Istanbul, the magnificent city where two continents meet, which was founded on the Sarayburnu promontory around 660 BC as Byzantium, developed to become one of the most significant cities in history. Istanbul, a universal beauty where poet and archeologist, diplomat and merchant, princess and sailor, northerner and westerner screams with same admiration. The city is inspiring because it has its own code of architecture, literature, poetry and music. Turkey is amazing–and Istanbul is the pinacle of this amazingness!
Istanbul, one of the most important cities of the prehistory, medieval period and the recent history, was awarded the prize “Europe’s most beautiful destination” in 2013. Being Turkey’s top tourist city, it is one of the world’s urban symbol with Bosphorus that combines European and Asian continents with 2 different bridges. Get ready to be completely mesmerized by the City of Istanbul.
“Ortaköy Mosque, Boğaziçi Bridge at the background”
Once known as Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine and then the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul is homeland to many attractions and beauties accepting millions of tourists every year. In a few minutes, you can change continents with a ferry in Istanbul, allowing you to spend the morning in Europe and afternoon in Asia. How cosmopolitan it is!
You can cruise the bosphorus paying a small fee, taking a boat ride up the strait, past scenic waterfront neighborhoods and forested slopes topped with fortresses, is the fundamentals of Istanbul. Witnessing the beauty of Anadolu and Rumeli fortresses, the old city walls, the noble pavilions, ornate mansions and much more through the bosphorus line are worth your visit.
Take a tour in Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar located in the historic peninsula. It might be a bit touristic but it is totally different and fun. You can purchase from gold to carpets, fake but real leather goods of global brands to house furnitures with an endless variety of options. In spice bazaar, there is turkish delight to turkish coffee, from all kinds of spices to fancy sets of coffee cups.
From the stunning Aya Sofya to the graceful Sultanahmet Mosque or Süleymaniye Mosque, the city’s greatest works of imperial architecture never cease to impress, especially from the inside as you look up. Houses of gods never end in Istanbul and each one has magnificent elaboration.
“You can see the upside down Medusa heads in Basilica Cistern, built on 6th century is the largest ancient cistern that lie beneath the city of Istanbul”
With their sumptuous decor and fascinating harem quarters, the Topkapı and Dolmabahçe palaces offer a glimpse of the splendor of the Ottoman Empire. These are not the only palaces in Istanbul, Çırağan Palace, Yıldız Palace, Beylerbeyi Palaces are also one of a kind. There, it is the naked truth that you ogle at opulence starting from the first step you take in any Palace. Topkapı is the biggest palace in Istanbul, whereas Dolmabahçe is the most gorgeous one.
“Dolmabahçe Palace owns one of the heaviest crystal chandelier which weights 4.5 tons, what is interesting is that every single detail in and out the palace is symmetrical”
“Topkapı Palace, which’s the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans and their harem for approximately 400 years, is famous for its spoonmaker’s diamond which is considered the 4th largest diamond in the world with 86 carats value”
The towers are very attractive in the city. Try the Maiden’s Tower (12th century) and Galata Tower (13th century), one located in the middle of bosphorus, and other located in Galata, both offering incredible panoramic views of the city. To access the Maidens Tower, visit Uskudar and take the boat.
If you’re lucky enough to catch a good weather, plan a visit to Prince’s Islands, located in the Marmara sea, and have access from most of the ferry lines. You can rent a bike or a phaeton to take a tour around the islands. The view is incredible with its mansions and although many visitors coming each day, the place remained untouched.
What about the food?
The amazing Turkish food is considerably delicious and you can’t miss trying one. Most common are incredibly tasty “kokoreç” -made of lamb intestines-, the well known kebab, the “İşkembe” soup made out of tripe, “börek” “kumpir” and “simit” are another Turkish flavours. To drink something Turkish, try the famous rakı (alcohol) or ayran (non-alcohol)
Drink with a view in Istanbul. In Beyoğlu, 360 Istanbul and Leb-i Derya has two branches where you can watch the sun set over the Bosphorus. NuTeras is a chic lounge that serves finger food and looks out on the Golden Horn, while 5. Kat in Cihangir is a restaurant and lounge offering excellent views of the Bosphorus.
“Istiklal is the biggest shopping district in Istanbul, with a historic tram taking you from the beginning to the end of the historic street. Bağdat Avenue is another quality shopping district in the Asian continent of Istanbul”
“A view from Eminönü”
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