The city that has been for over 1500 years the capital of an empire that laid along the two shores of the Bosfor gulf separating Europe from Asia.The geographical position of Istanbul, at the crossroads of the west and east, confers upon the city a true tourism potential. The city has 3 parts, each special in its own way: the old city, the Asian part and the new city, related by several bridges. The access to the Asian part of the city is available only by boat. The old city lies at the south, on the Marmara sea shore up to the Golden Corn gulf. This is the place where you can see monuments of the Greek, Byzantine and Ottoman civilizations, belonging to different epochs. Istanbul is considered to be one of the most fascinating cities of the world.
Unique from the architectural point of view, Istanbul is a city full of surprises, where you can see a mosque, the symbol of Islam, and Christian churches, but also monuments of the Roman Empire.
The great monuments and buildings, the picturesque streets of the old city will leave you with unforgettable memories. The old city is dominated by the Topkapi palace, founded by Mehmet the 2nd, the Conqueror. It is a real fortress being surrounded by a defense wall and the interior used to be the home for sultans, with old kitchens, baths, courts, gardens and mosques, libraries, that have all been transformed into museums and public places. Next to the palace, you may take time to visit the St. Sophia Cathedral, the most important Orthodox Church in the world.
A famous city monument is the Blue Mosque, located face to face with the St. Sophia Cathedral. Istanbul is also admired for its multitude of museums, like: the Archeological Museum, the Asiyan Museum, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, the Military Museum.
The huge Istanbul bazaar is another curious attraction, the place where you can find almost anything at very law prices: from Turkish rugs – the best oriental rugs, to modern clothes or local jewels.
The new city is also an important part of Istanbul. The contrasts are overwhelming: very narrow streets with modest houses and modern houses, highroads with luxurious restaurants. Don’t miss the possibility to visit the Galata district and admire the tower, but also the Fener and Beyoglu districts. The new city offers magnificent views over the Dolmabahce palace revealing its pompous design.
The Asian part of the city is surprisingly silent, on the streets, as well as in the markets. You may visit the Mihrimah Mosque, the Prinkipo islands, the Rumeli Hisar fortress and Anadolu Hisar fortress.
The Turkish baths are legendary; don’t miss the opportunity to try one. The biggest Istanbul baths are Cemberlitas and Cagaloglu. If you have time and money, sacrifice a day for a cruise tour on boat to the nearest islands surrounding the city: Heybeliada, Burgazada, Kinaliada, Yassiada or Sivriada.
There is no street in Istanbul without a specific oriental coffeehouse.
The rich traditional Turkish kitchen is amazing with so many varieties, a real temptation for gluttons.