We are often surprised when people ask if Istanbul has skyscrapers because the tallest buildings in Istanbul are iconic landmarks that stand out on the global stage for architecture and modern urban living. Towers designed to host thousands of people in residential spaces or offices or provide amenities like shopping malls are characterised by their considerable height. While there is no strict height requirement, many skyscrapers reach at least 150 meters (500 feet) tall.
Istanbul has 47 buildings that rank over this height. They are much taller than surrounding buildings and stand prominently on the skyline. In Istanbul, the drive to build tall buildings isn’t letting up. In the outskirt districts, many new large lifestyle complexes feature 20-plus floors. Constructed using steel or reinforced concrete, they provide structural strength to support their height.
Due to their height, they also rely on elevators for vertical transportation, as climbing stairs to higher floors is impractical. However, these new buildings are much smaller than existing skyscrapers that grab attention.
So, what’s all the fascination with them? Skyscrapers contribute to a city’s identity and skyline. Building skyscrapers involves overcoming numerous engineering challenges, including wind resistance, foundation design, and safety measures. Skyscrapers symbolise urbanisation and economic development in many cities around the world.
They reflect modern architecture and efficiently use limited urban land by building upward rather than outward. Iconic examples of skyscrapers include the Empire State Building in New York City, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and Shanghai Tower in Shanghai, among others. But in this article, we look at the tall skyscrapers in Istanbul.
Tallest Buildings in Istanbul
Camlica Tower – Asian Istanbul
Camlica Tower, also called Camlica TV Radio Tower (Çamlıca Kulesi in Turkish), is a telecommunications and observation tower in Asian Istanbul. The building commands panoramic views, including the Bosphorus Strait and European region. Camlica Tower houses various broadcasting and communication equipment and is an essential infrastructure for radio and television transmissions.
Building work started in 2016 and was completed in 2020. The inspiration for the architecture is the tulip flower, a reflection of the famous Ottoman tulip era. At the same time, elevators on both sides reflect the two sides of the Bosphorus. Camlica Tower was the world’s first station that broadcasts 100 stations simultaneously. The building is the tallest construction in Istanbul and Turkey.
Standing approximately 369 meters (1,211 feet) tall, it is significantly taller than many other Istanbul buildings and structures, with 45 floors above ground and 4 below. In addition to telecommunications functions, the tower features an observation deck and restaurants on the 39th and 40th floors, providing Istanbul visitors with breathtaking views. The modern and sleek design of Istanbul’s Camlica Tower adds to the city’s skyline and symbolises Istanbul’s modernity and progress.
Skyland Istanbul A and B – Tallest Skyscrapers
Skyland Istanbul, which features three towers, in Sariyer is a large-scale development combining residential, office and hotel spaces. The Sky premium residential penthouses can be compared to those in New York thanks to their fantastic views. Skyland Residential Tower also contributes to Istanbul’s changing skyline by showcasing the city’s growth and development and putting Istanbul on the map for luxury living.
The project, reaching 932 feet, features a contemporary architectural design, and the towers often illuminate at night, creating striking visual effects. Skyland also features the HOM design centre. Bringing design together with art, HOM, in its 40 thousand m 2 area, offers 100 valuable brands under the same roof, from home and office furniture to textiles, white goods and decoration.
Shopping at Metropol Tower in Istanbul
With 70 floors stretching to 280 meters, Metropol Tower Istanbul, a mixed-use real estate development in Asian Ataşehir, is a significant urban city development project. Metropol Tower Istanbul combines apartments, shopping, hotel and office facilities. Taking seven years to build, the tower also features a 16-screen cinema.
The project, near primary transport links sitsin a rapidly growing business and residential area and sits next to two other towers completing the development. Although not the highest tower in Istanbul, it is the highest on the Asian side. Metropol Istanbul features a large shopping mall with numerous retail stores, restaurants, and cafes. Some phases include a cultural centre, hosting events, exhibitions, and performances, contributing to Istanbul’s cultural life.
