Hotels in Istanbul
Tourism in Istanbul
In Istanbul, East meets West in an exquisitely rich blend of art and culture. It’s the only city in the world to be located on two continents, Europe and Asia, and the European part is further divided by the Golden Horn. The city, which was founded as Byzantium, later came to be known as Constantinople and, after being conquered by the Ottomans, was renamed Istanbul.
Without a doubt, the evenings in Istanbul on the Bosphorus Strait are special, the people are friendly and the diversity is unique. Beginning your tour in the old city, you’ll discover the Topkapi Palace, the former administrative headquarters of the Ottoman Empire, built between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara, with incredible views of the Bosphorus. The majestic Hagia Sophia, the pinnacle of Byzantine art, is right across from the Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Mosque with six minarets, and inside, beautiful blue mosaics. Very nearby, you’ll find the Basilica Cistern from 532 AD, a mysterious, enchanting place with 336 pillars, two of which are decorated with a Medusa head. From there, you can head for the most famous marketplace in Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar, made up of lovely labyrinthine vaulted arches, concealing thousands of shops.
You’ll then discover one of the most beautiful mosques, the sixteenth-century Mosque of Suleiman (Süleymaniye Camii) of grandiose proportions with four minarets on each corner of the courtyard and an interior featuring carved white marble and stained-glass windows. Not far from there, you’ll find the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the New Mosque with its lovely interior courtyard, connected to the imperial pavilion. Exiting the mosque, you can enjoy the colours and aromas of Istanbul’s major spice market, the Egyptian Bazaar.