The best historical places to visit with your children in Istanbul
Istanbul was the capital city of 3 glorious empires; Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman, which means not only remarkable history was made within these lands but to this day we can appreciate the remains of those ancient times. Istanbul is home to a staggering number historical sites and museums, where you can find something for everyone who dares to explore the mysteries of the past.
This is undoubtedly one of the greatest architectural works in Istanbul and often considered the 8th wonder of the world. The former church was built back in 325 AD by Emperor Constantine. After the conquest of Sultan Mehmet II it became a mosque, however the Christian orthodox architecture was still preserved. To this day we can still appreciate the beauty of both Christian and Islamic artwork existing in harmony within these walls. Children can learn a great deal about the history and religion of this former church and would definitely be enthralled with the charms of the old world.
Entry: free of charge
Just next to the Hagia Sophia lies the great luxurious palace of the Ottoman Sultans. It’s a fantastic place to visit with your children to give them a feel of what it was like living an emperor’s life. From the big beautiful garden to the cool swords and traditional dresses – it would definitely be a tour to remember. However, be prepared for a long walk since it is a BIG palace, but you won’t notice the distance as there is so much to see and do here. Make sure you bring your cameras.
Entrance fee: 100 TL. Free for children under 8 and disabled visitors.
Want to know THE place to get the best view of Istanbul? This is it. You won’t be able to miss this tower as you wander the city. At its top you’ll have a panoramic view of Istanbul where you’ll not only enjoy the view, but if you’re feeling peckish you can grab a bite to eat too. There’s a lift that will take you up to the top so there’s no need to worry about climbing an endless number of steps, whilst carrying your children.
Entrance fee: 35 TL. Free of charge for children under age of 7.
Though an unusual place to visit, who wouldn’t want to explore a subterranean kingdom? This underground cistern, supported by 336 marble columns used to be a water storage place. As you walk through it, the dark lighting, soft music and dripping water gives you a rather spooky and mysterious vibe that will leave your children amazed. Some things to look out for are the etched medusa heads at the bottom some of the columns, the wishing corner, and the “Crying Column”. Just before you leave you’ll also get to opportunity to dress in traditional Turkish clothing and have a fun photo session!
Entrance fee: 30 TL. Free of charge for children under the age of 8.
If you and your children appreciate various masterpieces from prehistory to modern day Anatolia, this is the place for you. Our favourites are the orientalist paintings which are undoubtedly the best part of the whole museum as they give you a glimpse into the artistic Ottoman world from the 17th to the 20th century. One of the most beloved paintings is “The Tortoise Trainer” by Osman Hamdi Bey, so be sure to be on the lookout for that one! Make sure you check to see if they have any educational activities or temporary exhibitions where they showcase other famous artists like Warhol and Picasso!
Adults: 25 TL
Children older than 12, students, seniors aged 60 and older: 10 TL
Children aged 12 and younger: free
On Fridays, entrance to the museum between 18:00 – 22:00 is free.
Groups (10 people and more): 20 TL