Istanbul Sapphire Tower and Observation Deck
Sapphire Tower, also called Istanbul Sapphire (İstanbul Safir), in Istanbul’s Levent district, is one of Istanbul’s tallest buildings with a distinctive design and height, standing out on Istanbul’s skyline. The Sapphire Single Tower rises to 261 meters (856 feet), has 64 above-ground floors, and several underground levels.
Sapphire Tower, which features apartments and shopping facilities, is the first ecological building in Istanbul. At 42 meters, it also has the deepest foundations. Sapphire Tower houses the Sapphire Shopping Mall, which features retail stores, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and other entertainment options. The mall provides shopping, entertainment, and leisure all under one roof.
One notable feature of Sapphire Tower is its observation deck, known as the “Sapphire Viewing Terrace.” This open-air observation deck gives sights across the Bosphorus Strait, Golden Horn, and European and Asian sides. The tower’s design features include energy-efficient systems and green building practices, as well as modern architectural designs with distinctive shapes and facades.
Luxury Nurol Life in Istanbul City
Like many real estate developments, Nurol Life incorporates sustainable design principles, energy-efficient systems and eco-building materials. This Environmentally Friendly Building is LEED Gold certificated and saves up to 30% energy. Nurol Life was built by Nurol GYO (Nurol Real Estate Investment Trust), part of Nurol Group, a prominent Turkish conglomerate interested in various sectors, including construction and real estate development.
With residential apartments ranging from 93 square meters up to 900 metres, the luxury development features car parking valets, 24-hour security and concierge service. Sitting in Mecidiyeköy, at the centre of Istanbul city, there are convenient connections to the Metro and Metrobus stations and the July 15th Martyrs Bridge.
Spine Tower in European Maslak District
Spine Tower, also called Spine Skyscraper (Spine Kule in Turkish), is a well-known skyscraper with offices and apartments. The Spine Tower, a modern skyscraper and prominent building in Istanbul’s skyline, is recognised for its distinctive architectural design. They say they are “an impressive living centre with extraordinary lines and fine details. A soft touch to Maslak, an unconventional design that is modern and versatile in the business and living world designed with cylinders and single facades.”
The Spine Tower is approximately 202 meters (663 feet) tall and has 51 above-ground floors. The tower offers facilities for occupants, like meeting rooms, conference centres, and restaurants. The Spine Tower also features contemporary designs and boosts Maslak’s status as a significant Istanbul business and financial hub.
Anthill Residences and Tower
Anthill Residence, a luxurious mixed-use development in the European Şişli district, is a prestigious complex with residential apartments, commercial spaces, and a shopping mall. One distinctive feature of Anthill is the twin tower design. The project includes two high-rise towers easily recognisable in Istanbul’s skyline.
It is a double tower of 54 floors, 5 floors of which are underground, in 2 blocks, with a land area of 25,000 m² and a construction area of 150,000 m². It has views of the Golden Horn, Bosphorus, Marmara and the Islands, and was built with the reinforced concrete c construction technique with a raft foundation and curtain concrete system. There are 804 residences. The project’s modern and eye-catching architectural design contributes to visual appeal.
Rönesans Tower in Istanbul
Rönesans Tower, a prominent skyscraper in Istanbul’s Asian Ataşehir district, is famous for modern business and commercial developments and is recognised for sleek and contemporary architectural designs. Rönesans Tower rises to approximately 170 meters (558 feet) and has several above-ground floors with retail and office spaces.
It is often used by various businesses and corporations for office purposes. The tower’s amenities include meeting and conference centres, restaurants, and recreational areas. Rönesans Tower is in Istanbul’s Ataşehir district, which has experienced rapid growth in recent years. Rönesans Tower also has sustainable design elements and eco-friendly technologies.
The Majestic Isbank Towers
With 52 floors, Isbank Towers, also called Türkiye İş Bankası Towers, are twin skyscrapers in European Levent. Isbank Towers consist of two identical high-rise towers, often called Isbank Tower 1 and Isbank Tower 2. These towers belong to İş Bankası Towers complex in Istanbul’s central business district. Their distinctive appearances and reflective glass exteriors contribute to Istanbul’s skyline.
