Istanbul in Winter SeasonWed, Jan 18, 2023 12:00 AM
Istanbul is the most-populated and prominent city in Turkey thanks to its location, historical touristic attractions and art related festivals/events. As an intercontinental city, Istanbul bridges Europe and Asia and this is just one thing Istanbul is famous for. Istanbul manages to continue attracting many foreigners and tourists even in cold winter season. There are numerous historical sites, museums and artistic places you can visit in winter season. If you are planning to visit Istanbul in winter season, being aware of weather conditions and having a bucket-list for popular places in Istanbul are two essential points. Keep reading for Istanbul in winter season!
Weather Conditions of Istanbul in Winter Season
During winter season, Istanbul can be relatively cold mostly because of the wind blowing from the strait. The coldest winter months in Istanbul are known to be December and January, the month of December having the majority of rainy days during the winter season. You should also be aware the fact that the weather conditions of Istanbul in winter season is not stable but rather unstable. That’s why wearing layered clothes during winter season and bringing various seasonal clothes would be wise. The weather conditions of Istanbul in winter season can change throughout the day, especially in the month of February. While in the morning, there is snow everywhere and, in the afternoon, you can see the sun and some rainbows. Even though snowy days during winter season in Istanbul are getting less and less every year compared to the previous years, the month of February still keeps on being labelled as the month that is the coldest and snows in Istanbul. According to last few years’ forecast evaluations, Istanbul in winter season has a daily average temperature below 13°C/ 55°F. Compared to other European countries and especially Russia, Istanbul in winter season is not the coldest among them, which makes Istanbul a smart destination for travelling in winter season.
What to do in Istanbul in Winter Season
You can start by exploring the historical sites of Istanbul. Istanbul can be extremely humid and hot during summer season so visiting indoor places in Istanbul such as mosques and museums, in winter season is a great decision.
10 Popular Historical Indoor Places you can visit in Istanbul in Winter Season
- Blue Mosque
- Hagia Sophia
- Topkapi Palace
- Galata Tower
- Basilica Cistern
- Chora Church
- Istanbul Archaeological / Archaeology Museums
- The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
- Istanbul Modern
- Grand Bazaar
1) Visiting Blue Mosque in Winter Season
The official name of Blue Mosque is ‘’Sultan Ahmet Camii’’ and it has been constructed during Ottoman-Empire era. Since 1985, it is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Blue Mosque comes from the blue-coloured tiles on the interior walls. Blue Mosques is located next to Hagia Sophia and you can visit the other just by walking.
2) Hagia Sophia in Winter Season
Turkish official name of Hagia Sophia Mosque is ‘’Ayasofya Camii’’. Historically, Hagia Sophia was constructed as a Christian cathedral of Constantinople. After the conquest of Istanbul, the structure was altered as a Mosque. With its fascinating historical background, Hagia Sophia is a must-see touristic attraction in winter season in Istanbul.
3) Visiting Topkapı Palace in Winter Season
Topkapı Palace is located in the Turkish district called Fatih. Until the seventeenth century, Sultans of the Ottoman Empire used to stay as residences in Topkapı Palace. It played a role as an administrative centre for the Empire. Topkapı Palace has been transformed into a museum in 1924.
4) Visiting Galata Tower in Winter Season
Galata Tower is another popular museum you can see in İstanbul in winter season. For visiting this famous watch-tower you should go Beyoğlu district of Istanbul. Once, it was the tallest building in the city. It was even used as a prisoner after the conquest of Constantinople for some time. The most attractive part of visiting Galata Tower is that you can have a 360-degree view of the city Istanbul.
5) Visiting Basilica Cistern in Winter Season
There are many ancient cisterns beneath Istanbul; however, Basilica Cistern is known to be the largest of all. The location of Basilica Cistern is quite close to Hagia Sophia. Once you start visiting the so-called historical peninsula, you should pay a visit to Basilica Cistern. Regarding many restorations along with various eras of Istanbul, Basilica Cistern presents the intriguing history of the city in a nutshell.
6) Visiting Chora Church in Winter Season
The Chora Church is located in Fatih district, as Topkapı Palace is. The structure was mostly used as a mosque instead of a Church. Currently, Chora Church is another museum you can visit in Istanbul in winter season. Its mediaeval exterior design attracts many tourists.
7) Visiting Istanbul Archaeology Museums in Winter Season
Istanbul Archaeology Museums actually consists of three museums. First part is Archaeological Museum, which is the main building. Second part is called Museum of Ancient Orient. The third part is called Museum of Islamic Art. All these parts of the museums display a wide range of objects belonging to various civilizations. The museums are all located in a famous place named Eminönü quarter.
8) Visiting Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Winter Season
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts contain a wide range of art items from various periods. The structure was formerly a palace for a famous pasha known as Pargalı İbrahim. The museum displays rugs, Islamic calligraphy, tiles and numerous ethnographic pieces. This museum is located in Sultanahmet Square in Fatih.
9) Visiting Istanbul Modern in Winter Season
Istanbul modern is also known as Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, which is a contemporary art gallery. Istanbul Modern has the title of being the first Turkish contemporary art museum. After visiting Galata Tower, art-enthusiasts should pay a visit to Istanbul Modern, which is also located in Beyoğlu district.
10) Visiting Grand Bazaar in Winter Season
The Grand Bazaar is known to be the largest and oldest bazaar around the world with its covered streets. It is also regarded as one of the first shopping centres in the world. The original Turkish name for Grand Bazaar is ‘’Kapalı Çarşı’’, which literally means covered bazaar. After visiting historical places in Istanbul, you should definitely shop in Grand Bazaar and buy some authentic souvenirs for your beloved ones.
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