Do you want to experience Istanbul like a local? There are hidden jems in the center of Istanbul where you can spend some of the most amazing hours when travelling to Istanbul. Here are a few places recommended by a local, take your time, relax, visit and if you then want to enjoy some hours just for yourself, see where here.
Here the 10 hidden germs must places in Istanbul!
1. The Chora Church
Everybody knows the beautíful Hagia Sophia, but not everyone has entered the Chora Church. The Chora Church was originally built as a Christian Orthodox church by the Byzantine Empire, but later on, during the years of the Ottoman Empire, it was turned into a mosque. Not that many places in the world that had been both churches and mosques! The Chora Church, which is also called the Kariye, is now a museum in Edirnekapi in Istanbul. Explore this unusual holy place which is full of history!
2. Beyazit State Library
The Beyazit State Library was first founded in 1884, the library building was originally a soup kitchen and a Caravanserai complex (Roadside in where travelers “caravaners” could rest and recover from the day’s journey.) Today, it is one of the best libraries in the world where you can find old Ottoman, Arabic and Persian books. ‘Minimal intervention’ approach ensures the spirit of the place survives while modern facilities are grafted onto the historic fabric. You must see the minimalist historic Beyazit State Library and enjoy the smell of the old Ottoman, Arabic and Persian art pieces.
3. Kleingarten Istanbul
Now let’s have some fun! Klein Garten is the summer version of the now very famous electronic music club Klein. Located on the rooftop that used to be Nu Teras in Beyoglu, the place is a must go for all the lovers of electronic music. Dj’s and events will be staged all year, don’t miss it while you are in Istanbul!
4. Mandabatmaz Turkish Coffee
Hello coffee lovers! Turkish coffee is a method of preparing very finely ground unfiltered coffee. Mandabatmaz is one of the best places to have a Turkish coffee made by Cemil Filik. The place is in Asmali Mescit in Beyoglu District. A unique experience on the old strees of Beyoglu!
5. Istanbul Toy Museum
It is not a place only for kids, also toys are not either. It’s not a museum but a collection of toys. You will definitely find something which will bring back your innerchild . The museum, founded by the Turkish poet and novelist, Sunay Akın, was nominated and shortlisted for the annual European Museum Academy Children’s Museum Award. Find it in Kadikoy area.
6. Ada Beach Club
The Princes’ Islands are a cluster of 9 islands southeast of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara. Mainly car-free, the islands are known for their horse-drawn carriages. Ada Beach Club is in Heybeliada, one of the Princes’ Islands. Here you can enjoy swimming in the middle of Istanbul.
7. Cagaloglu Hamami
Turkish Baths (“hamam“) were a public utility in the past because of water shortages. Although most Turkish homes have adequate plumbing today, the baths remain a social institution. Men and Women’s baths are separately housed. Cagaloglu is one of the oldest Turkish baths in Istanbul. You must visit Cagaloglu to experience the scrub and massage which are done by a tellak.
8. Bomonti Ada
Bomonti Ada is a historic Istanbul beer factory that is re-purposed as a public and comercial, social space. Bomonti Ada is the house of art events and concerts today. The facility includes many restaurants, bars and open concert spaces. You can enjoy great food while watching live concerts on Bomonti Ada.
9. Villa Bosphorus
Villa Bosphorus is a seafood restaurant that you can do raki-fish with a magnificent Bosphorus view. The restaurant is located in Cengelkoy, a historic neighbohour in the Asian side of Istanbul. Do not leave Istanbul before having raki-fish in Villa Bosphorus!
10. Sunset in Harem
The Maiden Tower is a tower lying on a small islet located at the southern entrance built by Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus. Sit at the shore of the Bosphorus just in front of the Maiden tower at Uskudar district and get amazed with the beautiful sunset behind the Maidens Tower and old Istanbul neighbourhood.
Now I guess you must feel tired and without energy after visiting all these places, relax and charge bateries in some of the best hotels in Istanbul for some hours!