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Istanbul, which has also been widely known as Constantinople, has been one of the most pivotal cities in the world throughout history. It is unique in that it doesn’t serve as the capital of Turkey currently, but it has served as the capital city of four different empires. Part of this is due to it’s location – it is the bridge between Europe and Asia and the city has a footprint on both continents.
Excavations around Istanbul show that settlements have been in the area for potentially up to 10,000 years. Why should people visit Istanbul? With Byzantine and Ottoman influences throughout the city, Istanbul is a melting pot of many different cultures, each with a unique perspective to offer.
Go Shopping at the Grand Bazaar
Did you know that shopkeepers spend up to seven kilos of gold per year in rent just to have their shops at the Grand Bazaar? That’s something to keep in mind as you begin to haggle for some of the various wares that are native to Turkey. Be sure to search for great deals on purses, handbags, and other fantastic items that you just can’t get anywhere else in the world. Expect to have many shopkeepers approach you in an attempt to sell their wares because let’s face it – each shopkeeper has over 5,000 competitors trying to get your money! This is an adventure unto itself that you will greatly enjoy.
A Visit to the Church of St. Saviour Should Be Scheduled
Located in Chora, the Church of St. Saviour has seen many visitors and experienced many conversions. In the late 14th century, the church was completely remodeled after 300 years of use and many frescos and murals were added to this place of worship. Depictions of many major Biblical events are displayed in art here, which make it arguably the most significant location of Byzantine art that exists today. The Church was converted to Islam in the 16th century, which caused the artwork to be covered for centuries.
Walk the Walls of the City
The city walls of Istanbul are the largest remnant of Byzantine culture that exist in the modern city. Shaped like an arc, there are four miles that can be traversed from the Golden Horn to the Sea of Marmara. With inner and outer ramparts and a terrace in-between, much has been done to care for and restore this impressive structure. Originally constructed by Theodosius II, a stroll along the walls will not only give you a feel of history, but you’ll also get a wonderful view of Istanbul.
Are You Ready to Visit Istanbul?
Istanbul is a modern city filled with ancient sites to gaze upon and explore. No article can truly give the city the justice it deserves for a description. With millennia of culture at work every day within the city, Istanbul could be said to be the headquarters of the representation of all human culture throughout history. Why should people visit Istanbul? Because not only will you learn more about culture and history, you’ll learn more about yourself.
Travel to Istanbul, Turkey
Read about and get inspiration for a trip to the city, check for the cheapest flights and hotels in Izmir and Turkey.
Here you can search and compare prices for travel and holiday trips. On the site you also find travel deals as well as general travel information, guides, “good to know” and facts about the city. You will also find updated current weather and weather forecasts for the city.
Sightseeing and Tours
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Where to stay ?
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Map and distances
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When you are visiting the city, make use of the local tourist information where you can get free and professional assistance in planning what to see and do during your vacation. At the tourist information you can also get a wide range of brochures and maps of the city and the region for free.
In the following section you can find more local information about the city.
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Good to know
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Weather and forecast
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Best of Istanbul
What to see and do in Istanbul ?
The Bosphorus strait may divide Turkey’s largest city into two halves, but the whole metropolis is a rich blend of cultural and religious influences from East and West, making it one of the world’s most intriguing cities to explore.
This unmistakable landmark was built more than 400 years ago and is also the last resting place of Sultan Ahmed I who was ruler during its construction. It takes its name from the blue tiles that line the interior, but the mosque’s many domes and minarets are also illuminated with blue lighting at night, making an evening visit just as breathtaking.
Once the main residence of the Ottoman sultans, this Palace has now become a fascinating museum. Wander through the series of elaborate pavilions, audience chambers, kitchens, barracks and sleeping quarters that surround the Palace’s central enclosure. You’ll soon get a tantalizing impression of the courtly life of this powerful dynasty.
Another unmissable museum is this architectural masterpiece and symbol of Istanbul’s cultural and religious mix. At times a Byzantine basilica, a Crusaders’ Roman Catholic cathedral and an Ottoman mosque, the Hagia Sophia’s most celebrated feature is its huge dome. But down on floor level, keep a look out for the famous resident cat, Gli, who even has her own Instagram account.
Not far from the Hagia Sophia is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, selling everything from carpets and jewelry to spices and sweets. Lose yourself in a chaotic world of colours, sounds and smells, and if you’re looking for a souvenir, be prepared to get down to some serious bargaining over a cup of tea.
You’ll find a contrast from the frenetic pace of the city beneath the streets of Istanbul. Head underground and explore this cavernous space supported by over 300 columns dating from the 6th century. The Cistern once used to store water for the Great Palace but now it makes for a memorable, mysterious visit as well as a cool retreat in the summer months.
Visitor City ratings
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