Located in the center of the Old World, Istanbul is one of the world’s great cities famous for its historical monuments and magnificent scenic beauties. It is the only city in the world which spreads over two continents: it lies at a point where Asia and Europe are separated by a narrow strait – the Bosporus. Istanbul has a history of over 2,500 years, and ever since its establishment on this strategic junction of lands and seas, the city has been a crucial trade center.
The historic city of Istanbul is situated on a peninsula flanked on three sides by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus and the Golden Horn. It has been the capital of three great empires, the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, and for more than 1,600 years over 120 emperors and sultans ruled the world from here. No other city in the world can claim such a distinction. Surrounded by 5th century Roman city walls and stretching over seven hills, Istanbul is adorned by the masterpieces of Turkish art, the great mosques of the Sultans that crown the hills. The city presents an exquisite, majestic and serene silhouette from all directions. The Golden Horn, which is a very secure natural harbour, has played a significant role in the development of the city. Istanbul has always been a city of tolerance where mosques, churches and synagogues existed side by side. The city is growing dynamically and developing at full speed on an east-west axis along the shores of the Marmara. Istanbul is a vibrant metropolis of 15 million where five-star hotels offer sumptuous accommodations and ambitious restaurants compare with the best of New York or London.
What to do In Istanbul?
Daily excursions available throughout the year will give you the chance to visit the most important historical sites, museums, famous Grand Bazaar and surroundings. Excursions departing from hotels of the port present to you the monuments in the historical peninsula in half-day tours. You get a chance to visit Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) Museum, the Mosque of Süleyman the Magnificent, the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet (also known as the Blue Mosque), Hippodrome and Topkapi Palace Museum. You may also participate in tours taking you on the Bosporus or to the Asian side. Then, you will go back home with unforgettable and beautiful memories.
The Roman fortifications, Chora (Kariye) Museum renowned for its late Byzantine period frescoes and mosaics, the Galata Tower for a splendid panorama of the city, Dolmabahçe Palace on the Bosporus – the richest palace museum in the world, Archaeological Museums, Turkish-Islamic Arts Museum, the Spice Bazaar and others require 3 to 4 days’ time.
Cruising Bosporus… A ferry ride on the Bosporus will be amongst the most unforgettable. You may be carried away with the unparalleled beauty of the “yali” mansions lining along the coasts and from which many ancient love stories still reflect on the water, luxurious modern villas of the 20th century, the palaces of Dolmabahce, Beylerbeyi and Goksu, Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses, remnants of the fishing villages, restaurants, tea gardens, and night clubs. In the same day you can cool off in the waters of the Black Sea and then relax with a cup of coffee at a tea garden on the quiet coasts of the Sea of Marmara enjoying the beauty of the Istanbul Straits.
Istanbul is a place where the ancient meets the modern. For shopping there is a great variety of choices. The Grand Bazaar and the big reputable shops by it, the shopping malls of Ak Merkez, Galleria, Capitol and many more, and the boutiques at Nisantasi and Beyoglu and in the Baghdad Street are at your service all through the year.
The Grand Bazaar still retains the dreamlike atmosphere of the “good old days,” yet; it presents you with the newest choices of the modern world: eye-catching jewellery, copper work, rugs, leatherwear, suede wear, and many more… Once caught by it, you may lose track of time strolling in the Grand Bazaar.
Besides its historical importance and cultural heritage, the city is furnished with modern hotels, elegant restaurants, nightclubs, bars, historical bazaars and shops as well.