Sultanahmet Square, Istanbul

Sultanahmet Square, Istanbul (must see)

The former Hippodrome of Constantinople, a circus arena where chariot races and other sporting events once marked the heyday of the Byzantine Empire, today got a new life in the form of Sultanahmet Meydanı (Sultan Ahmet Square) in the heart of modern-day Istanbul. Here, alongside a few surviving fragments of the ancient Hippodrome, you will find all the famous landmarks of the city, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace Museum, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, Serpents column, the Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts and many others. The Basilica Cistern is a mere 40m walk from the square and the Grand Bazaar is within a walking distance, too.

The square is very large and has lots of benches scattered around which is quite convenient for taking a break after long hours of sightseeing and/or for grabbing a quick bite from one of the food carts abound in the area selling a variety of breads, roasted corn and chestnuts, simit (Turkish pretzel) with or without chocolate cream, and plenty more. Along the tram line on both sides there are shops, restaurants and cafes offering generous selections of teas, coffee, Turkish Delights and gift packs.

As a gathering place, Sultanahmet is continuously bustling with tourists and locals alike, families enjoying the colorful artezian fountain, children running along the greenery between alleys, and the elderly folk basking in the brightness of life all around them. The square is also home to a large number of street cats and dogs who seem to be rather friendly and keep to themselves. The place is open to the elements and provides very little cover, so carrying an umbrella or raincoat, if rain is predicted, is highly recommended.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Istanbul. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Sultanahmet Square on Map

Sight Name: Sultanahmet Square
Sight Location: Istanbul, Turkey (See walking tours in Istanbul)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Istanbul, Turkey

Create Your Own Walk in Istanbul

Create Your Own Walk in Istanbul

Creating your own self-guided walk in Istanbul is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Istanbul Old City Walking Tour

Istanbul Old City Walking Tour

Situated at the heart of Old Istanbul, the Sultanahmet neighborhood is a fascinating hub of historical timeline. The former administrative center of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, this area abounds in historic sites, such as the Great Palace of Constantinople – the former residence of Byzantine emperors, the Topkapi Palace – a place where the Ottoman sultans used to live, plus a...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Old European Quarter Walk

Old European Quarter Walk

In the Ottoman era, Beyoğlu (then known as Pera) was, along with Galata, the European Quarter of Istanbul. Home to embassies and trading centers, as well as fine 19th-century, Parisian-style apartment houses, the area was much-loved by the city's non-Islamic minorities, with names of Greek and Armenian architects still adorning the fronts of some of Istiklal Avenue's grander buildings. ...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Asian Side and Bosphorus Walking Tour

Asian Side and Bosphorus Walking Tour

Istanbul, Turkey's wealthiest and biggest city is split by the Bosphorus in two parts: European and Asian. On this self-guided walk you can experience the Eastern side and feel the spirit of the Orient – whether by admiring the beauty of the waterway or the historic buildings that line its shores.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Istanbul Introduction Walking Tour

Istanbul Introduction Walking Tour

Formerly known as “Byzantium”, “Constantinople” and “New Rome”, Istanbul is the main city of Turkey, straddling the Bosphorus Strait, and as such, bridging the gap between Europe and Asia, both geographically and culturally. This ancient transcontinental metropolis embraces cultural influences of the many empires and civilizations that once ruled and flourished on this land.

...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
Mosques Walking Tour

Mosques Walking Tour

Once a citadel of Christianity, for over half a millennium now Istanbul (former Constantinople) has been a major center of Islam, replete with mosques – both, originally-built and converted from Christian churches – dotting the city scape. Whether religious or not, you may wish to explore the local mosques out of purely historical or architectural interest. In case you do, this self-guided...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 Km or 3.5 Miles
Istanbul Shopping Tour

Istanbul Shopping Tour

Istanbul can easily claim to be one of the most colorful cities in the world. Located on the very edge of Europe, it later expanded into Asia resulting in a mixture of both cultures. When it comes to shopping, you will be amazed with the variety of goods available to buy here and the way everybody bargains - even in a grocery store. Take this tour and explore the legendary bazaars of Istanbul.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Istanbul Shopping Guide: 16 Turkish Items To Bring Home

Istanbul Shopping Guide: 16 Turkish Items To Bring Home

Istanbul, known throughout history as Byzantium and Constantinople, has been a major center of commerce and trade, a place where merchants and general folk would rush to regularly in search of exotic things. In our days, modern travelers to Istanbul are also bound to enjoy a truly magnificent...