Istanbul - City of Turkish Delights “If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul,” Perhaps Alphonse de Lamartine, French writer and poet, was referring to the view of the Saint Sophia Church, the colourful and hectic Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque or Istanbul’s beautiful waterfront promenade along the Bosphorus.Whatever he had in mind, the modern city of Istanbul certainly offers to the visitors a spectacle for the senses. It is a city which is meant not to be simply visited, but to be experienced. From its minarets and domes dotting the skyline, to the smells drifting out from its restaurants, to the harried bustle of the masses in its loud and colourful markets, Istanbul is a lively destination with many things to see, hear, touch smell and taste.
From Byzantium to Istanbul… This sprawling city dates back to 667 BC when it was named Byzantium (to be changed to Constantinople during Roman rule and finally to Istanbul). Since its founding, Istanbul has seen Roman rule, the rise and fall of the Byzantine Empire, crusades (1204) which ransacked the city and the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s. In 1923, when Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey, he moved the capital from Istanbul to Ankara ending the period in which the city was home to the Turkish government.
Discover… The modern day city of Istanbul is a buzzing metropolis divided into three parts by the Bosphorus and Golden Horn bay: the Old Town, New Town and Istanbul on the Asian continent. Most visitors spend their time in the old city on the peninsula of Sultanahmet where most of the attractions are concentrated. Beyoðlu and Istiklal Caddesi are known for their night life, Taksim area has more of a bohemian feel. Sultanahmet is where many sites are located in the Old Town, also on the European side of Istanbul.
Authentic Shopping and Activities Visitors will be impressed by its sheer size and captivated by its many sights. Purchase colourful Anatolian scarves at the Grand Bazaar, be mesmerized by the dances of the Whirling Dervishes at the Galata Tower, or sample an authentic doner kebab. Take a Turkish bath at the unforgettable Emberlitas Hamam. Sit back and enjoy a hookah or a mint tea and delicious desserts with dates and nuts in an Istanbul teahouse as you watch the world pass by.
Culture fusion With one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, Istanbul is two cities in one, combining the old and the new, Eastern and Western, traditional and modern. However, despite its seeming incongruities, Istanbul celebrates these differences, creating an atmosphere like no other in the world.
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