Istanbul

A place with great history, attractions and magic…! The only city in the world, located between two continents… Europe and Asia, divided from the famous Bosphorus strait! This amazing city, also known as Constantinople, served for nearly sixteen centuries as capital for many empires, such as the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman!

 

  • Istanbul was built on Seven Hills,  all located in the area within the walls of the Old City and surrounded by water at its three sides

         –The Golden Horn or Halic, is a major waterway which separates the Old with the New city

         –The Bosphorus, is the famous strait which separates the European with the Asian side of the city

         –The Marmara Sea, is the inland sea, entirely within the borders of Turkey which connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea

 

  • The city is divided into 2 parts

          1) the European side

              a) Old city: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar,                                Suleymaniye Mosque, Fener Orthodox Patriarchate, Yeni Camii, Galata Bridge

              b) New city: Galata Tower, Istiklal, Taksim, Dolmabache Palace, Rumeli Hisar, Bosphorus Bridge

 

          2) the Asian side: Anadolu Hisari, Haydarpasa railway, Beylerbeyi Palace, Camlica Hill, Kiz Kulesi

 

Istanbul is the most famous and populous city in Turkey with over 16 million residents! Has always been of great commercial and strategic importance and this is why it is the country’s economical, cultural, and historical center!

For all these reasons, Istanbul is within the first five travel destinations worldwide! Every year, millions of tourists visit Istanbul regardless the weather conditions. With a borderline Mediterranean climate, weather will not prevent you of coming here. But because of the size of the city, the climate differ in some districts compared to the city center. In general, winters are cold, with daily average 6-11 Celsius degrees and summers are hot, with daily average 30 Celsius degrees

The public transportation in Istanbul is very extensive. Trams, buses, metro, metro buses, ferries…which connects all the main areas. Each year the metro extends and covers more and more districts. The residents use everyday the public transportation to go to their jobs, to school or everywhere they want, while the tickets are almost cheap compared to what they offer.

One more thing about Istanbul that will definitely amaze you, is the entertainment! Thousands of places to enjoy your nights…bars,cafes,restaurants. Locals knows how to have fun and you will certainly be seduced by their joy and hospitality! Another ace up their sleeve is the delicious food! A unique experience to your taste buds…

 

Although many of the most famous and important sights of the city are located in Sultanahmet area, Istanbul is full of amazing attractions which will definetely impress you:

 

Hagia Sophia

A magnificent formem Greek church, built in 537! It was dedicated to the Wisdom of God and runed as a Christian church for over 900 years…until the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmed in 1453. An amazing architectural sample of the Byzantium Era, converted into museum by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1953. The “the eighth wonder of the world”…

Topkapi Palace

The famous palace that housed for over 400 years, Ottoman Sultans, their families and about 4000 people who were working there. Mehmet the Conqueror built the first stage of the palace shortly after the Conquest in 1453. A complex of beautiful small buildings, a World Heritage which turned into museum in 1924

Blue Mosque

A wonderful active mosque, located right across Hagia Sophia. It dominates the sky of Istanbul for over 400 years and took its name because of the amazing blue tiled interior. It is one of the two mosques in Turkey with six minarets

Hippodrome

A public entertaiment space intended for horse and chariot races, located right next to Blue Mosque. Its capacity was estimated to reach 100,000 viewers, while the total length was about 450 meters! Currently it’s an elongated public garden with many remains such as the Egyptian Obelik, the Serpentine Column and the German fountain

Basilica Sistern

A huge underground structure, built to supply water to the city in times of sieges. It is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath Istnabul, built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. At the end of the walkway, there are two big upside down Medusa heads supposed to hold the walls of the Sistern. Located right next to Hagia Sophia, offers mysterious vibe and a chance for an underground excursion!

