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Western Districts of Istanbul

Istanbul's main sightseeing districts are Sultanahmet,Beyoğlu and the Bosphorus, but the western districtsof historic Constantinople/ Istanbul (map) hold numerous places worth visiting.

It makes sense to visit the Kariye MuseumTekfur SarayıCity Walls and Mihrimah Sultan Mosquetogether and, if you have another hour or two, Eyüp and the Pierre Loti Café as well.

On your way back to the city center, if you go along the Golden Horn, you can visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and its Church of St George. as well as the cast-iron Church of St Stephen of the Bulgars.

A good way to reach all of these out-of-the-way places efficiently is on a half-day Istanbul city tour. There are some good, inexpensive ones. More...

Yedikule, the Fortress of the Seven Towers, is a bit farther away (about 6 km/3.7 miles) to the south, so you may visit that on the same day, or another day.

Kariye Museum (Chora Church)

Built in the 13th century as the Church of the Holy Savior in the Country (Chora Church), it is Istanbul's only Byzantine church still filled with mosaics. More...

Tekfur Saray

The Byzantine Palace of Constantine Porphyrogenetus is just a shell, and is curently under restoration, but you can inspect its location, built right into the city walls only a short walk west of the Kariye Museum. More...

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

You can visit the seat of the Orthodox Patriarchate on the Golden Horn, and admire the sumptuous pariarchal Church of St George. More...

Christ Pantocrator mosaic, Chora Church (Kariye Museum), Istanbul, Turkey

Yedikule Fortress (Golden Gate)

Called the Golden Gate in Byzantine times, the Fortress of the Seven Towers was an Ottoman treasury, and the prison for high-value captives, such as foreign ambassadors of enemy countries. More...

Stained glass window, Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Princess Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

Among the city's most graceful, "feminine" mosques, it's no surprise it was built by a princess. It's near Edirnekapı in the City Walls, and is easy to visit when you're near the Kariye Museum. It's been closed for renovation for several years, but may be open in 2012. More...

Byzantine City Walls

Emperor Theodosius II built Constantinople's mighty land walls in the 5th century, and they kept out all enemies until the coming of Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453. They've been extensively restored in modern times. More...

Eyüp Mosque & Pierre Loti Café

The grand mosque and tomb of Eyüp are sacred to both Islamic religion and Ottoman history. The Loti Café offers panoramic views of the city, and a romantic story. More...

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