/ Istanbul / Places to Visit / Valens Aqueduct
A double-storey Roman one built during the reign of Valens (r.
A double-storey Roman one built during the reign of Valens (r. 364-378) to provide the city with fresh water coming from the surrounding forests, this 921-metre long aqueduct spans the valley occupied by what is now Atatürk Boulevard (Atatürk Bulvarı), which lies in the very middle of the peninsula, connecting Aksaray with Unkapanı on the bank of Golden Horn and then Taksim Square, behind the opposite shore of Golden Horn. The aqueduct is one of the symbols of the city and it will likely welcome you to the city on your way from airport to hotel if you are going to stay around Taksim/Beyoğlu.
Located in Arasta Bazaar, this museum hosts the pavement mosaics of the Byzantine-era Great Palace of Constantinople, which once occupied all the way from Sultanahmet Square, then the Hippodrome, to the coast of the Sea of Marmara
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior
Carpets, rugs, calligraphy, pottery
The Basilica Cistern, also known as ‘Yerebatan Cistern’ or Sunken Cistern, is the largest of the several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath Istanbul, with a holding capacity of 80,000 m3
While this partially intact marble pillar dating back to 4th century AD may seem unremarkable, it was the starting point of any distance measured within the empire during the Byzantine era, so it may be nice to think that you are in the centre of where all the roads lead to (or, rather, start from)
Hagia Sophia is a 6th century Orthodox patriarchal basilica that was later used as a mosque, and is today a museum
A car-free downhill cobbled street just behind Hagia Sophia, with renovated (or totally re-built) traditional wooden houses two- or three-storeys tall typical of Ottoman era, leaning against the outer wall of Topkapi Palace grounds/Gülhane Park
This park was royal hunting grounds in the past
Hagia Irene, which you will notice to your left after entering the outer yard of Topkapi Palace, is one of few Byzantine-era cathedrals which was never converted to a mosque (though not used for religious purposes either during the Ottoman period), although access to the interior is not allowed unless you have a ticket to the classical music concerts sometimes taking place inside the building
A must see! One of the best, including a great collection of Sumerian tablets, pieces of the wall of Babylon and Roman marble statues