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.
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.
- HAGIA SOPHIA, once the greatest church in Christendom, then a mosque, still one of the world's greatest buildings.
- The BLUE MOSQUE, the world's most famous mosque.
- Browsing the GRAND BAZAAR.
- A stroll down ISTIKLAL STREET.
- The spectacular YEREBATAN SARAYI CISTERN.
- Turkish and international contemporary art in the Istanbul Modern.
- The postcard-perfect views of ORTAKOY CAMII and BOSPHORUS BRIDGE.
- The marvelous DOLMABAHÇE SARAYI palace.
- Climbing the GALATA TOWER.
- Crossing the BOSPHORUS between Asia and Europe.