Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

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About Istanbul

About Istanbul

Why Visit Istanbul, Turkey

A gorgeous place and the largest city of the country, mysterious Istanbul is the meeting point of three powerful cultures: Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. Moreover, two of them were not only the greatest of their time but the greatest in history. The rich past of the city by no aspects concedes to the history of Turkey's capital, Ankara.

Istanbul was the capital of the Roman Empire in the 4th century. Up through the 5th century following the Roman Empire's split and the demise of the Western half, Istanbul has changed its status to being the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire). Back then, it was the world's most populous city and it maintained such a prominent position in the world up until it fell to second place behind Beijing in the 17th century under the Ottoman Empire. However, what some mark as the most fascinating aspect of Istanbul's history, are the few and treasured remains that have been found that give evidence of Greek trade colonies in the area as far back as 700 BC.

One of the most popular sights of the city is Istanbul's Blue Mosque with six minarets (the maximum number of minarets a mosque can have). It was built by the Ottoman sultan Ahmed I and is recognized for its bluish exuberant interior decoration. The doors of the mosque are open for anyone who wants to take a closer look, but keep in mind that you'll be asked to take your shoes off before entering the sacred ground. The Blue Mosque is a "must-visit" place during your Istanbul tour, spellbinding with the mighty central 34 meter-high dome, 260 tiny windows with stained glass, and the private sultan's lodge for praying.

There is no better place to enjoy the best panoramic views of the ancient city than the magnificent Galata Tower. This amazing structure is believed to be built in the 14th-century, although no one can say for sure. But what is known is that originally it was called "Chrostea Turris" ("The Tower of Christ") and at the time, it was the tallest structure in Istanbul. Even now the beautiful building can be seen from any part of the city. The Galata Tower was mostly used as a prison or an observatory over the years, before becoming the symbol of the city and a popular tourist attraction we know now, with little shops and cafes dominating the first floor and the impressive viewing platform under the roof.

Another experience you don't want to miss is visiting famous Istanbul's markets and Grand Bazaar in particular.

"Must" Things to Do in Istanbul

  • Visit the amazing Blue Mosque
  • Get to the top of the Galata Tower to enjoy the best panoramic views over the city
  • Buy a memorable souvenir on the Grand Bazaar
 

It is one of the oldest markets in the world and it's enormous. The Grand Bazaar takes up more than 30 000 sq m (323 sq ft) and over 60 alleys. More than 4 000 shops offer to purchase or at least to take a closer look at various jewelry, antiques, carpets, clothing, and everything you can think of.

 

The Spice Bazaar (or the Egyptian Bazaar as locals call it) is the second-largest market in Istanbul and one more place to add to your Istanbul itinerary. Every spice you can think of is available in the Spice Bazaar, it greets you with an explosion of colors and smells, and you are welcome to try every product you fancy. Purchasing something is a great way to take a bit of sunny Turkey with you back home.

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