Istanbul, where the East meets the West!
Torn between two continents, Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a sprawling Turkish city with its skyline of majestic domes and minarets. The former capital of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, its architecture and history is rich and live, and is sure to enthrall anyone who pays it a visit. The pristine blue waters of the Sea of Marmara to the south, the breathtaking sight as the sun sets in, making the waters of the Golden Horn in the north glisten. This city is no mundane one.
The myth of the magnificent city
Istanbul is one city that will truly give you an experience of both Middle Eastern and Western cultures all at once. I mean, come on, how many cities will give you that? Though the majority of its population are Muslims, it is a hodgepodge of cultures and backgrounds coalesced in one city. Now, why is that? Why is its culture so diverse you wander? The answer lies in its history. Istanbul was the capital city of the two greatest empires in history, the Roman Empire and Ottoman Empire. Thus, also making it possible to witness the architectural beauty that is endemic to the Greek, Roman and Ottoman period. These great dynasties have left an indelible mark on the city's architecture and culture.
Top Attractions to explore
1. Aya Sofya - One of Istanbul's most revered landmarks, started its life as a church, converted to a mosque and is now a museum. It has an enormous dome, which is around 33m in diameter, that towers above along with smaller domes. The architecture is simply awe-inspiring with its interior having a combination Ottoman and Byzantine splendor.
2. Topkapi Palace - be a witness to the opulent lives lead by the sultans of the Ottoman Empire who ruled till the 19th century. Of the many highlights of this palace, the most popular are the Harem, the Second Court, the Third Court, the Palace Kitchens and the Imperial Treasury where lustrous gold objects and gems will leave you astounded.
3. Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern - the beautiful mosque has six minarets and a cascade of domes. The "Blue" in its name come from its high ceiling which has 20 000 blue tiles. Surprise yourself with Istanbul's Basilica Cistern, a humongous palace-like underground hall that once stored the royal water supply for the Roman emperors.
4. Grand Bazaar - Fancy a little shopping? Head off to the Grand Bazaar with over 4000 shops selling jewelry, ceramics, carpets, antique goods and much more! If you are a foodie, then you might as well pay a visit to the Spice Bazaar where you will find vividly colored spices including herbs, nuts and dried fruits.
Istanbul is a unique city which will provide you with a European experience embellished with an Islamic grace. This is a city where you will see people walking to the mosque for prayer at dawn and at the same time clubbers making their way home from the bars and nightclubs. What else do you need? Pack your bags and let’s go!
- No Kids
- No Disability
- Travelling enthusiast
- Travel Writer (Journalist)