Turkey combines influences from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, the Balkans and Central Asia. Mosques coexist with churches, Roman theaters and temples crumble near ancient Hittite cities. Uniquely among the world’s cities, Istanbul stands astride two continents, Europe and Asia.
Mosques, bazaars, and Turkish baths, breathtaking architecture, the awe-inspiring Sultan Ahmet Camii (Blue Mosque), which is visible from many points of the city. The Grand Bazaar has thousands of shops to browse, while the Egyptian Bazaar is a fragrant trove of spices and fruits. Istanbul embraces Asia on the one hand and Europe on the other. Istanbul has had several different names in the past, including Byzantium, Constantinople, Stamboul and Tsarigrad.
Istanbul is a magnificently unique city that has been capital to many civilizations from past to present. This rooted city, with a history dating back to 300 thousand years before, constitutes a mosaic of many civilizations and cultures combined. You will experience great moments in Istanbul and witness the unique combination of the Mediterranean and Black Sea climates.
With its strategic location on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2,000 years. The distinctive incomparable characteristic skyline of Istanbul was built up over many centuries formed by the creative genius of Byzantine and Ottoman architects.
The Grand Bazaar in operation since 1461, is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world with 60 streets and 5,000 shops. It attracts between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. Istanbul is famous for its historic seafood restaurants. The Kumkapi neighbourhood along the Sea of Marmara alone houses some 50 fish restaurants, and many of the city’s restaurants line the shores of the Bosphorus.
Istanbul is the world’s top destination in the 2014 Travellers’ Choice Destinations awards, voted for by millions of holidaymakers, ahead of Paris, New York, Rome and London. The delicately preserved history allows visitors to step back in time and relive Istanbul as the centre and mirror of 2 world empires and 2 world religions over 16 centuries.