While the exact heights may vary over time due to renovations or alterations, Isbank Tower 1 and Isbank Tower 2 are among the tallest buildings in Istanbul. This includes offices, the bank’s headquarters, and retail areas. Isbank Towers play significant roles in the financial and business sectors.
Two Other Places for the Best Views in Istanbul
Galata Tower: Galata Kulesi in Turkish offers stunning panoramic city views of Istanbul’s historic peninsula, which includes famous landmarks like the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. These historic structures illuminate at night. More captivating views include the Bosphorus Strait and Golden Horn. The Galata Bridge spans the Golden Horn and connects the landmark peninsula to the Galata district. Visitors observe the bustling activity on the bridge, including pedestrians, fishermen, and street vendors.
In addition to historic landmarks, you’ll also see the modern Istanbul skyline, with contemporary skyscrapers and office buildings. This contrast between old and new is striking. Galata Tower is famous for both sunsets and sunrises, and the changing colours and silhouettes of Istanbul’s landmarks make for remarkable photo opportunities.
Camlica Hill: Çamlıca Hill (Çamlıca Tepesi in Turkish) on the Asian side, in Uskudar, is another high point in Istanbul, rising to approximately 268 meters (879 feet) above sea level, making the natural landmark an ideal spot to enjoy scenic vistas of Istanbul. Çamlıca Hill provides views of both European and Asian Istanbul. From here, you can see the European peninsula with iconic landmarks, like the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, and the modern Istanbul skyline.
You can also get clear Bosphorus Bridge views (officially called 15 July Martyrs Bridge), which connects Istanbul’s European and Asian sides. At the top of Çamlıca Hill is Çamlıca Mosque complex. The area around Çamlıca Hill also features Çamlıca Park, to relax, have picnics, and enjoy the outdoors while taking in stunning views.
Shopping Centres in Istanbul with Rooftop Restaurants
Istanbul, Turkey, offers several shopping centres with rooftop restaurants or cafes to enjoy food and drink while admiring panoramic views. Istinye Park in European Istanbul features several rooftop cafes with Bosphorus views. Kanyon, a modern shopping mall in Istanbul’s Levent district of Istanbul, doesn’t have traditional rooftop restaurants but offers several rooftop cafes and dining spots with outdoor seating to enjoy meals or beverages while overlooking the city.
On the top floor of Sapphire Shopping Mall, Saray Muhallebicisi offers Turkish desserts, pastries, and coffee with panoramic views. Trump Tower Istanbul, in Mecidiyeköy, houses Serafina, an Italian restaurant with an outdoor terrace offering fantastic views.
Vialand Mall in Eyüp offers a Kral Döner Turkish restaurant with a rooftop terrace to savour traditional Turkish dishes while enjoying views. Zorlu Center is a luxury shopping and entertainment complex in European Istanbul. Rustic Grill by Cagla Sikel is a restaurant there with terraces offering city views. Akasya Shopping Mall in Asian Istanbul is home to Steakhouses. While it doesn’t have rooftop restaurants, the mall provides outdoor seating with pleasant views.
Also, About Istanbul in Turkey
Best Areas in Istanbul: Knowing the best areas in Istanbul will vary depending on your purpose. Some places in this Turkish city stand out for luxury, others for tourist attractions, and others as the ideal place to live and work. Overall, 39 official districts spread across European and Asian Istanbul. These further divide into hundreds of Istanbul neighbourhoods separated by the Golden Horn and Bosphorus Strait.
Famous Shopping Streets: When looking at renowned shopping streets in Istanbul, get ready to be impressed. Istanbul has many wealthy inhabitants, which has attracted the best big-name designers to open shops here. Aside from the modern malls such as Kanyon, Aqua Florya, and Zorlu Centre, many traditional and contemporary shopping streets boast international and local boutiques.
Property for Sale: Many tall buildings and skyscrapers above offer residential homes for sale. Suppose you are in the market for buying a property in Istanbul. In that case, our portfolio of villas and apartments will be attractive. Alternatively, contact us today and chat with an agent if you have questions about investing in real estate in Turkey.