Istanbul: A Travel Guide
Istanbul is the city where east and west collide and has many appeals than mosques only. Straddling across the Bosporus, Istanbul is the influential city of Turkey. The old district of the city reflects the glorious past of the country when various empires and realms ruled and left their footprints in the form of historical, religious and cultural places. Istanbul is an awe-inspiring city with scrumptious food, breathtaking architecture and passionate people.
Things to do in Istanbul
The city never fails to deliver when it comes things to do either culture, history, architecture or natural beauty. From the old city to the new venture, you will be delighted to browse each inch of the city and experience exceptional memories. So let me escort you to this amazing city and see what is waiting for you.
Visit Sultanahmet District of Istanbul
This area is one of the most attractive and historical hubs of Istanbul. It was the former capital of Ottoman and Byzantine empires that ruled Turkey for centuries. Now it has become the center of nightlife and shopping area in Istanbul. You can enjoy the most if you book your hotel in Sultanahmet district since all the major attractions and landmarks are in the proximity of this district. Sultanahmet district is also known as the heart of old Istanbul due to the majesty influence of the borough.
Explore best museums of Istanbul
If you are a history lover and enthusiast, then compile a long list of museums to visit in Istanbul. The city has more than hundred museums in which some of them are the largest in Turkey Such as art museums, and Pera Pera museums that have most expensive ancient’s paintings and exhibits of Ottoman Empire. Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Museums of Innocence, Istanbul Archaeological Museum, military museums and much more are must-visit museums while visiting Istanbul.
Explore Istiklal Avenue
Istiklal Avenue is the busiest street in Turkey and if you are here then spend a day to explore this 1.4-kilometer street and all the adjacent sides. From day to night it stays occupied without being dirty or flawed with its historical building that has a story to tell everyone. Frequently visited by intellectuals and influential people, the well-travelled street has become a famous place to hang out.
The neighborhoods of Fener and Balat
For last 20 years, tourism has completely changed in Istanbul along with mainstream travel across the country. Now tourists want to get an insight of local’s life, taste traditional food and experience native activities while visiting a tourist attraction. In the bustling metropolis of Istanbul, you can endure the same experience while going through the neighborhoods of Fener and Balat that emerged as ideal tourist charms. Both districts once famous as the little Greece quarter in Istanbul have turned into the trendy design districts and gained international fame. Fener-Balat had been the home of Jewish, Armenian and Greek communities and dwindle down to an extremely populated area in Istanbul.
Top Tourist Attractions in Istanbul
Formally known as Hagia Sophia, Aya Sofia was the Church of Byzantine Empire. The Emperor Justinian gave a swaggering statement to the world here about his technical ability and wealth. It is stated that the area in the surroundings of emperor throne in the church was the endorsed center of the world. Though the church has converted into the mosque after the Ottoman Empire and further changed into the museum of the 20th century. Today it has become one of the most cherished landmarks of Istanbul for visitors.
Sultan Ahmet has gifted Istanbul a monumental architectural gift in the form of Blue Mosque. It was built in 1609 and brought appraisal across the Muslim world after finishing its six minarets. The mosque has tons of Iznik tiles in its interior that earned its nickname from the decoration. The whole spatial and color scheme of the mosque has produced one of the finest Ottoman architecture in Istanbul. A great day trip would be worth if you wander around the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Behind the Mosque, the Arasta Market is another great place to visit for shopping right after the trip of Blue Mosque. But if you don’t want to shop, then head straight to the Great Palace Mosaic Museum which is sandwiched between Mosque and market and deliver you excellent mosaic exhibits that unearthed in 1950.
This is another surprising tourist attraction of Istanbul which is actually a huge undergrounded palace that supports 336 columns which once stored water for Byzantine emperors. Many of the columns have re-constructed with more decorative features but the best one is known as Medusa Stones. A visit to Basilica Cistern will give you the atmospheric beauty that will lit and trickle colorful water all around you.
Spice Bazar or Market
To fill your foodie's gut, a visit to spice bazaar is must during Istanbul trip. Here you will find a huge assortment of Turkish spices, herbs, nuts, and dried fruits. In the Ottoman Empire taxes levied on Egyptian products that helped to construct this market which is why it received name of Misir Carsisi means Egyptian Market. Today spice bazaar has become a focal point for tourists and getting crowded day by day by the large groups of merchants and tourists.
Transport Modes in Istanbul
The city has an excellent transportation system that consists of public transit including buses, metro buses, subway trains, trams, cable cars, fast ferries, taxi service and sea buses. You can go around the city by using any mode of transport at convenient and affordable prices. The best thing that most of the transport modes are linked to each other that make your journey more inexpensive by charging a single payment. This single payment system in Istanbul is called IstanbulKart which is usually an electronic card that used for public transport. You need to pay 10 lire as refundable security before purchasing this card and then just recharge it as many times as you require while travelling in the city.
Nightlife of Istanbul
Due to the mix of east and west, Istanbul offers a variety of nightclubs and bars that illuminate your nights and extends more to see and enjoy in the city. There are many popular establishments, offering adults pursuits from dawn to dusk. As a great city with many city centers, Istanbul has more than one recreation opportunities and some of them are listed below;
- Babylon Bomonti
- Living Indigo
- Jolly Joker Balans