Istanbul City is a city with so much spirit. The rush of scents, colour and chatter at famous historical attractions such as The Grand Bazaar will captivate your senses and let you lose yourself in the culture here, which is a unique mixture of the traditional and modern along with European and Asian.
The vision of spires and mosques along the skyline cast an enchanting ambience over the landscape as well as inspiring exploration of the many beautiful buildings. Visiting these, with the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace essentials amongst any architectural excursion, will have you feeling as though you’re drifting back and forth in time.
The ancient history of the city is entwined with the landscape and the modern luxuries. You could spend the day visiting mosques, historic churches and shopping in the colourful markets that sell intricately embroidered crafts and delicious treats. At the same time, you can pop into a shopping small or have a fancy meal at a restaurant. There’s so much to discover that you’ll find yourself lost in a charismatic pallet of exotic Turkish sights as soon as you step outside!
Of course, no visit to Istanbul would be complete without a trip to the picturesque Istanbul islands. Go island-hopping and marvel at the waterfront homes of the rich and famous, or take the more cultural option with the locals and enjoy a sandwich with fish freshly caught by the Istanbul fishermen.
All of this is just a handful of the experiences you can enjoy in Istanbul, a city whose sights and sounds, whose tastes and smells will let you experience something new. Many of these experiences revolve around the enchanting Bosporus, which makes Istanbul the perfect setting for relaxation, exploration - and enchantment. Having been named Europe’s cultural capital in 2010, Istanbul is somewhere that everyone should see at one point in their lives.
There is truly no other city like it!
A holiday in Istanbul can be seen by some as a tale of two cities, the old and the new, the Asian and the European, but truly Istanbul is one city that combines the culture, food and people of Turkey with the rich and lengthy culture of multiple empires. Everywhere you step in Istanbul it’s almost impossible to not fall in love with this outstanding city, from the entrancing whirling dervishes at the hodjapasha culture centre to the alluring belly dancers that can be found at bars and clubs throughout the city. And the belly dancers shouldn’t be the only reason you visit the clubs, because Istanbul has a nightlife that you would expect from a city such as this, as active and exciting as possible.
Despite Istanbul’s modernity and lively nightlife, there is a deep religious nature to the city which is not only beautiful for the spirituality of the people, but also because of the ancient architecture that make up the mosques.
The Sultan Ahmet is a classic example of this, being popularly known as the Blue Mosque because of the stained glass windows (of which there are over 2000), the blue tiles and paintwork. This mammoth building was completed in 1617 and is truly breathtaking, providing not only a fantastic opportunity for photos but also a memory that you won't ever forget.
Another phenomenal building is Topkapi Palace (or Topkapi Sarayi) in the district of Fatih, one of the most popular historical sites in Istanbul for good reason. It is currently a museum and holds multiple fascinating artifacts as well as offering an insight into a previous era with dozens of rooms decorated in the Turkish baroque and rococo styles. Both Topkapi Palace and The Blue Mosque are absolute gems that cannot be missed by anyone.
But Istanbul has even more to offer, as the world renowned 15th Century covered bazaar (also called the grand bazaar) is the oldest and largest in the world sprawling in the centre of the old city covering sixty one streets and over three thousand shops, giving even the best and most dedicated shoppers a serious challenge. Istanbul is truly one of the most remarkable cities in the world, and the only one that spans two continents, let alone the amount of historical legacy it lays claim to and simply must be seen to be believed.