Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, with a population of almost 15 million people accounting for 18% of Turkey’s population. It is the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and Moscow. Istanbul is the only city in the world that is built across two continents, it is the cultural, economic, and financial center of Turkey.
Istanbul, where East and West, Asia and Europe meet, is a world city of different cultures and religions living harmoniously and happily for centuries.
The European part of the city, situated at the southeastern tip of the continent, is separated from the Asian part by the Bosphorus, the beautiful and historic strait that cuts through from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara.
The European city is further divided by the Golden Horn, a narrow inlet that is fed by two streams known as the Sweet Waters of Europe.
The oldest section of the European city, commonly known as the Historical side, lies on the right bank of the Golden Horn.
On the lower left bank of the Golden Horn is the post quarter of Galata (Karakoy), with the district of Beyoglu on the hillside above it and Pera- which in Ottoman times was inhabited by foreigners lived and where they established their embassies and places of worship.
The European side of the city is a trade and business center, whereas the Asian side is more of a residential area. Istanbul has a myriad of attractions for visitors, particularly those interested in history and religion. Previously known as Byzantium and then Constantinople, the ancient city is a layering of civilization on civilization, empire on empire. As a major religious center for both the Greek Orthodox Church and the Islamic faith, Istanbul is the custodian of one of the world’s most important cultural heritages and home to some of the world’s most opulent displays of art and history.
Istanbul has a thriving nightlife, diversity of people and an abundance of attractions. It provides a massive range of entertainment options for all.
Escape to the Princess Islands with Public Ferry and don’t forget to feed the pigeons with “simit”!
Visit the local Food Markets of Kadıkoy & Eminonu district.
Try fishing on Galata Bridge.
Get lost at Fener-Balat district, located in the Historical Peninsula, rich in their architectural and cultural heritage and hosting a variety of community groups living on the site throughout their history.
Discover Cukurcuma’s interesting art and antiquities.
Take a walk by the Bosphorus and enjoy a glass of tea with Bosphorus breeze.
Listen to world-class performances in magnificent venues, get lost in the city’s amazing art galleries.
Join the crush and lose yourself in the atmospheric Bazaar District, Grandbazaar and Spice Market.
Wine & Dine at the excellent Turkish cuisine restaurants.
Witness prayer time at the Ottoman Empire’s finest Mosques.
g2o Cultural Tip
Touch the heart of the Ottoman Empire with a visit to Topkapı Palace.
Continue your visit to Ottoman Bank now converted into an institution – Salt Istanbul. Learn the finance history of the Ottoman Empire.
Visit the Mosques of Mimar Sinan, known as Great Sinan who is one of the greatest architects in history, he made important contributions to mosque design and construction.
Finish the day by visiting Sakirin Mosque – The first modern mosque of Turkey and also the first mosque designed by a female interior designer.
g2o Hot Table
Turkish cuisine: Çiya Restaurant is not just an eatery, it is a center of culinary research and application – an odyssey of taste. Try Kofte (minced meat, sun dried sour cherries, pearl onion, red pepper paste) and Zahter Salad (sun dried green chili peppers and tomatoes, walnuts, parsley, onion and fresh pomegranate seeds).
Turkish cuisine: Hünkar Restaurant is Turkish food at its best. Try Hunkar Begendi, also known as Sultan’s delight – lamb ragout on a bed of pureed aubergine.
Kebab cuisine: Kosebasi Restaurant distinguishes itself from other kebab restaurants with its delightful decoration and delicious cuisines. Try Saslık Kebab – a great combination of specially marinated soft beef slices and onion rings.
Seafood cuisine: Balıkçı Sabahattin – not everyone knew but those who did could not give up! A two time cover subject of The New York Times. Try anchovy on wooden skewers and Monkfish casserole.