Most people who love Istanbul testify wholeheartedly to the glory and welcoming hospitality of Turkey's most famous city. Some even return year after year, while others find Istanbul reinvents their outlook on life, promoting a new path to be an expat by buying a property in Istanbul. Even people with no interest in history find themselves amazed by a historical timeline with hidden secrets and quirky facts, such as the lives of Ottoman rulers and their bizarre protocols. Time spent in Istanbul is fun and the most exciting travel experience. As each year goes by, Istanbul continues to gain popularity from international tourists and house buyers for many reasons but ultimately, Istanbul’s luring vibe and intimate ambience is difficult to describe yet instantly felt.
Four Reasons to Love Istanbul
1: Cultures, Traditions, and Interests
Formerly Constantinople and capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire and Islamic Ottoman Empire, Istanbul's colourful timeline combines with today's secular structure to highlight the diversity of culture, traditions, and interests formed from centuries of multi-culturalism. Undeniable evidence exists in various neighbourhoods from upmarket and sophisticated Nisantasi, a hunting ground for affluential Turks often with a western education or travelling experiences under their belt.
Galata, famous for its Genoese tower, also boasts of small synagogues sitting in among cobbled side-streets, and behind those walls are untold historical tales of Istanbul's Jewish communities. Heading further into the heart of new Istanbul, the Cihangir neighbourhood, part of the Beyoglu district, attracts creative people like artists and writers, with a contemporary and bohemian vibe where innovation and unique personalities thrive. Guide to Istanbul neighbourhoods.
2: Most Interesting History Lesson
Buildings like the former church, museum, and mosque of Hagia Sophia are spectacular inside. Once the world's most enormous, a large dome combined with Christian ceiling frescoes and giant Islamic calligraphy plagues hang from domineering walls. Across Sultanahmet square and directly opposite the Hagia Sophia, the majestic Blue Mosque, built-in 1616, takes the name from thousands of interior blue tiles. Sitting aside, the ancient Hippodrome, where chariot races took place for the amusement of Byzantine emperors, was where in 532AD, the famous Nika riots burned half down half the city and evoked tens of thousands of people deaths. Close by; visitors descend stone steps to the Basilica cistern. Holding Medusa's upside stone statue head, the cistern supplied Constantinople with water and famously appeared in the James Bond film "From Russia with Love."
Finally, do not forget Istanbul's luxury palaces built by Ottoman sultans. Topkapi, a sprawling network of thousands of rooms, contains relics like the diamond spoon makers and Muhammad's staff. Heading across the waterway, Dolmabahce Palace with gold leaf ceilings, crystal staircases, and pure silk carpets historically signified the end of the Ottoman Empire because the palace depleted their bank accounts and cemented their legacy as Europe's sick man. The many historical buildings and stories of famous rulers go on and on, so much that entire books solely feature various aspects of Istanbul's history. Exploring the history of Istanbul.
3: Modern Diversity of Istanbul - Turkey
While historical value impresses, ancient stories should not distract from modern influences that have engulfed Istanbul since the late 1970s. As well as being a central tourism hub, Istanbul is a centre of commerce, finance, travel, arts, and cuisine. Istanbul's old part known as the historical centre is Sultanahmet, but across Galata Bridge sits Istiklal Avenue and the Taksim and Beyoglu districts, labelled as the new part of the city. Here, visitors and locals enjoy hundreds of shopping, nightlife, and cuisine choices. Street food sells for a mere 2 pounds, while tables in upmarket establishments where Dom Perignon sells for 500 pounds or more need to be reserved weeks in advance.
Nightlife scenes range from evenings in traditional venues like Cicek Pasaj to nightclubs featuring top DJs, which charge an extraordinary amount for entrance tickets. Meanwhile, the Istanbul Modern Art Museum exhibits leading and emerging Turkish artists, while the Museum of Innocence is the brainchild of Turkey's leading male author Orhan Pamuk. Annually, various festivals by the film, music and art industries attract thousands, and no matter what people's lifestyle preferences are, they will indeed find them in Istanbul.
4: Gateway to the Rest of Turkey
Often called the city bridging the East and West of the world, Istanbul is also the gateway to exploring the rest of Turkey. After a four-day city tour, many tourists head to places like Cappadocia, a lunar landscape in the heart of the Anatolian region that defies belief with cave hotels, fairy chimneys, underground cities, and sunrise hot air balloon trips. In addition, seaside destinations like Mediterranean Fethiye or Aegean Bodrum easily lure international visitors.
Others head to Pamukkale, Turkey's top natural landscape. White calcium water pools cascading down the hillside led the attraction to be nicknamed "cotton castle", and they often follow with an overnight trip to Ephesus. The ancient city ruins, mainly from the Roman Empire, surprise everyone with carefully restored infrastructure like Roman houses, public latrines, Celsus Library, and large theatre. Turkey is a traveller's delight, and Istanbul is a beautiful introduction to a memorable holiday. There is every reason to love and adore Istanbul. Read more about places to visit in Turkey.
Also About Istanbul
Free Things to Do: Istanbul is one of the world’s greatest cities. It positively bursts with art, culture, history, and beauty. A big part of Istanbul’s appeal is that it is accessible to all, whether you have a wallet bursting with cash or a traveller on a budget. Here we outline the very best free attractions in the city from the galleries and museums and markets that portray even more reasons why we love Istanbul. Alternatively, also read our blog that talks more about the culture, food, history, and places of the great country of Turkey.
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