“If the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital.”
Even this famous quote is not enough to describe the beauty and importance of İstanbul. Along with its location, İstanbul is one of the most beautiful cities in the world with its climate and identity blended with many different cultures. Perhaps even the first…
A couple of days will never be enough to explore İstanbul and its secrets. Think of a city full of historical places, natural beauties, cultural tours, entertainment and world famous flavours… Maybe you can’t picture a city like that in your head but you can visit İstanbul. İstanbul had been the capital of Byzantine and Ottoman Empire for many years and now, it is the commercial and cultural capital of Turkey. Besides being the fifth largest city in the world with a population over 16 million, İstanbul is the only city which is established in the middle of two continents and it is also the only city through which the sea passes.
What to eat?
Istanbul is one of the rare cities where you can find many tastes from both Turkish and international cuisine. Even with its unique street food, it can fascinate you. Because of its cosmopolitanism, in İstanbul, the dishes of many different cultures take their place on the tables in harmony. For this reason, there is not much flavour that we can only address as İstanbul’s special but you can be sure that you will eat best examples of these dishes from different cultures in İstanbul.
If we write all the dishes you should taste, it would be a very long list and neither your time nor your digestive system could handle all these flavours. So, we will try to make a short list for you.
Of course, the first thing in the list is kebab which has many varieties. Which one you choose is entirely up to your taste but you should taste a few of different options during your visit. Also, don’t forget to drink ayran along with delicious kebab. Vegetable dishes, which are seasoned with the effects of different cultures, are also important tastes of İstanbul. You can eat these vegetable dishes hot and also cold when olive oil used in their making. Hünkarbeğendi, karnıyarık, artichoke, yaprak sarma and pilaki are the first ones come to mind.
After these delicious meals, we can go for dessert! With the influence of the palace cuisine during the Ottoman period, Istanbul developed its desert culture. Baklava is one of the most consumed desserts in every Turkish city. In addition to baklava, rice pudding, ekmek kadayifi, kazandibi, profiterole and pumpkin dessert are just a few of the Istanbul delicacies you should taste. Of course, we should not forget the Turkish delight. Let’s not also forget the street delicacies. Kokorec, chicken rice, stuffed mussels and fish bread are the most assertive flavours you will often see on the streets of Istanbul.
Where to see?
One of the oldest shopping centres of the world, Grand bazaar is still one of Turkey’s most visited places. You can find thousands of handmade products such as jewellery, china and carpet.
Hagia Sophia, of which construction was started in 532, is called as the 8th wonder of the world. The Hagia Sophia still attracts attention with its imposing dome. It is now a museum after it had been used as a church and mosque. Located in Sultanahmet Square, you can see Hagia Sophia from anywhere.
It is the longest used throne palace of the Ottoman Empire. It has the most beautiful view of the city and fascinates you even with its small details. You should definitely visit the harem part.
The natural border of Asia and Europe continents, Bosphorus has made itself known throughout history with its unique beauty. Although its meaning changes for every civilization living in Istanbul, its value is always at the highest level. It’s not enough just to take a boat trip. You should also experience the life on its coasts.
Located next to Hagia Sophia with its fine craftsmanship, Blue Mosque is one of the most important historical buildings of the city. It was built by Sultan Ahmet I. between the years 1609-1616 and it is one of Turkey’s limited 6 minarets mosques. It especially fascinates its guests with its blue tiles and unique stained glass.
The mosque was built by Mimar Sinan, who is still one of the most important architects in the world, during the reign of Sultan Suleiman The Magnificent. Süleymaniye Mosque salutes the city from one of the important hills of Istanbul with all its glory and grandeur.
The main centre of the Ottoman Empire after the Topkapı Palace, Dolmabahce Palace is the first modern-style palace of İstanbul. Located right on the shores of Bosphorus, the palace is one of the top five places to visit in İstanbul.
The cistern, which met the water need of the city during the Byzantine period, is one of the frequently visited places thanks to its magical beauty. Built in the 6th century, it is believed that Basilica Cistern is still standing because of the statue of Medusa with the Serpent Hair, which was added as the protector of the cistern.
Beyoğlu is one of the most cosmopolite and also the oldest districts of Istanbul. It is one of the most vibrant and entertaining places in Istanbul with its restaurants, bars, cultural centers and nightlife.
The Princes’ Islands
The Islands are one of the oldest summer resorts of Istanbul. Transportation to The Princes’ Islands is provided from the sea only. Consists of 4 islands as Büyükada, Heybeliada, Kınalıada and Burgazada, The Princes’ Islands stand out with its independent spirit.