Turkey, especially İstanbul is famous for Muslim sacred places. There are many religious places in İstanbul that millions of Muslim people visit in a year. İstanbul has an ancient Islamic history and so there are many important structures considered as pilgrimage sites. İstanbul was the capital of the caliphship for many years. Therefore, this city has a magnificent Islamic legacy that every Muslim should see. Not only İstanbul, but also the surrounding cities Edirne and Bursa have very important holy places.
İstanbul has two airports. One of them is on the Anatolian side and called “Sabiha Gökçen Airport”. The other one is called “İstanbul Airport” and located on the European side. İstanbul airport is just completed a few months ago and it is the biggest airport in the world right now. So, most of the international flights depart from here. If you are coming to İstanbul from the Middle East and North Africa region, most probably you will be landing İstanbul Airport.
After you arrive at the airport, whether İstanbul or Sabiha Gökçen, there are many transportation options to go to the city center. There are taxis, public buses, and a more comfortable private bus option. However, the best way is to rent a car. Because when you reach the hotel you will stay, your journey is not completed here. Even if you are staying in one of the touristic areas, you will need to go to further places in the following days.
Istanbul is a very big city and there are many things to see and many places to visit. Especially if you are planning to stay longer dan a few days, you will definitely need a car. Also, if you are planning to visit the closest cities to Istanbul like Edirne and Bursa renting a car is the best option. And keep in mind that, car rental prices are affordable in Istanbul. You can find a car according to your needs and budget easily. If you like to get more information and learn more about possible car rental options, perform a booking search now!
Now let’s look at the religious places you have to visit in İstanbul, Edirne, and Bursa. Of course, there are many but here is the list of most popular ones. You will see that they are not only important sacred buildings but also architecturally beautiful structures. You will be amazed by those historical sites.
Best Religious Places in İstanbul
1.The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)
The Blue Mosque was built in the 17th century. It is famous for its amazing blue tile work. It has 6 minarets which makes this mosque also interesting. The architect of this mosque is Sedefkar Mehmet Ağa who is a student of Great Sinan (Mimar Sinan). The mosque is still in use and opens for praying. You can both do a touristic visit you can perform the salaat.
Sultanahmet Mosque is in the district which has the same name “Sultanahmet”. It is easy to reach here by car and there are lots of parking places that you can leave your car. Especially if you are coming from the Asian part, then renting a car will be the most efficient way. Once you reach the region with your car then, you can visit many sacred places here. They are within walking distance to each other. For example, Hagia Sophia is just 5 min away from the Blue Mosque by walking.
2.Hagia Sofia (Ayasofya Camii)
Hagia Sofia’s big dom is very famous. It has magnificent Byzantine architecture. It was originally a cathedral, then when the Ottoman Empire conquered the city in 1453, they turned Hagia Sofia into a mosque. You will see a mixture of Islamic and Christian cultures.
Hagia Sofia is very close to many other religious sites. So, if you come to this area in your car, you can discover many important places in a short time. For the ones coming from the Asian side, Avrasya Tunnel which goes under the Marmara Sea has an exit very close to the Hagia Sofia. So you won’t have a traffic Jam. The tunnel is so useful and comfortable.
3.Topkapı Palace (Topkapı Sarayı)
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Famous sultans and caliphs lived in this palace. It is built during the Ottoman Empire time. Topkapı Palace is a fascinating structure that everybody must visit in İstanbul.
When you leave your car new Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque you can easily reach here by walking just around 10 minutes. If you are planning to visit İstanbul, don’t forget to include the wonderful Topkapı Palace to your program.
Eyüp Sultan Mosque, New Mosque, Fatih Mosque, Ortaköy Mosque, Beyazıt Mosque, and Sehsade Mosque are the other important religious structures in İstanbul. If you rent a car directly from the airport, you can visit all those places in a very short time. Many tourists fell in love with the Islamic holy sites in this city and you will also be impressed for sure. Have a great time in İstanbul!
