From a historical standpoint, the importance and beauty of the Fatih district is perhaps immeasurable to anywhere else in Istanbul. The two mosques built on opposite sides, Hagia Sophia and the Grand Mosque, Topkapi Palace, as well as their museums, the Grand Bazaar, and Haliç the Golden Horn make any visitor spend a whole day in the district a daydream. Just visiting Hagia Sophia and the Grand Mosque alone should be a full day activity to explore and admire every inch of their architectural and scenic beauty. This 17 km2 district was once the capital of the Byzantine as well as the Ottoman Empires. The ruins leftover from them now supports a big portion of Istanbul's tourism sector.
What to do in Fatih?
Haliç the Golden Horn
The little valley that connects Eminönü and Fatih districts through the Galata Tower is the spot to admire Istanbul. When you stand on the bridge, no matter which side you face, you will witness the true chaos of the metropolis, witness the natural habitat of sea and air life of the famous seagulls, and be one with the calm waters of the Bosphorus.
There are fish restaurants on the Galatasaray Bridge, where the district connects with the Karaköy district on the other side of the Golden Horn.
The connecting port of Istanbul with other districts, Eminönü's most famous attraction is the two Mosques gazing down on the city. Hagia Sophia was first built to be the central cathedral of the Byzantine Empire. Its beauty and design were unmatched in the world, until the Ottoman Empire's capture of Istanbul from the Byzantines. By the orders of Sultan Ahmed the First, a mosque was to be designed on a hill overlooking the Hagia Sophia. This new mosque was to be more glamorous than even Hagia Sophia. Once it completed, the building took over the fame of the city in its mantle. Hagia Sophia was closed for a long time to the public, until recently reopened as a mosque. The two architectural beauties still stand on two hills overlooking one another, and welcome any visitor to Istanbul.
The local economy has developed around these two buildings. There is a Spice Bazaar that has been operating since the Ancient Silk Road, now offering the spices of the Turkish kitchen with the world. The Grand Bazaar is also located in Eminönü, where you can find household items, as well as fashion styles left from the Ottoman Era.
Ports and one station of the Marmaray is available for easy access to anywhere in the city. You can arrive to the district from Kadıköy, the Prince Islands, or Üsküdar districts in the Anatolian side with a single boat trip.
The area is another connection point on the south side of the district. The main Marmaray Station where you can switch to the Taksim metro line is stationed here. There is also Istanbul Municipality's main boat services, IDO that reaches to Yalova province, or to several other districts of Istanbul.