Istanbul, Turkey is a beautiful, historic city that literally and figuratively bridges two continents. Sitting partly in Asia and partly in Europe, it’s a truly amazing destination to visit. The city’s main historic and tourist sites are primarily in the area called Sultanahmet, named for one of the Ottoman leaders, Sultan Ahmet. Like the National Mall in Washington, it’s filled with historic and official buildings. The area also includes Istanbul’s ancient hippodrome, a large stadium-like complex once home to chariot races during Ancient Roman times.
I’ve visited Istanbul numerous times and explored its many iconic monuments and buildings. On a recent trip, I had a chance to get a wonderfully unique perspective on the ancient capital. Here are some drone views from above, showing monuments like the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia like you’ve never seen them before.
The Istanbul drone flight first shows the imposing structure of the Hagia Sophia. This Byzantine cathedral was built as a church in 537 A.D. and was later used as a mosque. You can see people walking around the outside of the massive building, their tiny size shows you its epic scale and size.
Next you’ll see the city’s grand Blue Mosque, built in the early 17th century. Take note of its five main domes, six minarets and eight secondary domes as the drone flies right above it. There are a few more views of the city over Sultanahmet, the historic core of Istanbul and home to some of its most important buildings. Look at the deep blue Bosphorus in the background. Istanbul sits on the Bosphorus Strait, a long, thin body of water connecting the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea.
The views then return to Sultanahmet as we fly to my favorite place to stay in Istanbul, the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet. Housed in the city’s former main jail, the building has been transformed into an intimate luxury boutique hotel. Aside from the luxurious accommodations and warm, personal Four Seasons service, the other draw is the ideal location. The luxury hotel is right next to both the Hagia Sofia (some of the rooms and suites have postcard views of the monument) and the Blue Mosque.
I flew to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines, they have direct flights from most major US cities. Their Business Class cabin is especially nice, with each flight carrying a flying chef and serving delicious Turkish food. They also have an amazing airport lounge in Istanbul.
Filmed by Patrick Reynoso