The highlight of my time in Turkey and one of my favourite travel experiences of 2016 was watching the sunrise over Istanbul from an abandoned factory rooftop. It was absolutely mesmerizing and after receiving a lot of requests over Instagram I have put together a detailed article on how to find this rooftop and experience its wonder! For the comprehensive list of my highlights of Turkey, follow this link. 

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I was speechless, Istanbul is so beautiful!

STEP 1: Büyük Valide Han

The first thing to do is type Büyük Valide Han into Google Maps. This will give you an indication of the general vicinity of the rooftop. I have put a screenshot below of what should come up on your maps.

Istanbul Secret Rooftop

Let me know in the comments if you would prefer a more zoomed out or zoomed in screenshot!

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Finding your way to the rooftop may be tricky but with views like these it is definitely worth it!

STEP 2: Look for the courtyard entrance

The street that the courtyard entrance is on is a very steep road that is lined with stores. Below I have put a picture of the entrance.

This is what the entrance looks like from the opposing alleyway.

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Above the entrance, it says Büyük Valide Han

STEP 3: Walk up the stairs to your immediate left

When you go through the entrance immediately walk up the first stairs to your left. A picture of what this staircase looks like is below.

It is easy to miss these stairs when you walk past!

Walk up the stairs and then walk around the level to your right until you see an old locked door (pictured below). If Mr. Mehdi is not sitting out the front knock on the door next to it. Mr. Mehdi should be there and will unlock the door for a tip of about $2 AUD.

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This is the door that Mr. Mehdi unlocks.

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Could this be the best view of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque?

If you cannot see the stairs to your left (which I didn’t when I first visited) ask one of the locals in the courtyard, they will direct you to Mr. Mehdi. If you point to the rooftop they will understand who you are looking for 🙂

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Seriously, how insane is this view!!

STEP 5: Make the most of the rooftop

After Mr. Mehdi lets you through the door you simply climb up the stairs and take in the view! I would recommend getting there as early as possible to get the place all to yourself. I was able to set up my tripod and have completely uninterrupted shots.

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Enjoying the sunrise!

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Smiling from ear to ear.

Make sure to keep your safety in mind when navigating around the rooftop as there are no railings and it is not a maintained area. Be especially careful when standing on the domes as some of them have holes in them.

The morning that I visited this rooftop was my last morning overseas before I flew back to Australia after more than a year abroad – so this place is incredibly special to me! I recommend trying to visit this rooftop during your time in Istanbul, it was more stunning than any of my pictures can convey 🙂

For more of my highlights of Turkey, follow this link!

If you have any questions feel free to comment below!