As the site of human settlement for approximately 3,000 years, Istanbul is a transcontinental city with one foot in the West and another in the East. This unique yet charming aspect gives the city a flavor that few places in the world can offer. Steeped in history, modern by every standard, unique in its location there is never a dull moment when one visits Istanbul.
Istanbul boasts of some of the most famous touristic spots in the world from the beautiful Aya Sophia (Hagia Sophia) for its sheer size, structure and awe-inspiring interior, to the Topkapi Palace, Sultan Ahmet Camisi (Blue Mosque), the underground Basilica Cistern or the Galata tower with its 360 degree view of the city, there are monuments after monuments that can overwhelm any discerning visitor.
Istanbul can also be known as a city of exceptional culinary delight. Traditional Turkish restaurants are called Meyhanes and serve hot and cold meze, fresh drinks. The local markets offer a feast of flatbread, cheeses, Turkish salami and olives. Another favorite is mercimek corbasi — a steaming, red lentil soup seasoned with chilli and mint. Whether it is Kebabs or Baklawa, the food scene in Istanbul is an awesome experience.
Istanbul is also known as the city for shopping. The Grand Bazaar has been serving shoppers since the mid-fifteenth century with more than 3,000 stalls to browse. At the Spice Bazaar and Arasta Bazaar there are traditional wares such as rugs, handicrafts and exotic spices.
The city can captivate any visitor with its beautiful and gorgeous scenery. A walk through Taksim can be an unforgettable people experience. While there is much to be explored and more to be learned, with every visit the bonds keep growing. The people of Istanbul are open, friendly and hospitable their resilience and determination are remarkable, it is a city that never sleeps.
There is little doubt then that isolated attempts to terrorise and intimidate the city and the millions of visitors every year will not succeed. There are several hundred beautiful places around Turkey to visit from Izmir to Antalya to the capital Ankara. Yet the gateway to all these places will always be Istanbul … among the oldest and most beautiful cities in the world.
- Staff Report