20-12-2023 - Places

Eminonu & Sirkeci: Your Ultimate Guide to Istanbul in 2024

Istanbul is full of colors, spices, and music. One of the most colorful places in this amazing city is the Eminonu Neighbourhood. In this article, we will delve into the Eminonu and Sirkeci together and discover both well-known and hidden gems of these places. But before we dig into Eminonu and its richness, let’s have a look at the best way to enjoy this amazing city: the Istanbul Tourist Pass®.

Introducing the Istanbul Tourist Pass®, a completely digital pass that unlocks the treasures of Eminönü and beyond. As the first tourist city pass in Istanbul, crafted by a professional tourist agency with over 30 years of experience, the pass perfectly helps your exploration of this historic district. With access to 100+ attractions and services, including guided tours, skip-the-line entrance tickets, discounted hop-on-hop-off bus tours, free cruises, and varied transportation options, the Istanbul Tourist Pass® transforms your visit into a breathtaking experience. Navigate the enchanting streets of Eminönü effortlessly, utilizing the pass for a self-planned journey that unveils the best of Istanbul, ensuring that every moment is enriched with cultural significance and historical marvels. Buy your Pass Now!


Choose Your Pass

Choose from one of Istanbul Tourist Pass® options below providing Free access to 100+ Top Attractions, Tours and essential Local Services with over 80% savings.

5 Day Pass


€330 €230


€265 €185
7 Day Pass


€360 €250


€280 €195
10 Day Pass


€415 €290


€320 €225
1 Day Pass


€200 €140


€155 €110
2 Day Pass


€235 €165


€185 €130
3 Day Pass


€280 €195


€220 €155
4 Day Pass


€310 €215


€245 €170
2 Days Pass




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What Makes Eminonu and Sirkeci Special?

Forget about fancy museums and grand palaces for a day – sometimes, a city's real magic is in its everyday life. In Istanbul, that magic is strongest in Eminönü and Sirkeci, where history speaks through old walls, and the lively streets come alive with daily activities. The streets of Eminonu are colorful, chaotic, crowded yet amazingly beautiful.

Here's why these two neighborhoods have captured Istanbul's heart (and maybe yours too):

Spice-scented air and colorful chaos: Dive into the lively maze of the Spice Bazaar, where different spices mix in the air, and the vibrant carpets shine like precious jewels. Bargain for treasures, taste delicious baklava, and get lost in the exciting mix of sights and smells.

Boats bouncing, ferries flying: Take a ride on a rustic boat on the Golden Horn or catch an Istanbul-classic ferry on the Bosphorus. Experience the city unfolding around you, from the majestic Topkapi Palace to the trendy Karaköy, one watery view at a time.

History whispers around every corner: Look at the impressive dome of the Yeni Cami, a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture. Follow in the footsteps of sultans at Sirkeci Station, where the Orient Express trains once started their legendary journeys.

Street food symphony: Fuel your adventures with delicious treats. Enjoy a tasty balik ekmek (fish sandwich) by the water, sip hot Turkish coffee under the Galata Bridge, or treat yourself to mouthwatering baklava for a sweet ending.

From past to present, tradition to trend: Walk through cobblestone streets where generations have shopped, sipped tea or Turkish coffee, and chatted. Then, get into a trendy art gallery or a hipster cafe, showing that Eminönü and Sirkeci are alive with the rhythm of modern life too.

Eminönü and Sirkeci are more than just locations – they're an experience. A sensory delight, a mix of history and culture, a reminder that a city's heart truly beats in its streets, markets, and people. So, come, immerse yourself in the lively chaos, and let Eminönü and Sirkeci capture your heart too.

History of Eminonu and Sirkeci

Eminönü and Sirkeci, located in the heart of Istanbul's history, have a past as fascinating as the spices that fill their air. Let's take a quick stroll through their intriguing history:

Ancient Stories

Starting in Ancient Times: Going back to around the 7th century BC, these shores saw the lively port of Prosphorion, supplying food to the Byzantine city of that time. Picture ships arriving with grain, merchants bargaining, and sailors' shouts echoing around the Golden Horn.

Ottoman Glory: By the 15th century, Eminönü became the imperial harbor of the Ottoman Empire. Majestic mosques like the Yeni Cami and Nurbanu Valide Sultan Mosque were built, and the Spice Bazaar became a hub of trade and excitement.

The Name's Meaning: Back in the time of the Ottoman Empire, Eminönü got its name because it had the Maritime Customs and Customs Eminence. In Turkish, Eminönü means 'in front of justice,' where 'emin' means 'justice' and 'önü' means 'in front of.' The name likely came from the Ottoman courts and customs houses on the docks, and "Emin" was the title of an Ottoman customs official. Eminönü, along with the Fatih district, became the main district of Istanbul in the early years of the republic.

A Door to the World

Sirkeci's Emergence: In the 19th century, Sirkeci became a crucial railway hub, with the famous Sirkeci Station as the end point of the legendary Orient Express. Imagine the glamour of the past – elegant passengers getting off the train, steam rising, and the promise of exotic adventures ahead.

Modern Changes: As the Ottoman Empire declined, Eminönü and Sirkeci adapted to new times. Today, they buzz with a unique mix of tradition and modern life, drawing in both locals and travelers with their lively markets and historic treasures.

But their story continues: Eminönü and Sirkeci are still evolving, with their cobblestone streets filled with the laughter of generations, the clinking of teacups, and stories whispered through the ages. Come, immerse yourself in their timeless charm, and uncover the enchantment that unfolds where history meets the future!

Where is Eminönü and where is Sirkeci?

Finding Eminönü and Sirkeci is like following your nose – well, almost! Picture yourself at the heart of Istanbul, looking at the glimmering waters of the Golden Horn. Now, turn away from the majestic Topkapi Palace and let the Galata Bridge show you the way. That lively, bustling district below, filled with ferries and brimming with activity. That's Eminönü, your entrance to Istanbul's vibrant experiences.