Saturday, January 28, 2012

Istanbul Turkey

Istanbul or the ancient city of Constantinople, spells splendor, magnificence and grandeur. Made famous by crusaders, this ancient city is at present Turkey`s cultural heart and erstwhile capital. Surrounded by the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea, this important port city is positioned on both Europe and Asia. The important body of water dividing Istanbul into two is the Bosphorus, which is also the only alternative to reach the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. This strategic position maintains Istanbul`s importance on the world map.

Top 10 Sights and Attractions
  1. HAGIA SOPHIA, once the greatest church in Christendom, then a mosque, still one of the world's greatest buildings.
  2. The BLUE MOSQUE, the world's most famous mosque.
  3. Browsing the GRAND BAZAAR.
  4. A stroll down ISTIKLAL STREET.
  5. The spectacular YEREBATAN SARAYI CISTERN.
  6. Turkish and international contemporary art in the Istanbul Modern.
  7. The postcard-perfect views of ORTAKOY CAMII and BOSPHORUS BRIDGE.
  8. The marvelous DOLMABAHÇE SARAYI palace.
  9. Climbing the GALATA TOWER.
  10. Crossing the BOSPHORUS between Asia and Europe.
 Hotels and HostelsHotel Bookings Look for the hotel or hostel that best matches your budget, type of trip or personality. Here you can guarantee a room but you do NOT pay anything at the time of booking. Payments are only made at the hotel and there are no booking fees. Most hotels allow cancellations with no penalty if done up to 24 or 48 hours in advance. You'll see that information at the time of booking and again in the confirmation email.

RestaurantsEating and Drinking
Nowhere else in the world can you dine with more views. Overlook the Bosphorus at a number of restaurants in Europe or Asia without ever leaving the same city, and enjoy contemporary Turkish dishes or international fusion menus. A good number of cafés and restaurants are found in the pedestrianized Istiklal Caddesi.
The great bazaars and souks from ancient times are now replaced by state-of-the-art malls such as Kanyon with almost 200 shops of international and Turkish brands. But of course the Grand Bazaar is still there, although it's more of a tourist's sightseeing experience than an actual shopping destination. Look for a souvenir around its covered alleys, browsing through carpets, spices, fabrics, or jewelry, while for products you're more familiar with, head to the Nisantasi district. Its Abdi Ipekci Street is where the city's well-heeled population goes for their luxury brands. Where both tourists and locals shop together is on Istiklal Caddesi, a pedestrian street known for its shops and cafés. It's a cosmopolitan street that should not be missed by anyone visiting the city, going from Taksim Square to the iconic Galata Tower.

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