Top 5 Instagrammable Spots in Istanbul

A complete guide to the top Instagram-worthy locations in Istanbul

In today’s social media-driven world, Instagram has become one of the most popular platforms for sharing photos and experiences. Instagrammable spots in Istanbul, also known as Instagram-worthy locations, are places that are visually appealing and perfect for taking photos that are likely to get a lot of likes and shares on Instagram.

Instagrammable Spots in Istanbul

The 5 Most Instagram-worthy Locations in Istanbul

Instagrammable spots in Istanbul are locations that are visually striking and unique, making them perfect for taking photos that are likely to get a lot of engagement on social media. These spots can be anything from natural landscapes to urban landmarks, and they often feature vibrant colors, interesting textures, and unique architecture.

Let’s have a look at the top 5 Instagrammable spots in this beautiful city!

1. Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is a historical and architectural marvel that has stood the test of time and witnessed the rise and fall of empires. Originally built as a cathedral in the Byzantine era, it was later converted into a mosque during the Ottoman era and finally into a museum in 1935. In this section, we will delve into the historical background of Hagia Sophia, its unique architecture and interior design, and the best Instagrammable spots inside the museum.

Hagia Sophia in the morning fog
Hagia Sophia in the morning fog

Good To Know About Hagia Sophia:
the #1 Instagrammable Spot in Istanbul

Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Justinian I. It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years until the construction of the Seville Cathedral in Spain. The cathedral was the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

In 1453, the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople and converted Hagia Sophia into a mosque. The Ottomans added minarets and other Islamic architectural elements to the building. It remained a mosque until 1935 when it was converted into a museum by the Turkish government.

The conversion of Hagia Sophia into a museum was a controversial decision that sparked debate and protests. Many people saw it as an attempt to erase the Islamic heritage of the building and turn it into a symbol of Turkish nationalism. However, the decision was also seen as a way to preserve the historical and cultural significance of the building and make it accessible to people of all faiths.

Architecture and interior design that shines on Instagram

Hagia Sophia’s architecture is a blend of Byzantine and Islamic styles. The most striking feature of the building is its massive dome, which is 55.6 meters in height and 31.8 meters in diameter. The dome is supported by four piers and two semi-domes, which distribute the weight of the dome evenly and create a sense of spaciousness inside the building.

Another unique feature of Hagia Sophia’s architecture is its buttresses, which were added to the building in the 10th century to reinforce the structure. The buttresses are made of stone and have decorative arches that add to the beauty of the building.

Hagia Sophia’s interior design is a testament to the skill and creativity of the Byzantine and Ottoman architects and artists who worked on the building. The walls and ceilings are adorned with intricate mosaics, frescoes, and calligraphy that reflect the religious and cultural traditions of the time.

Some of the most notable artworks inside Hagia Sophia include the mosaic of the Virgin and Child in the apse, the Deesis mosaic in the south gallery, and the calligraphic panels on the upper levels of the building. The marble floors and columns are also a sight to behold, with their intricate patterns and designs.

Instagrammable Spots Inside Hagia Sophia

Dome and ceiling mosaics: The dome and ceiling mosaics of Hagia Sophia are some of the most Instagrammable spots inside the museum. The intricate designs and vibrant colors of the mosaics make for stunning photos. The best way to capture the beauty of the mosaics is to use a wide-angle lens and shoot from a low angle to capture the full scope of the dome.

Marble floors and columns: The marble floors and columns of Hagia Sophia are another Instagrammable spot that shouldn’t be missed. The patterns and designs on the marble are unique and add to the overall aesthetic of the building. To capture the beauty of the marble, it’s best to shoot from a low angle and use a polarizing filter to reduce glare.

Gallery and balcony views: The galleries and balconies of Hagia Sophia offer breathtaking views of the interior of the building. The best way to capture these views is to use a telephoto lens and shoot from a high angle. The balconies also offer a great opportunity to capture the scale and grandeur of the building.

2. Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace is a significant historical landmark in Istanbul, Turkey. Once the residence of the Ottoman sultans and their court from the 15th to the 19th century, it has been converted into a museum that showcases the rich history and culture of the Ottoman Empire.

Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, interior
Topkapi palace in Istanbul, interior

Good To Know About the Topkapi Palace: #2 Most Instagrammable Spot in Istanbul

The Ottoman Empire was one of the most powerful empires in history, spanning across three continents and lasting for over six centuries. The empire was founded by Osman I in 1299 and reached its peak during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century. Topkapi Palace was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans and their court from the 15th to the 19th century. It was the center of political and cultural life in the Ottoman Empire, where the sultans held court and made important decisions that shaped the course of history.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, Topkapi Palace was converted into a museum by the new Turkish government. The museum opened its doors to the public in 1924 and has since become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul. It houses a vast collection of artifacts, including weapons, armor, textiles, manuscripts, and ceramics, that offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the Ottoman Empire.

