As this neat infographic confirms, Istanbul is an amazing destination where east meets west and everywhere in between. The words ‘eclectic’ and ‘diverse’ simply do not do justice as descriptions of the sheer amount of cultural influences that collide in this large city of over 13 million people. As one of Turkey’s – and the world’s – most coveted cities, it stands as a bridge between Europe and Asia. A trip to Istanbul will be one continuous assault on the senses, pulling you in every direction!
Did You Know…
- Istanbul sits on either side of the Bosphorus Strait, which physically separates Europe and Asia.
- Its historic district and commercial area lie on the European side, while one third of the population resides on the Asian side.
- Founded in 660 BCE under the name Byzantium, Istanbul has seen the Roman, Latin, Ottoman and Christian empires come and go.
The number of attractions to visit in Istanbul is mind-blowing. While you could spend days, if not weeks, uncovering its cultural gems, its most breathtaking sights include:
- The Blue Mosque – Blue İznik tiles cover the interior walls of this remarkable mosque, giving it its unofficial name. Built by the Sultan Ahmet in 1603, The Blue Mosque remains one of Istanbul’s most photogenic sights.
- The Grand Bazaar – Noted as one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets, the Grand Bazaar is a stunning sight to behold. Immerse yourself in its labyrinthine heart and be enthralled by the chaos and colour that is all around you.
- Topkapi Palace – This opulent masterpiece was the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. It was also home to the Sultans, their courtiers, concubines and all the drama that comes with court life.
A trip to Istanbul will be, without a doubt, one-of-a-kind. With its strategic geographical position, the city has been touched by numerous cultures, such as the Greeks, Romans and Venetians, even before the Ottomans arrived. Their physical reminders remain, giving us a unique insight into the life that pulsated through the city in centuries past. Beyond Istanbul’s historic significance, it is the definition of a cultural melting pot, with culinary delights ranging from Asian to Italian to Mediterranean. The best way to take it all in is to simply surrender yourself to the city’s beautiful chaos and enjoy!