Istanbul, the cultural capital of Turkey, is one of the oldest cities in the world and proudly protects the heritage of the civilizations which appeared on it for centuries. It has been the capital for Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire and it is famous for the wars which have been fought over it. Today, it is a very popular tourist destination for visitors from all around the world who want to discover its rich history, crazy night life and natural beauty.
It hosts a population of over 13 million in 39 districts where each has its own special flavour and charm, and together, they form the great diversity in Istanbul. It is the only city in the world which is divided by two continents, Europe and Asia. This geographic feature also defines its identity. Istanbul is a living mosaic of Europe and Asia. Istanbul was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985, most probably as a reward for being home to the magnificent Historical Peninsula where the Old Istanbul (Constantinople) stands. Some of the major sights in the Historical Peninsula are the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace and the Grand Bazaar.
The Sultan Ahmet Mosque, with its spectacular size and charming architecture, is the main landmark of Istanbul’s silhouette. Its fantastic interior design and mystic atmosphere captivate the visitors. Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) has served the Roman Empire as the world’s largest cathedral of its time and was then converted into a mosque by the Ottoman Empire. It is one of the most spiritiual places in the world where you can feel both the Christian and Islamic influence. Topkapı Palace has served to Ottoman Empire as the imperial headquarters and it was the symbol of power and wealth of the empire. Most importantly, the divinest relics of Islamic Heritage, Sakal-i Şerif , the beard and hair parts of Prophet Muhammed and the golden key of Mekka (the holiest Islamic place) are kept in Topkapı Palace. Also, visitors can enjoy other attractions such as the splendid Imperial Hall or the oriental passion in the Harem Room. The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest and the largest covered bazaars in the world with over 1.200 shops in 58 streets. Visitors can shop for authentic Turkish goods such as jewelry, carpets and spices while at the same time experiencing the soul of an Ottoman market.
Just near the Historical Peninsula, the entertainment center of Istanbul, Beyoğlu, welcomes the visitors with its thousands of cafes, restaurants, music bars and clubs. Beyoğlu has Istanbul’s most authentic and crazy bars which are mainly located in Istiklal Avenue, where many people come to enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the town everyday. Istiklal Avenue, Çiçek Pasajı, Nevizade and Asmalımescid are the main places where visitors can taste authentic Turkish dishes and drinks or just enjoy a beer and make good friends.
Istanbul has many musical activities, museums and art galleries where it is not a surprise to see a classical music concert next to an oriental carpet gallery. Istanbul Modern, Pera and Sakıp Sabancı museums host some of the world’s most famous exhibitions while Istanbul International Film Festival and Istanbul Bienali are the major art events. During the summer season, many live shows and concerts are performed in historical sites such as Sultan Ahmet Square, Yedikule Castle and Gülhane Park.
Visitors can move away from the fast city life and enjoy the beauty of Istanbul Strait, Bosphorus, by taking a walk along the shore. In the northern part of Istanbul, Sarıyer, Yeniköy and Rumelihisarı are the relaxing fishing towns where visitors can find opportunities to get to know the nice local community and enjoy the views of lush green forests meeting the blue waters of the Black Sea.
Istanbul can be visited in all seasons since it is located in a very warm climate. In winters, it rarely drops below 5°C whereas during the summer the temperature can rise above 30°C which might make it difficult to sightseeing a bit more strenuous. Autumn and spring are more preferable for visitors. For more information you can join our community where you can interact with other members, share experiences and even meet travel partners. Using our search engine, you can book online cheap flights to Istanbul.
© Salsa-Trips, Çağdaş Efe Balın