A Palace With Impressive Gardens and Intricate Artwork

Topkapi Palace is a sprawling complex that covers an area of 700,000 square meters. It is divided into four main courtyards, each with its own distinct features and functions. The first courtyard is the largest and served as the main entrance to the palace. It features a large fountain and is surrounded by administrative buildings and barracks. The second courtyard was the official entrance to the palace and was reserved for the sultan and his court. It features the Imperial Gate, the first of many impressive gates and portals that lead deeper into the palace. The third courtyard was the private domain of the sultan and his family, and it contains the palace’s most impressive buildings and gardens. The fourth courtyard was the harem, where the sultan’s concubines and their children lived.

The palace is renowned for its intricate decorative elements and artwork. The walls and ceilings are adorned with colorful tiles, intricate carvings, and beautiful calligraphy. The palace’s most impressive rooms are the Audience Chamber, the Imperial Council Chamber, and the Harem section. These rooms feature lavish decorations, including gold leaf, mother-of-pearl, and precious stones.

Instagrammable spots inside Topkapi Palace

Courtyards and gardens: Topkapi Palace’s courtyards and gardens offer some of the most Instagrammable spots in the palace. The first courtyard features a large fountain and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. The third courtyard is home to the palace’s most impressive gardens, including the famous Rose Garden and the Fruit Garden. These gardens offer stunning views of the palace’s impressive architecture and are perfect for taking beautiful photos.

Imperial Council Chamber: The Imperial Council Chamber is one of the most impressive rooms in Topkapi Palace. It features a large dome and is adorned with intricate decorations, including gold leaf and mother-of-pearl. The room was used for important meetings and ceremonies, and it offers a glimpse into the grandeur of the Ottoman Empire.

Harem section: The Harem section is one of the most intriguing parts of Topkapi Palace. It was the private domain of the sultan and his family and was off-limits to outsiders. The section contains many beautiful rooms and gardens, including the Courtyard of the Black Eunuchs and the Courtyard of the Concubines. These areas offer a glimpse into the private lives of the sultan and his family and are perfect for taking unique and interesting photos.

3. Galata Tower

Galata Tower, located in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. With a rich history dating back to the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, the tower has played a significant role in Istanbul’s skyline for centuries.

Galata Tower, Istanbul

Good to know about the Galata Tower; #3 Most Instagrammable Spot in Istanbul

The tower was originally built by the Genoese in the 14th century as part of their fortifications around the Galata district. After the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453, the tower was used as a watchtower and later as a fire lookout. During the 19th century, it was used as a prison and later as a telegraph station.

Today, Galata Tower is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of Istanbul’s rich history and culture.

Breathtaking views of Istanbul’s Skyline

Galata Tower stands at a height of 67 meters and offers panoramic views of Istanbul from its observation deck. The tower’s structure is made of stone and brick, with a conical roof and pointed arches. Inside, visitors can admire the tower’s beautiful interior design, which includes Ottoman-era decorations and furnishings.

The tower’s observation deck provides breathtaking views of Istanbul’s skyline, including the Bosphorus Strait, the Golden Horn, and the historic Sultanahmet district. Visitors can also enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee at the tower’s restaurant and cafe, which offer stunning views of the city.

Instagrammable spots inside Galata Tower

Galata Tower offers plenty of opportunities for Instagram-worthy photos. The tower’s observation deck provides a stunning backdrop for selfies and group photos, while the restaurant and cafe offer a cozy and intimate atmosphere for food and drink photos.

The tower also features historic exhibits, including a collection of Ottoman-era weapons and armor, which provide unique photo opportunities for history buffs and culture enthusiasts.

4. Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar, or Kapalıçarşı in Turkish, is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Istanbul. With over 4,000 shops and stalls, it is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. In this section, we will delve into the historical background of the Grand Bazaar, its architecture and interior design, the best Instagrammable spots inside, and tips for taking the best photos.

Grand Bazaar, visit after a hair transplant
Grand Bazaar Istanbul, visit after a hair transplant

Good To Know About the Grand Bazaar: #4 Most Instagrammable Spot in Istanbul

The Grand Bazaar has a rich history that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Built in the 15th century during the reign of Mehmed the Conqueror, it has since been expanded and renovated over the centuries. The bazaar played a significant role in Istanbul’s economy, serving as a hub for trade and commerce. It was also a symbol of the Ottoman Empire’s wealth and power, with merchants from all over the world coming to buy and sell goods.

Today, the Grand Bazaar remains an important economic center in Istanbul, attracting millions of tourists each year and serving as a major source of income for the city. The bazaar is home to a wide variety of shops and stalls selling everything from traditional Turkish goods to luxury items like jewelry and textiles. It is also a popular destination for locals, who come to shop for household items and souvenirs.

Colourful and Stunning

The Grand Bazaar is a sprawling complex of covered streets and alleys, with over 60 different entrances. It is divided into different sections based on the types of goods sold, such as textiles, ceramics, and jewelry. The bazaar is also home to several historic buildings, including mosques, fountains, and courtyards.

