With one arm reaching out to Europe and the other to Asia, Istanbul is the only city in the world that bridges two continents. The Bosphorus courses the waters of the Sea of Marmara, the Black Sea, and the Golden Horn through the city’s heart.
Its vital strategic location and its enchanting natural beauty have sealed the fate of Istanbul. For over 1500 years Istanbul was the capital of three empires: Byzantine, Roman, and the Ottoman Empires. The beautiful city turned into a metropolis where diverse cultures, nations and religions mingled. In addition, beautiful monuments add a layer of beauty to Istanbul.
Modern and Traditional Together
The endless variety of Istanbul fascinates its visitors. The museums, palaces churches, grand mosques, bazaars and sites of natural beauty are numerous. While watching the red evening light reflected on the other continent and relaxing on the western shores of the Bosphorus at sunset, you may suddenly understand why many years ago settlers chose this remarkable site to build an amazing city on. All of these come together to make Istanbul one of the most glorious cities in the world.
Striking Multireligious Identity
The Ottomans were tolerant towards all religions and dedicated many places of worship to the Jewish and Christian communities so that these peoples could practise their religion with utmost freedom. Thus, in mosques, churches and synagogues, you can easily find a symbol of tolerance and fraternity of religions as well as the physical evidence of Istanbul.
Istanbul is rich in architectural monuments that reflect its past splendour.
Ottoman palaces, the works of Roman, Byzantine, mosques, churches, monasteries, monuments, walls and ruins can be seen at every turn in the city.
The most magnificent monuments of Istanbul are clustered on the historical peninsula. Here, land and the Sea of Marmara in the east and south, the Golden Horn to the north and the city walls to the west come together to create an amazing place. Sultanahmet Square is an impressive texture that enchants the visitors. It is the core of the historical peninsula. In close proximity to this site, you can find the most prominent examples of Byzantine and Ottoman architecture.
THE NEW Istanbul
Istanbul is an international city with assets of its glorious past. Now, Istanbul is a destination with a financial and economic centre offering services in telecommunications, banking, marketing, engineering, tourism, and a lot to enjoy.
Fashion shows, international conferences and festivals, fairs, sports and art performances are other dimension of the life and potential of the city.
Istanbul’s communication facilities and excellent transportation as well as a wide choice of accommodation equipped with the latest technology make the city a great place to hold conferences, and a center of “Congress Travel” throughout the world.
Istanbul is also rich in entertainment; from pubs, bars, nightclubs to discos are plentiful. Besides, there are endless restaurants that offer Turkish cuisine with all its local varieties, not to mention the Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese and Lebanese cuisine.
The meyhanes, literally ‘wine houses’, give the visitors a special experience and where the main drink served is not so much the wine but rakı, an alcoholic beverage made of grapes and anise. Nightclubs provide splendid entertainment throughout dinner, ranging from a selection of Turkish songs to belly-dancing. You can also enjoy modern discos, cabaret and jazz clubs in the Taksim-Harbiye district.
Istanbul is a shopper’s paradise, being perfect for all kinds of customers. From shopping malls and department stores to covered bazaars and workshops that continue ancient traditions, Istanbul offers a wide array of shopping opportunities.
Mısır Çarşısı (Spice Bazaar) and (Grand Bazaar) are the two most visited places in Istanbul. In Kapalı Çarşı, you can buy everything from antiques to jewellery, from gold to affordable souvenirs in over 3000 shops.
A Hub Of Top Brands
The sophisticated shops of the Taksim – Nişantaşı neighbourhoods provide a contrast to the chaos of the bazaars.
On İstiklal, Cumhuriyet and Rumeli avenues, for example, one can browse at leisure the shops selling special pieces such as top international designer brands and home-grown designer products. Finely designed handbags, exquisite jewellery, and shoes can also be found here.
For those who are not interested in spending too much time wandering in the streets while shopping, Istanbul offers a number of shopping malls that bring many brands and types of goods under one roof.
These malls are not only home to top fashion stores but also shops selling household goods and furniture shops as well as cafes, restaurants and food courts. Some malls even offer cinemas and places to be entertained.