Istanbul, one of the largest cosmopolitan cities in the world, is Turkey’s cultural capital. The city is a fascinating mix of ancient and modern. This gateway between Asia and Europe, is also popularly known as “the second Rome” as it is steeped in more than a thousand years of history. A visit to the beautiful city is necessary to delve into the fantastic history, culture, and beauty of the current day Turkey and the old Ottoman Empire. It reflects images from its past and present in full glory and is proud of its invaluable possessions.
The city was earlier known as Byzantium and Constantinople. At present, it is home to large number of museums, churches, palaces, mosques, and bazaars. With the help of our Istanbul City Guide, you will be able to explore some of its famous attractions including the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Byzantine Hippodrome, Yildiz Palace, Chora Church, Museum of the Ancient Orient, St. Irene Museum, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, Suleymaniye Mosque, Rustem Pasha Mosque, Obelisk and more. St. Irene Museum is an erstwhile Eastern Orthodox Church located in the Topkapi Palace premises in the city. This is a popular tourist attraction and reminds travelers of the mixed cultures cohabiting in harmony with each other. It serves as a museum on all days except Mondays. On the other hand, Rustem Pasha Mosque is a monument of religious and historical importance in the city. The mosque was built in the year 1563 and is a living testimony to the meticulous architecture during the Ottoman Empire.
The spring season from April to June is the ideal time to visit Istanbul. Most of the tourists also visit during the autumn season in the months of September through November. The weather is pleasant during these times. The city looks beautiful on the outside. When in town, travelers must explore the beauty and richness of the city. Strolling, shopping, or indulging into adventure, there are many different ways to make the most of the time in the gorgeous Istanbul.
Treat yourself to typical Turkish cuisines in the many restaurants. Visit the Sultanahmet area, where you will find a number of restaurants in restored Byzantine and Ottoman buildings. For savoring Turkish specialties and the Turkish drink called raki, head to the narrow Nevizade Street, near Cicek Pasaji. However, the best-known restaurants in the city include Cipriani Istanbul, Sunset Grill & Bar, Nupera, Milka, Gaja Restaurant, Feriye Lokantasi, Asitan Restaurant, Maiden’s Tower, X Restaurant & Bar, Muzedechanga, and Changa.
Istanbul Atatürk Airport handles many international airlines offering cheap flights as well as business class flights to Istanbul. Major airlines serving the city include Turkish Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, British Airways, and Air France from different parts of the world.
There is no dearth of cheap hotels in Istanbul. Visit areas like Harbiye, Sultanahmet and Taksim on the European side to find affordable places of stay. One can easily find a suitable accommodation at discounted prices in one of these neighborhoods.