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 Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

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.
Bosphorus Coast Walking Tour

Bosphorus Coast Walking Tour

One of the planet's most praised stretches of water, the Bosphorus is a source of great pride for Istanbulites and of admiration for travelers. The 30-km strait dividing Europe and Asia and connecting the Marmara with the Black Sea is one of the city's highlights, having been for all ages the subject of legend and art.

This self-guided walk will take you along the coast so that you...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 Km or 3.7 Miles
Istanbul City Walls

Istanbul City Walls

One of the most elaborate fortification systems of ancient times, the Walls of Constantinople were built by Constantine the Great to protect the city, the then newly-established capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, from attacks by land and sea. Of these, only the Golden Gate, an old ceremonial gateway into the city, had survived by the late Byzantine Era when a new series of land walls were added...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 Km or 3.2 Miles
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. Dramatically located on a peninsula pointing across the Bosphorus Strait to Asia, this area was formerly an administrative pole of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, and as such, reflects numerous influences of the cultures once prevalent here.

Whether you feel like walking...  view more

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

Old European Quarter Walk

Back in the Ottoman era, the Beyoğlu neighborhood (then known as Pera) together with Galata formed the European Quarter of Istanbul. Home to embassies and trading centers, as well as the fine 19th-century, Parisian-style apartment houses, this area was much loved by the city's non-Islamic minorities.

Its growth was boosted by the opening of the Orient Express line, connecting Paris to...  view more

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

Asian Side and Bosphorus Walking Tour

Istanbul is the only megalopolis in the world that straddles two continents. The Bosphorus Strait splits Turkey's biggest city into two parts: European and Asian. The latter, known locally as Asya Yakası (“Asian Side”), or more commonly as Anadolu Yakası (“Anatolian Side”), is found east of the strait, geographically on the Asian mainland.

The vast Anatolian shore, wrongly...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 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...