Istanbul Travel Guide

Interested in fascinating cities around the world? Then you will love this one! Istanbul City in Turkey, once called Constantinople, was once the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. It is a very old city, founded around 660 BC, so you can imagine how rich and interesting is its history! Got curious? Come to know more about Istanbul City!

Istanbul Travel Guide


Where is Istanbul City located?

Istanbul City is located in Turkey, and it is the only city in the world on two continents at the same time, Europe and Asia. The Bosporus strait connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea, and the waters of the city - Bosporus, Golden Horn, and Marmara - are called "the three seas". The Golden Horn is a deep drowned waterway valley. Although a very famous city and a favorite destination for many tourists, Istanbul is not the country's capital, Ankara.

Istanbul Travel Guide


What is Istanbul's population?

Istanbul City is amongst the biggest cities in the world, and keeps growing! Over 15 million people are living there and its total area comprises over 5 thousand square kilometers. 


How is the weather in Istanbul City?

Turkey has really hot summers and cold winters, and Istanbul City is no exception. During winter the northwest icy wind that comes from the Black Sea can freeze the Golden Horn and the Bosporus. The best time is during Spring/ Fall, when it is not too hot nor too cold, therefore between April-May, and from mid-September until mid-November. 


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Istanbul Travel Guide

Could you briefly tell me the Istanbul City story?

The city's first inhabitants date to 2000 BC. By the 7th century, the Megara king Byzas established there a colony, resulting in its first name: Byzantium. Several invaders and conquers ruled the city for the next centuries, such as the Persians and Alexander the Great. The city was conquered by the Romans in 193 AD and kept under their domain until the fourth century, when the emperor Constantine the Great made its capital of the Roman Empire, naming it Constantinople.

Later on, the city faced riots and was destroyed (but rebuilt!). From the 7th to the 10th century Istanbul City would be ruled by the Arabs and the Barbarians, respectively. The Fourth Crusades took the best of it for half of the XIII century, sacking and destroying the city, which would never be the same after that. 


When the Ottoman Turks conquered the city they renamed it as Islambol (City of Islam) and by the XVI century, it was an important center of culture and commerce. The final name, Istanbul, is a combination of Islambol and "eis tin Polin" ("to the City" in Greek). The Ottoman Empire lasted until the I World War. In 1923, Ataturk finally founded the new Republic of Turkey as we know it now. 

Istanbul Travel Guide


What are Istanbul City's best tourist attractions?


Istanbul City is filled with amazing places to fulfill the touristic needs of all visitors, but here are some of the must-see sites in our opinion:  



Hagia Sophia: a magnificent place that served different religions over the centuries and now has been turned into a museum.


Blue Mosque: it is the most important mosque of Istanbul City, built in the XVII century. Although its name is Sultan Ahmed Mosque it is known as Blue Mosque due to its blue interior decoration.


Grand Bazaar: it is the oldest and largest covered market in the world, built in the XV century. Enjoy the opportunity to buy souvenirs, spices, and textiles or simply walk around.


Topkapi Palace: house of Ottoman sultans, it is an obligatory stop that will require at least half of your day. The highlights are the Harem and the Treasure. 


Dolmabahçe Palace: definitely the most beautiful building in the country, it was the home of the last six Ottoman sultans and the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire.


Suleymaniye Mosque: built in the XVI century, this beautiful mosque shows the perfect harmony between Byzantine architecture and Islam.


Basilica Cistern: a historical place built in the V century that contains impressive marble columns. Before the cistern was built the place used to be a basilica, therefore this name. 


Istanbul Archaeological Museum: they are three museums combined (Archaeological, Ancient Orient, and Tiled Kiosk) and one of the most important in Turkey.


Sail on the Bosporus: it is an experience in itself, and you can enjoy the attractions along with the trait, such as Dolmabahçe Palace, Rumeli Fortress, Çiragan Palace, and Beylerbeyi Palace.


Galata Tower: Built in 1348 and 67 meters high, it was the tallest building of its time. Nowadays it offers a stunning view of Istanbul City to visitors.

Istanbul Travel Guide


Tell me something that makes Istanbul City unique.


Every city has something unique, that is part of its personality, and all the main attractions mentioned above and its history makes Istanbul City unique. But something that definitely adds an extra charm to Istanbul City is how it is a cat-friendly city. The cats there are part of the scenery and are taken care of by the locals, so they are very friendly, walking freely amongst shops and cafe shops - that always welcome them. 



What else should I know about Istanbul City before traveling? 


Turks are very friendly people, and it is normal that people to kiss cheeks when meeting, regardless of the genre. Yet, be careful about showing affection in public; couples holding hands is fine but kissing on the street is not common. Most Turks will be dressing in smart casual clothes and wearing skirts and shorts is fine, except when visiting mosques. 



Istanbul City outside the box


Istanbul City is a great city, where modernity and tradition meet. Truly an amazing blend of European and Middle Eastern cultures! But remember to enjoy the city besides the main attractions. Walking around and paying attention to the details is priceless, such as the original entrance gates that surround the Grand Bazaar and display its construction date. Or eating the famous crepe in the charming neighborhood of Besiktas while sitting down on a bench facing the Bosporus. Oh, and don't forget to experience a true Turkish bath in one of the hamam around the town. You will feel so relaxed! To sum up, enjoy and live in Istanbul City fully!


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Istanbul Travel Guide
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