Historic, beautiful, scenic, artsy, quirky: Istanbul has many personalities. Each sight has a history (often a very long one), and as a rule of thumb, the older the building, the more likely it’s had at least one makeover. You’ll see many mosques where Muslims covered or destroyed Christian symbols to make way for their own faith. Even contemporary spaces like the Istanbul Modern Art Museum have used the old (in this case, an abandoned warehouse) to create something new (a showcase for the country’s contemporary art scene). Sometimes, however, renovation wasn’t enough. The sprawling home of the sultans, Topkapı Palace, was abandoned for the more ornate and European-style Dolmabahce. Go beyond art and architecture, too: you’ll find culture and history everywhere. Rememberto step back and take in the big picture. Revel in the sensation of crossing between continents like it’s no big deal, float into the sky on the Turk Balon for an aerial view, or make your way up Camlıca Hill for a 360-degree panorama. Whether you have your nose pressed against the glass or your neck craned back to take in the magnificence of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul has an incredible number of things to see.

Istanbul Sights was last modified: June 23rd, 2015 by Will Holub-Moorman