Eid al-Adha in Turkey: Belief, Tradition and Cultural Change

Eid al-Adha is celebrated in Turkey as a tradition that carries deep spiritual meaning and has been going on for centuries. Istanbul is a capital city that offers countless events and rich cultural experiences for both local and foreign visitors on these special days. The unique venues offered by the European and Anatolian sides promise unforgettable moments for those who want to spend this holiday in Istanbul. This guide lists the places you can visit and activities to do during Eid al-Adha on both sides of Istanbul.

eid al-adha kurban bayram

Religious Origins and Meaning of Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha is considered one of the holiest days in the Islamic world. This holiday is the day to commemorate the event when Prophet Abraham intended to sacrifice his son Ishmael upon the command of Allah, but at the last moment Allah sent a ram and saved Ishmael. This event is a symbol of complete submission and obedience for Muslims. Sacrifice means “getting closer” in Arabic, and this act expresses getting closer to Allah and devotion to Him.

Eid al-Adha Celebrations in Turkey: From Past to Present

Eid al-Adha in Turkey has great importance as a religious and cultural ritual. The holiday usually lasts four days, and during this time Muslims sacrifice an animal (usually a sheep, goat, cattle or camel) as much as their financial situation allows. The meat of the sacrificed animal is divided into three parts: some is distributed to the family, some to relatives and friends, and some to those in need. This sharing serves to strengthen solidarity and cooperation within the society.

A Journey of Taste during Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha is one of the richest periods of Turkish culinary culture. During the festival, various dishes made from sacrificed meat decorate the tables. The most popular dishes include roasted meat, stew, meat over rice and kebab. In addition, offal such as tripe and leg have an important place on holiday tables. During this period, families and neighbors all over Turkey share the joy of the holiday by consuming these special dishes together.

eid al-adha kurban bayram

Eid al-Adha Events and Food Places in Istanbul

During Eid al-Adha, Istanbul offers its visitors a variety of events and dining experiences. Many restaurants located in the historical peninsula Sultanahmet Square prepare special holiday menus. Here, guests can experience traditional flavors inspired by Ottoman cuisine. Additionally, special holiday dinners held at the Maiden’s Tower are also very popular.

Cultural Places to Visit in Istanbul

Hagia Sophia Museum:

Hagia Sophia, one of the symbols of Istanbul, is a unique structure that reflects both Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. During Eid al-Adha, this historical site is a popular visiting spot for both local and foreign tourists.

hagia sophia aya sofya cami mosque

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Basilica Cistern:

Basilica Cistern is one of the oldest buildings in Istanbul and is known for its mysterious atmosphere. Eid visitors can have an experience intertwined with history in the cool and fascinating environment of this ancient cistern.

Chora Church:

This building, known today as the Chora Museum, hosts the most beautiful mosaics and frescoes of Byzantine art. During the festive period, it is a stop not to be missed for art and history enthusiasts.

Topkapi palace:

This historical palace, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, offers visitors an unforgettable experience with its rich collections and magnificent architecture. The harem section is especially worth seeing.

Galata tower:

It is one of the places where you can see the best panoramic view of Istanbul. During Eid al-Adha, the tower provides visitors with a 360-degree view from Istanbul’s historical peninsula to the modern city skyline.

galata tower kule taksim istanbul

Dolmabahçe Palace:

This magnificent palace, located on the shores of the Bosphorus, is one of the largest examples of Ottoman architecture built in the European style. The interior decoration of the palace and its magnificent crystal chandelier amaze those who see it.

Suleymaniye Mosque:

Known as the journeyman work of Mimar Sinan, this mosque is one of the largest mosques in Istanbul with its enormous dome and elegant minarets. Visiting this mosque for Eid prayers offers a spiritual experience.

Istiklal Street and Taksim Square:

It is one of the most famous streets in Istanbul for shopping, eating, drinking and entertainment. During the holidays, the street and square host live street performances and events.

Prince Islands:

It is an ideal escape point for those who want to spend a day in touch with nature, away from the noise of Istanbul. Islands such as Büyükada, Heybeliada and Burgazada offer great options for a bicycle tour or horse-drawn carriage ride.

Bebek and Ortaköy:

These charming neighborhoods on the Bosphorus are famous for their cafes and restaurants. Drinking coffee overlooking Ortaköy Mosque and the Bosphorus is a nice way to enjoy the holiday.

ortaköy bebek istanbul

Archaeological Museums:

Istanbul Archaeological Museums have a rich historical collection with artifacts brought from all over the world. These museums are an unmissable stop for history buffs.

Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar:

These two places, one of the oldest and largest covered bazaars in Istanbul, are perfect stops for shopping and local delicacies. Filled with spices, jewelry and handmade products, these markets attract attention with their colorful and lively atmosphere.

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Asian Side

The Anatolian Side of Istanbul is famous for its natural beauties and calm atmosphere. Here are a few suggestions for what you can visit on the Anatolian Side during the Eid al-Adha holiday:


Kadıköy, one of the liveliest districts of Istanbul, attracts attention with its colorful streets, art galleries, bookstores and cafes. You can walk along Moda Street, visit antique shops and enjoy the Bosphorus along the coastline.

Bagdat Street:

Famous for its luxury shops, restaurants and cafes, Bağdat Street is a popular destination for shopping and dining. You can enjoy the holiday by walking along the street.

Bostanci Beach:

A perfect place for a picnic or a walk by the sea, Bostancı Beach is a nice getaway for families and groups of friends during the holiday.


Kuzguncuk is one of the quiet and historical districts of the Bosphorus. This district, with its old Istanbul houses, small art workshops and restaurants serving delicious food, is ideal for a peaceful day.

kuzguncuk road girl kid

Anatolian Fortress:

Located on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, this historical fortress attracts attention with its surrounding green areas and magnificent Bosphorus view. You can sit in the cafes overlooking the Bosphorus next to the fortress and enjoy the view.


For those who want to spend a day surrounded by nature, Polonezköy is a perfect option with its forests and natural trails offering every shade of green. There are farm restaurants in the village that serve delicious breakfasts and organic products.

Fenerbahce Park:

Located on the beach, this large park is a great place to exercise, take a walk or have a picnic. There are also playgrounds and cafes-restaurants for children in the park.

istanbul bridge boğaz boshborus

Eid al-Adha is a perfect opportunity to discover the rich cultural texture and historical heritage of Istanbul. These recommendations from the Anatolian and European sides will allow you to discover the diversity and beauty the city has to offer during the holidays. Whether you spend time in historical places or relax in nature, Istanbul offers unforgettable memories to every visitor during this special period. Experience the holiday enthusiasm in every corner of Istanbul by visiting the places we recommend and enjoy this unique city!

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