For the best photos of Istanbul, you have to go on this secret rooftop of Buyuk Valide Han. It’s a view totally made for Instagram, with sights to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Galata Tower, the Bosphorus. etc! Let us tell you how to get to this local gem!
Step 1: Find Büyük Valide Han on your Maps
Buyuk Valide Han is part of the Grand Bazaar with a splendid crazy rooftop view. Of course it’s tricky to find in real life, but we will make it easy for you, here is Büyük Valide Han in Google Maps. You can also walk from Eminonu, through the busy streets behind the spice bazaar. It won’t be easy to find the right stairways to get up, but firsts things first, get to the dot!
Step 2: Find the Courtyard Entrance
The street that the courtyard entrance is on is aWe walked on a very steep road to find the courtyard entrance. There will be a sign of Buyuk Valide Han quite faded.
Step 3: Walk up the stairs to your first left
After you go through the entrance, go up the first set of stairs to your left. Walk straight then right until you see an old locked door (right after you passed a wall painted in the colours of the Armenian flag). Apparently there is usually a man called Mr. Mehdi sitting out the front and asks for around a Lira or up to 5 Lira to unlock the door. But hey, that’s cheap for the views that you get! Unfortunately for us, we came quite early and he wasn’t there, although we asked the locals around and they rang him up to open the door for us! Language barrier is no problem, we pointed to the door and he knew we needed that door opened!
Step 4: Enjoy the most beautiful view of Istanbul!
After he let’s you through, go up one last set of stairs and there you are! Get there as early as possible to get the place all to yourself, because this place is not so much a secret anymore. Many tours bring their clients there and it can get crowded. We went during winter so it was quite slippery. Make sure to keep your safety in mind when walking around the rooftop as there are no railings and remember, it is not a maintained area. Be careful when standing on the slippery cold domes (winter) and some of them have holes in them!
Hans in Istanbul
“Hans” or “Caravanserais”, located all over Istanbul are buildings that in the past was offered as accommodation to the traveling merchants and their animals. It was also storage for the Oriental and European wares from the ships that arrived to the Golden Horn.
Hope you will find and enjoy the place. As you know, Mitch & I at AdventureFaktory prefer to show you cities’ secrets and take you off the beaten path. We will show you those corners and rooftops, just keep following us and encouraging us by following & subscribing!