Turkey’s Walk of Fame: 5 Blockbusters You Didn’t Know Were Filmed in Turkey

With its beautiful beaches, bustling cities, colorful bazaars, one-of-a-kind architecture, and rich culture, it’s no wonder Turkey is an appealing backdrop for many filmmakers. Think you're up on your movie knowledge? We'll bet you never knew these 5 blockbusters were filmed in Turkey...

Skyfall (2012)

Of course James Bond, being the worldly traveler that he is, would have a Turkey stamp on his many passports. But did you know that the opening scenes of Skyfall were filmed in Istanbul? In particular the nail-biting chase scene throughout Eminonu Square, one of Istanbul’s oldest squares, that continues across the rooftops (and the insides) of one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, the famous Grand Bazaar. Another little unknown tidbit, this was actually the third Bond movie with scenes filmed in Istanbul. Can you guess the other two…?

City of Istanbul

The World is Not Enough (1999)

Who did Bond better, Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig? No matter how you slice it, all Bonds are always getting M out of trouble (after getting her into trouble first, of course). Remember the scene where M is imprisoned in Maiden’s Tower (or Kiz Kulesi in Turkish)? Well, that Tower really exists and is known by the same name in Turkey. It has actually been around since medieval times and is located at the entrance of the Bosphorus Straight in Istanbul.

Maiden's Tower in Istanbul

From Russia with Love (1963)

Three generations of Bonds movies all filmed in Turkey?! Don’t let the title of this film confuse you, this Bond movie was mostly filmed in Istanbul. The beginning travel scenes took place in the old Yesilköy Airport which is now the unrecognizable bustling Istanbul Ataturk Airport. The covered market where Mr. Bond meets Ali Kerim Bey was filmed in the Grand Bazaar. The flooded underground chamber that leads JB and Bey under the “Russian Consulate” was filmed in the beautiful Basilica Cistern, which has since been restored and is now a museum open to the public. Also, the boat chase scene was filmed along the coast of Turkey and starts at a small village near the border of Greece called Pendik.

Argo (2012)

Much of this Ben Affleck drama was filmed in Istanbul, Turkey. Exterior scenes include shots of the historic Blue Mosque and interior scenes where Tony has a meeting with British Intelligence were shot in the beautiful Hagia Sophia Mosque. Also, many outside center shots were filmed in Yeni Camiieh.

Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul
image source - https://www.flickr.com

Taken 2 (2012)

Considering this film is based in Istanbul, it’s not a surprise that it was mostly filmed there. The exterior opening scenes include shots of the Galata Bridge and Tower, the Yeni Cam Mosque and the Süleymaniye Mosque. Not to mention the market scenes which were filmed in the famous Grand Bazaar.

Galata Bridge and Tower in Istanbul