Suleymaniye Mosque

Providing amazing views to the Golden Horn, this mosque is the biggest one in the city, built by Mimar Sinan between 1550-1557. Within the complex there are also two separate small buildings which houses the tombs of Süleyman the Magnificent and his wife, Sultana Hürrem

Dolmabache

The most impressive palace in Turkey, located right on the banks of Bosphorus. Built in the 19th century and untill 1922, was the residence for the Ottoma Sultans. It is consisted of three parts: the Imperial Mabeyn (State Apartments), Muayede Salon (Ceremonial Hall) and the Imperial Harem, all decorated with Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical elements. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk lived and passed away in the palace and after his death it was converted into a museum

Galata Tower

An imposing medieval stone tower! Located in Karakoy area, built from Christea Turris to replace the old Galata Tower, in 1348! At that time was the tallest attraction in the city, especially because it was located on a hill. Provides 360 views to Istanbul

Grand Bazaar

A true labyrinth! One of the most famous and big markets in the world, with 61 streets and over 4000 small shops, located at Sultanaahmet area. You can find there beautiful Turkish carpets, glazed tiles and pottery, copper and brassware, apparels made of leather, hand-painted ceramics, embroideries, fresh spices and herbs, glittering jewellery and all sorts of other things. This huge complex houses also two mosques, four fountains, two hamams, and several lovely cafes and restaurants

Spice Bazaar

A covered market, also known as Egyptian bazaar, located on the banks of Golden Horn. Built in 1664, hosts eighty five shops which provide Turkish delights and other sweets, jewellery, souvenirs, herbs, big variaty of spices, dried fruits and nuts, fresh tea, scarves, lanterns and Nargile!

Rumeli Hisari

An imposing fortress, located on a hill at the European side right on the banks of Bosphorus. Built in 1452 before the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, in order to control commercial and military traffic. Inside the walls there are three big towers that were named after the three viziers of Mehmet

Kiz Kulesi

Also known as the Maiden’s Tower. It is a very small isle located 150-200 meters off the Uskudar shore. Destroyed and rebuilt many times over the years, has been used for many different purposes over time, such as tax collection area, defence tower, a lighthouse, radio station and a quarantine hospital during the cholera epidemic. There are many legends surrounding the Tower, but the most famous one is the Princess Legend

Taksim

‘Taksim’ means ‘division’ or ‘distribution’. Taksim square is located on the European side, considered the city center and the heart of modern Istanbul. The Independence monument at the center of the square, commemorates the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, following the Turkish War of Independence. It is a major tourist and leisure place full of restaurants and hotels. The central station of the metro station is also located there along with the famous Gezi Park. Taksim is also a favourite meeting point for public events, celebrations and social gatherings

Istiklal Street

A cosmopolitan avenue in the center of the city! A pedestrian street,always lively and full of people both tourists and locals. The street begins from Taksim square and ends up after almost 1,5 km. Nostalgic tramway crosses the street during the day, carrying people from one point to another. A unique way to enjoy this famous street, which is full of old buildings, houses boutiques, music stores, bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, libraries, cafés, pubs, nightclubs, beer houses with live music, historical patisseries, chocolateries and restaurants!

Anadolu Hisari

Also known as the Anatolian castle, is a small fortress located on the Asian side of the city near the second bridge. It was built during the preparations for the second siege of Constantinople in 1395. Anadoluhisari was erected as a watch fort and it is the oldest Turkish architectural built in the city

Beylerbeyi Palace

Beylerbeyi in Turkish means the ‘Lord of the Lords’. It is an imperial Ottoman summer residence, located on the Asian side, built between 1861 and 1865. Through the years hosted many guests of the high society who admired the rooms decorated with frescoes of naval scenes, the Bohemian crystal chandeliers, the marble pool, the dining room and many more

Princes Islands

A complex of 7 islands, 4 big and 3 smaller, the only islands around the city, located in the Sea of Marmara. Beautiful and unique islands, where princes and other royalties were exiled there during the Byzantine period. All of the islands are famous for their mild climate, lush vegetation and ornate Ottoman houses. Cars are strictly prohibited, that’s why transportation can only be provided by horse-drawn carriages which are known as phaetons and bikes. But this restriction is that makes the islands even more unique! Princes Islands are a famous destination not only during the summer months but also all year round for daily trips from Istanbul

Kiniliada    : This is the island that was used as a place of exile in Byzantine times

Burgazada : One of the Successors of Alexander the Great, built there a fort

Heybeliada: At the top of the central mountain is an eleventh-century Greek Orthodox Monastery

Buyukada  : It is the largest of the islands with many historical buildings

 

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