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About city What to see Gallery Where to stay

Typing “Istanbul” into Google yields half a billion hits in just one millisecond – it’s exactly the kind of proper noun that simply cannot be added to.

If you’re a history enthusiast, Istanbul will blow you away. If you’re a romantic, it will fill your heart with love. If you’re a gourmand, it will make your stomach burst. If you love to shop, it’ll rob you of all your savings. If you can’t live without the sight of skyscrapers, you’ll find hundreds of them here. And if you’re an appreciator of nature, rest assured there’s no shortage of places to slack off at one of the many parks, situated on the coast of Bosphorus. 

You thought you were tough? Thought you’d come to Istanbul and take from it only that, which you need? Well, you were wrong. This city, seething with culture and host to around 14 million people, will knead you like dough, form you into a little moon- or star-shaped semblance and hang you on another red flag among a hundred pointed minarets.

A view of Taksim Square
Photo taken by FaceMePLS - wikimedia.org.  A view of Taksim Square

Istanbul is the center of the world, where everything that man has ever created comes together. And the axis of this center is the Gold Horn – an old town, formed by Roman emperors and Ottoman rulers during the last couple of millennia. Name any decade AD and you’ll find that Istanbul (previously known as Constantinople) shone as bright as it does today. No wonder that rambling through the main streets of this city can make your neck hurt.

By the way, the Gold Horn can be negotiated on foot. Getting from the Galata Bridge to the great symbols of Istanbul – the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia – will take you about half an hour. On your way there, you can stop at the Old Town and buy some dried fruit, Turkish clothes and souvenirs or grab a bite to eat in one of the hundreds of local cafés. Steer clear of the restaurants in the city center, though, if you don’t want to overpay for food that’s not that good in the first place.

Sultan Ahmet Camii (Blue Mosque). Istanbul
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Sultan Ahmet Camii (Blue Mosque). Istanbul

Once in Istanbul, tourists like to follow the trail of empires, learn about the Egyptian legacy, the lives of Christian people in the times of the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire and the world of Islam, follow the trail of famous novels about Istanbul, and deepen their knowledge of the First World War.

Even though Istanbul if one of the largest cities in the world, it has a great public transport system. Metro, trams, express buses, country buses and ferries across the Bosphorus are all at your service. Moreover, the government has a few ambitious projects to facilitate the mobility of the city inhabitants even further. Soon there should be a brand new metro line, connecting the Western and Eastern parts of the city.

Istanbul is so big that even a whole week is not going to be enough for you to feel its spirit. Different neighborhoods of the city all have features of their own – let alone the contrast between the Western and the Eastern parts of the city. That’s why we recommend you do some reading and some thinking before you come.

Make a list of the things you want to buy and head for one of the largest open markets in the world. Or read “Istanbul” by Orhan Pamuk and try to spot the places mentioned therein. Get tickets to a basketball or football match or simply take your fishing rod and join the local fishermen.

Whatever you choose to do in Istanbul, everything will become imbued with a new, pleasant tone.

Where to stay

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