• isthelargest city in Turkey
• haspopulation of 13.9 million
• founded by Byzasaround 660 B.C
• Thefirst known nameof thecity is Byzantium
• ConstantineTheGreat madeit thenew
eastern capital of the Roman Empire in 330
AD, with thenameConstantinoupoli.
• Finally, on 29 May 1453, Ottoman Turks
captured Constantinople and declared it the
new capital of the Ottoman Empire.
• TheOttomansquickly transformed thecity
from abastion of Christianity to asymbol
of Islamic culture.
• From 1930 theofficial nameisIstanbul.
• You should see:
ThisiswheretheOttoman Sultanslived for around 400 years.
Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque)
Thismagnificent and massivemosquewascompleted in 1616
and istheonly mosquein theworld that hassix minarets. It isan
activemosqueand closes5 timesaday for prayer (about 20-30
Everything you seeinsidethepalaceis original, thusno pictures
or video areallowed indoorsand guided toursarerequired.
Thisisthelargest underground reservoir in thecity, constructed
in the6th century to supply water to theGreat Palaceof
Constantinople, Topkapi Palaceand others.
Thisbridgeisbuilt over theGolden Horn on theEuropean sideof
Istanbul. It’sashort walk from thespicemarket and isquiteeasy
to walk across.
Order someappleteato go with your sweetsand you’ll bein
SpiceMarket (Egyptian Bazaar)
In addition to spices, you’ll also find tea, sweets, and other
It’soneof themost popular drop off placesfor tour groups, so be
prepared for largecrowdsof both tourist and locals.It’ssuper
easy to get lost in the4,000+ shopswhich span over 58 covered
You should do:
Ferry around theBosphorus
A truly relaxing way to get acrossoneof theworld’sbusiest
waterwaysisto takeoneof thehalf-hourly commuter ferry services
up theBosphorusfrom Eminönü. Alight ashoreat Beşiktaş,
Ortaköy and Bebek along theway to takein thelush parks, palaces
and yal sı
Walk thecity walls
Constructed during thereign of TheodosiusII (408-450), thewallsof
Constantinoplearethelargest Byzantinestructurethat survivesin modern
Istanbul. Thewallsencompasstheold city in agreat arc, stretching some6.5
kilometers(four miles) from theGolden Horn to theSeaof Marmara.
Originally named theTower of Christ, theGalataTower was
built in 1348 at theapex of fortified walls. After theOttoman
conquest, it wasused to houseprisonersof war and later became
Tuck into Ottoman cuisine
Authentic Turkish food isafar cry from thegreasy kebabsthat arepeddled
abroad; Asitaneisaone-of-a-kind restaurant serving truly authentic Ottoman
food. Expect lotsof sweet and sour fruit and meat combos: try Kavun dolmasi,
amelon stuffed with minced meat, rice, almondsand pistachios. Over at
Rumeli, traditional disheshavebeen given adistinctly Mediterranean twist.
Also try these: Hacı Abdullah, Sarniç, and Zarifi.
Takepartying to new heights
Thebest way to seeIstanbul isfrom above, asIstanbul’snightlife
impresarioshavediscovered – arevelation that has
revolutionised dining and drinking in recent years.
Blow off somesteam in ahamam
Paying anear-naked stranger to scrape, knead and pummel your flesh asyou
lieon asteamy slab of marbleisoneof Istanbul’shedonistic highlights.
Hamamswerealwaysintended to purify and arestrongly linked to theIslamic
tradition of ablutions– thestrict set of rulesfor washing thehands, arms, face
and feet with running water beforepraying.
Escapeto thePrinces’ Islands
Set in theMarmaraSeaoff Istanbul'sAsian Shore, thePrinces' Islandsare
whereIstanbul’smainly non-Muslim elitebuilt their summerhousesand
pleasurepalaces. Today, they areoneof thelast placesto offer aglimpseof
theold ethnic mix of Istanbul in all itssplendour: Greeks, Armeniansand
Jewsstill rub shoulderswith Turksin thelocal squares, and churchesaremore