Welcome to Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul attracts visitors from around the world. It is historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium, is the most populous city in Turkey. Istanbul is the economic, cultural, and historic center. Istanbul has the same population – 13 million and rising – as one of the smallest countries in Europe, Belgium. Following the model of Rome, the historic peninsula is said to be characterized by seven hills, each topped by imperial mosques.
In 2012 it became the world’s fifth-most-popular tourist destination.
Istanbul has been the capital of some of the biggest empires: Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman.
The Grand Bazaar is the biggest old covered bazaar in the world, with over 3.000 shops.
Istanbul is surrounded by sea, with the Bosphorus cutting right through it.
Istanbul has the third oldest subway in the world.
Where is Istanbul ?
Istanbul is located in northwestern Turkey within the Marmara Region. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, straddling the Bosphorus strait (which separates Europe and Asia) between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea.
What to see in Istanbul ?
Topkapı Palace, sultans, courtiers, beautiful concubines and scheming eunuchs lived and worked here between the 15th and 19th centuries when it was the court of the Ottoman empire.
Süleymaniye Mosque, the Süleymaniye was the fourth imperial mosque built in İstanbul and it certainly lives up to its patron’s nickname.
Dolmabahçe Palace, set in well-tended gardens, the palace is divided into three sections: the Selâmlık, Harem and Veliaht Dairesi.
Basilica Cistern, the largest surviving Byzantine cistern in İstanbul, it was constructed using 336 columns, many of which were salvaged from ruined temples and feature fine carved capitals.
Blue Mosque, the mosque’s wonderfully curvaceous exterior features a cascade of domes and six slender minarets.
Do you like museums ?
Kariye Museum (Chora Church), the building was originally known as the Church of the Holy Saviour Outside the Walls (Chora literally means ‘country’), reflecting the fact that when it was first built it was located outside the original city walls constructed by Constantine the Great.
Museum of Turkish & Islamic Arts, the collection remains a knockout with its palace carpets, prayer rugs and glittering artifacts such as a 17th-century Ottoman incense burner.
Pera Museum, its major drawcard is undoubtedly the 2nd-floor exhibition of paintings featuring Turkish Orientalist themes. Students are given free entry to the museum every Wednesday, and all visitors have free entry from 6pm to 10pm on Friday.
İstanbul Archaeology Museums, housed in three buildings, it includes ancient artifacts, and an exhibition tracing İstanbul’s history.
Also if you like art visit the Museum of Innocence.
Do you like nature ?
Hippodrome, in its heyday, it was decorated with obelisks and statues, some of which remain in place today. Re-landscaped in more recent years, it is one of the city’s most popular meeting places and promenades.
Gülhane Park, was once the outer garden of Topkapı Palace, accessible only to the royal court. People enjoy wonderful views of the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara and Princes’ Islands from the Set Üstü Çay Bahçesi on the park’s northeastern edge.
Yıldız Park, at the park’s highest point is Yıldız Şale, built as a hunting lodge for Sultan Abdül Hamit II in 1880.
Büyük Çamlıca, is the highest point in the city and can be seen from miles away.
Night life in Istanbul
Istanbul comes alive at night. Istanbul has something to offer. It’s full of bars, clubs, coffee shops and restaurants. It has something for everyone. A good place to start is along the Bosphorus, where the city’s most flamboyant nightclubs live. One of the best things about Istanbul is that you can find a ton of night spots with amazing views over the city. Interested in something more traditional? Head to a meyhane and listen to some fasil while sipping your raki and eating mezes.
What to eat in Istanbul?
Turkish Breakfast, tea replaces the coffee. Also sliced tomatoes and/or cucumbers are a must for a Turkish breakfast.
Menemen is a delicious Turkish style omelet.
Meze refers to cold starters rather than a full course. Restaurants that are experts in mezes are called meyhane.
Kuyu kebabı is a specialty from the city of Kastamonu in the mid-west of the Black Sea Region.
Lüfer is the combination of rakı and fish by the Bosphorus.
Mantı, often called Turkish ravioli, mantı is a hot dish served with cold yogurt and garlic.
Künefe is a traditional Arab cheese pastry.
Baklava is the finest example of the Turkish dessert passion.
Istanbul is a great city and an opportunity to discover a new culture. If you like history then Istanbul is the right place for you. Every corner brings some stories that you haven’t heard yet. Discover Istanbul and enjoy the little things.
As usual at the end, here are 10 sentences for communication:
- Hello – Merhaba
- Good day – Günaydın
- What’s your name? – Adınız ne?
- My name is.. – Adım…
- How are you? – Nasılsınız?
- I’m fine, thank you. – İyiyim, teşekkür ederim.
- How much/ many? – Kaç/kaç tane?
- I want …- .. istiyorum
- Give me … – … bana verin
- Where is a/the … ? – … nerede?