Best Religious Places in Edirne
1.Selimiye Mosque and Complex (Selimiye Camii ve Külliyesi)
Edirne is approximately 3 hours from İstanbul airport and 3.5- 4 hours from Sabiha Gökçen Airport depending on the traffic. So even for a one day journey, you can plan an Edirne tour. Renting a car will be the best way to go and visit the holy sites in Edirne. Selimiye Mosque is the most famous one. It is an amazing mosque every tourist has to see.
Selimiye Mosque was designed by Great Sinan (Mimar Sinan) and this structure is considered to be Sinan’s best work. It has an amazing Islamic architecture. Also, he defined this structure as his masterpiece. In Turkey, this kind of complex called “külliye”. Because Selimiye is not only a mosque but also a very big complex. It is consist of theological schools which is called as “medrese”, a bazaar called “arasta”, a library and many courtyards. Selimiye complex is also in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2011.
Edirne was the capital of the Ottoman Empire before İstanbul and it was a very important city. The construction was started in 1568 and completed in 1575. The minarets are 85 high and they have a magnificent view. Great Sinan used tulips in the decoration a lot. It is like the watermark of the mosque.
The entrance of the mosque is free of charge. You can visit inside but you have the wear a proper dress. Ladies can use a scarf to cover their hair. Shorts are not allowed. If there is no pray inside ladies can make a tour freely but if there is a pray, women have to wait behind. These are the general rules. Rather than this, you are all free to visit the mosque and surroundings. Don’t forget to have a look at the Selimiye Arastası (the Bazaar) for souvenirs and traditional products. Especially a dessert made of almond is very popular and it is really delicious.
2.Sultan Bayezid Complex (Sultan Bayezid Külliyesi)
It was built by the order of Sultan Bayezid II. It is one of the most important religious places in Edirne and just a few hours away from İstanbul by car. The complex includes mosque, hospital, hammam, library and many other sections. There is an authentic aura in the complex that you will feel as soon as you step into the Sultan Bayezid.
The mosque is the most important part of the complex for sure. It is like the combination of Ottoman and Islamic styles and one of the masterpieces in Turkey. Attending a pray in this mosque will be a great experience. If you have more than a few days in İstanbul, you should definitely rent a car to see those beauties in Edirne.
3.Old Mosque (Eski Camii)
It was built between 1403 and 1414. It took 11 years to build this magnificent mosque which is the oldest in Edirne. Originally it was a complex like Selimiye and Bayezid but today only the bazaar remains. There are some stores that you can do shopping here. If you would like to take some souvenirs before turning back to your country or you are searching for gifts to your friends and family you can have a look at this bazaar. There are interesting traditional and local food and staff that you may be interested in.
Best Religious Places in Bursa
1.Grand Mosque (Ulu Camii)
It was built between 1396-1400 with the order of Sultan Bayezid. It is the most impressive mosque in Bursa. Bursa is just 2 hours away from Sabiha Gökçen Airport and 2.5- 3 hours away from İstanbul airport according to traffic.
In this mosque, there is an exhibition. You can find many valuable plaques written the 99 names of God. Grand Mosque is one of the important sacred places for Muslims.
2.Green Mosque (Yeşil Camii)
After the Grand Mosque, many tourists visit Green Mosque. It has wonderful architecture. The construction of the Green Mosque was finished in 1424. The green mosque name was given because of the green tiles of the interior design.
3.Muradiye Complex (Muradiye Külliyesi)
The Ottoman Empire was born in Bursa. In this Muradiye Complex, you can understand Ottomans in a better way. There are tombs of Ottoman Sultans inside the complex. Sultan II. Murat ordered to built this place. He was the sixth sultan of the empire.
Muradiye Complex is a spiritually very nice place and one of the best places in Bursa that you should definitely visit. So, just rent a car, plan your trip and enjoy your time in Bursa!