanbul.
Built on the Bosphorus shore, this European-style palace became the Ottoman imperial family's new residence upon the palace's completion in 1856.The imperial family left the medieval Topkapi Palace for the more modern environs of Dolmabahce Palace.
Prior to the Republic, Dolmabahce housed Sultans and their families. Following the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk stayed here during his visits Istanbul. Atatürk actually died here on the 10th of November in 1938 and the palace now serves as a museum.
Chora Church and Kariye Museum
Originally built in the fourth century, this ancient Byzantine church known as Chora Church was, in the fifteenth century A.D., converted into a mosque. Now known as the Kariye Museum, this sacred space—which boasts the most beautiful mosaics in Istanbul—is an absolute must-see.
In the Mevlevi Lodge, The Whirling Dervishes—followers of the mystic poet and Sufi master Rumi and members of the Mevlevi Order—perform their sacred dance and ceremony known as a Sema. This reverent ceremony involves spinning dancers and music to accompany the speed of the whirling dancers. All of this is performed to represent the spiritual journey shared by seekers, which is to experience a closer connection to God, truth and love. This is Rumi's most famous writing is his invitation to the Sema:
Whoever you may be, come
Even though you may be
An infidel, a pagan, or a fire-worshiper, come
Our brotherhood is not one of despair
Though you have broken
Your vows of repentance a hundred times, come
Performances of this ritual can be witnessed at Galata Mevlevihanesi, at the Nurettin Cerrahi Tekkesi or at Sirkeci Train Station. For more information, please contact our front desk.
Unimaginably, perhaps, there are many more attractions to be experienced in Istanbul. Just ask our friendly and knowledgeable staff to suggest an itinerary perfectly fitting to your taste, style and budget.