The old city of Istanbul, also known as the Sultanahmet District, is not only historic, but part of everyday life for many inhabitants of the city. It is also in this very Sultanahmet District where the gigantic Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace stand. A number of other museums are also in the same district.
One of the greatest, fun filled, frustrating and inspiring places of the Sultanahmet District is the Grand Bazaar. Known as the second oldest in the world, the Khan El Khalili bazaar in Egypt being the oldest, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul holds an emotion, and item for everyone in the world.
The narrow streets and back alleys hosts Ottoman Inns, coffee shops, pastry shops and various little nooks that are worth seeing even though it will be crowded during all parts of the day and night. The Sultanahmet District is truly the heart of Istanbul and it is for reasons more than the significant buildings that are situated here. The vibe of the locals and shop keepers is simply different than in other parts. Although the food spots are mostly touristic, it is definitely worth the money spent.
Although this part of the city is included in any tour of Turkey, it is recommended to visit it a second time around during free time to simply wonder the streets and alleys. The district is safe at night and considerably clean. In fact, challenge yourself to enter every little store because there are wonders hidden in each corner of the Sultanahmet District.