Mystery, romance and culture

Istanbul is unique in that it quite literally bridges the gap between Europe and Asia. The Old Town, Istanbul immerses you in the rich culture of Istanbul’s Middle Eastern elements, and is a feast for all your senses.

Experience history and culture at first hand

Interweaving the history, local life and culture of Istanbul, the Old Town will bewitch you with its old Middle Eastern charm. Century-old mosques, bazaars, museums, a palace and castle walls can be found in this quaint neighbourhood. The special atmosphere is such that it would come as no surprise if Suleiman the Magnificent, the 10th sultan of the Ottoman Empire, came out to greet you himself.

Explore the old town walls

From parts of the Old Town you’ll find stunning views over the city and the Bosphorus Estuary. The old city walls are a particular joy. Extending 22 kilometres (13.6 miles) from the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn, they are a vivid reminder of how this city had to defend itself. Remarkably, they have been breached only twice in their history – in 1204 by the Latin Crusaders and in 1453 by the Ottoman Turks.

To see the Old Town you won't need to breach any walls. Just jump on one of our Istanbul City Bus Tours. You can hop on or hop off at any stop, or simply stay on board to hear about this fascinating part of Istanbul.

Other interesting facts about Old Town, Istanbul

  • The Old Town is essentially what used to be called Constantinople
  • Evidence suggests the Old Town has been inhabited for over 8,000 years – one of humanity’s oldest civilisations.
  • The Old Town peninsula was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985
  • The old city walls were built during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II (408 - 450 AD)