If you are in the city with a small budget as back packer, student or at the final destination before home, I would like to give you some tips to visit the free sights of the city. These places are historical but they don’t have entrance fees like museums. Visiting by these sights in one day, you can have a free tour in Istanbul!
1) First Courtyard of Topkapı Palace: Topkapı Palace has four courtyards and the first courtyard is open for all visitors without getting a ticket. Here you can see, the second gate, the Gate of Throne and a famous fountain on the right side. There is a café, and in there the bathrooms are also free. The garden is nice to relax and rest just like it was also open for visitors during the Ottoman time.
2) All mosques including Blue Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, New Mosque, Rustempasa Mosque: All of the mosques are free of charge in Turkey even if you go there just to visit. Only you need to cover your legs and arms (also hair for women) except the praying times. Muslims pray 5 times a day as morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night. When you hear the call to pray (Ezan) the mosques get shut down for couple of hours. Generally they have a sign in front of them when it will be open for visitors. Also do not forget to take your shoes off.
3) Grand Bazaar: This historical beauty has 500 years old history built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet after the conquest of Istanbul. It has more than 4000 shops, hundreds of alleys and streets to stroll around. Only be careful not to get lost since it is built on a huge area. The best way to get oriented is always getting back to main street also known as street of jewelry.
4) Gulhane Park: Nowadays we call it park but back then this used to be the outer garden of Topkapı Palace. The centuries old trees and a nice Bosphorus view at the end of the walking path.
5) Hippodrome: The ancient Hippodrome is used to be entertaining area for Istanbulites (or should I say Constantinoplites?) during the Byzantine period. Here big rivals as Blues and Greens used to make chariot racings and the historical obelisks can be seen.
Follow my blog for other free things to do on your next day!