To call Istanbul, bland or boring would be an incorrect statement. The large, bustling metropolis is anything but that. Formerly known in history as Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman empire and Byzantium, the capital of the Eastern Roman empire, the city is now one of the top destinations in the world for business, trade, economy and of course, tourism.
Reasons to Visit Istanbul
Historical Landmarks and Neighbourhoods
The historical value of the city is a mass collection of artefacts, landmarks, cultures and traditions. Including the old Jewish quarters of Galata, the Yali mansions of the Bosphorus and the UNESCO World Heritage District of the old city of Istanbul called Sultanahmet. Whether you have an interest in historical travel or not, the landmarks and neighbourhoods will impress.
Tour the old Blue mosque constructed in 1616 and then head across to the domed Hagia Sophia, a former church, mosque and now official museum. Around the corner is the castle-like structure of the Topkapi Palace that was former home to the Ottoman Sultans while a short distance away, shoppers enthusiasts go wild in the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s largest markets.
Heading across Galata Bridge, we come to the Genoese tower of which anyone can catch a lift to the top platform for an encompassing view of Istanbul. Surprisingly, in one of the most modern districts called Beyoglu, sits the Flower Pasaj, aptly named because of the Russian immigrants that used to sell flowers within it.
The list goes on and on, and to completely indulge yourself in the history of Istanbul is an interesting insight into the gateway between the east and west of the world.
Further Reading : See the private tour of the old city of Istanbul, that visits all major landmarks
As much as Istanbul is a historical hub, it is also an interesting cooking pot of various domestic and international cuisines. From the traditional Turkish street food sold for next to nothing to the five-star dining establishments overlooking the Bosphorus. Think of a cuisine and you will definitely find it in Istanbul including sushi, Chinese, Indian, Korean and English.
If food and cooking is your passion, we recommend signing up for a half day privater tour to taste the culinary delights of Istanbul
Get Rid of the Stereotypes
At a guess, Turkey is possibly one of the most misunderstood countries in the world. I often read statements on other blogs and mainstream media news articles by people who say they would never visit Turkey because it is dangerous and a Muslim country therefore sharia law applies.
This is massively incorrect because Turkey is a secular country, with democracy and run in much the same way as western governments. Some people also remark they are hesitant to come because of the troubles in Syria to which I reply, there are more than 1000 kilometres between Istanbul and the border with Syria.
It is like cancelling a holiday to Italy because there are problems in Spain. By coming to Turkey, you not only learn more about Islam but also Turkish culture and traditions which are thoroughly unique and welcoming.