The architecture and interior design of the Grand Bazaar are truly stunning. The bazaar is adorned with intricate tilework, colorful mosaics, and ornate carvings. The shops and stalls are decorated with traditional Turkish textiles and rugs, adding to the overall ambiance of the bazaar.

Instagrammable spots inside Grand Bazaar

Colorful stalls and shops: The colorful stalls and shops are some of the most Instagrammable spots inside the Grand Bazaar. The bazaar is a feast for the eyes, with vibrant textiles, ceramics, and other goods on display. Some of the most photogenic stalls include those selling Turkish lamps, spices, and sweets.

Traditional Turkish goods and souvenirs: Another great spot for Instagram photos is the section of the bazaar dedicated to traditional Turkish goods and souvenirs. Here, you’ll find shops selling everything from Turkish delight to handmade ceramics. The colorful displays and intricate designs make for great photo opportunities.

Historic fountains and courtyards: The Grand Bazaar is also home to several historic fountains and courtyards, which provide a beautiful backdrop for photos. One of the most popular is the Cevahir Bedesten, a historic building that now houses shops selling jewelry and other luxury goods.

5. Ortakoy Mosque

Located on the shores of the Bosphorus, the Ortakoy Mosque is a stunning example of Ottoman architecture and design. This mosque has a rich historical background that is deeply rooted in Ottoman history and significance. In this section, we will delve into the historical background of the Ortakoy Mosque, describe its architecture and interior design, highlight the Instagrammable spots inside the mosque, and provide tips for taking the best Instagram photos.

Ortakoy Mosque at night
Ortakoy Mosque at night

Good To Know About the Ortakoy Mosque #5 Most Instagrammable Spot in Istanbul

The Ortakoy Mosque was built in the 19th century during the reign of Sultan Abdulmecid I. It was designed by the famous Ottoman architect, Nikogos Balyan, who was also responsible for designing other iconic buildings in Istanbul such as the Dolmabahce Palace and the Beylerbeyi Palace.

The mosque has great significance in Ottoman history as it was built to commemorate the end of a deadly cholera epidemic that swept through Istanbul in the mid-19th century. The Sultan ordered the construction of the mosque as a symbol of hope and gratitude for the end of the epidemic.

The Ortakoy Mosque is situated on the shores of the Bosphorus, one of the most picturesque locations in Istanbul. The mosque’s location provides visitors with stunning views of the Bosphorus Bridge and the waters of the strait. The mosque’s proximity to the Bosphorus also makes it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

One of the Most Picturesque Locations in Istanbul

The Ortakoy Mosque is a prime example of Ottoman architecture. Its structure is made up of a central dome that is supported by two semi-domes and four pillars. The mosque’s exterior is adorned with intricate stone carvings and calligraphy, which adds to its beauty and grandeur.

Inside the mosque, visitors are greeted with a spacious prayer hall that is illuminated by natural light that streams in through the mosque’s many windows. The prayer hall is decorated with intricate tile work and calligraphy, which adds to the mosque’s overall aesthetic appeal.

The Ortakoy Mosque is known for its ornate interior design. The mosque’s walls and ceilings are covered in intricate tile work and calligraphy, which adds to its beauty and grandeur. The mosque’s mihrab, or prayer niche, is also adorned with intricate tile work and calligraphy.

Instagrammable spots inside the Ortakoy Mosque

Bosphorus views: The Ortakoy Mosque’s location on the shores of the Bosphorus provides visitors with stunning views of the Bosphorus Bridge and the waters of the strait. The mosque’s courtyard is a popular spot for taking photos of the bridge and the water.

Ornate interior design: The mosque’s ornate interior design provides visitors with plenty of Instagrammable spots. The mosque’s walls and ceilings are covered in intricate tile work and calligraphy, which makes for stunning photos. The mosque’s mihrab, or prayer niche, is also a popular spot for taking photos.

Courtyard and fountain: The mosque’s courtyard and fountain are also popular spots for taking photos. The courtyard is adorned with beautiful flowers and plants, which adds to its overall aesthetic appeal. The fountain is also a popular spot for taking photos as it provides a beautiful backdrop for photos.

Street view, Istanbul
Street view, Istanbul

Other notable Instagram Friendly Spots in Istanbul

While these top 5 Instagrammable spots in Istanbul are definitely worth visiting, there are plenty of other spots in the city that are just as beautiful and photogenic. Some other notable spots that you might want to check out include:

  • The Blue Mosque – This stunning mosque is one of the most beautiful buildings in Istanbul, and it’s a great spot to take photos of the intricate tile work and stunning architecture.
  • The Basilica Cistern – This underground cistern is a unique and atmospheric spot that is perfect for moody and dramatic photos.
  • The Spice Bazaar – This colorful market is a great spot to take photos of the vibrant spices and other goods for sale.
  • The Maiden’s Tower – This iconic tower is located on a small island in the Bosphorus and is a great spot to take photos of the water and the city skyline.
  • The Princes’ Islands – These islands are located just a short ferry ride from Istanbul and offer stunning views of the sea and the city.

Last updated in June 2024, written by Tom and published by Emily.