Istanbul, once known as the capital of capital cities, has many unique features. It is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, and the only one to have been a capital during two consecutive empires – Christian and Islamic. Once capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul still remains the commercial, historical and cultural pulse of Turkey, and its beauty lies in its ability to embrace its contradictions. Ancient and modern, religious and secular, Asia and Europe, mystical and earthly all co-exist here.
Sophia Cathedral was built between 532 AD and 537 AD at the height of the Byzantine Empire. Sophia Cathedral is one the top ten desirable churches in the world. Hagia Sophia faces the Blue Mosque across the street. Sophia Cathedral is magnificent and fully demonstrates the excellence of architectural art. It has subsequently become a design template for Islamic mosques. Today, Hagia Sophia is a religious museum enjoyed by Christians and followers of Muhammad.
Address:Ayasofya Meydani, Sultanahmet Fatih.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque or Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Turkish: Sultan Ahmet Camii) is a historic mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Its Külliye contains a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is still popularly used as a mosque.
Bosphorus is also known as Istanbul Strait. It is a strait that connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, separating Turkey's Asian part from its European part. The strait has a total length of 30 km. There is a torrent in the middle of the strait flowing from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. There is also a reverse flow beneath the water surface that brings seawater containing salt from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea. Fish populations travel to and from the Black Sea through the strait seasonally; therefore, the fishing industry is prosperous. The two banks of the strait are dotted with dense trees, villages, tourist attractions and gorgeous houses and villas.
This fortress is located on a hill on the European side in the narrowest part of Bosphorus in the Sariyer district of Istanbul. It was built by Mehmed the Conqueror of the Ottoman Empire in 1452 before conquering Constantinople. On the opposite Asian side is another Ottoman fortress; namely, Anadoluhisar, built between 1393 and 1394.
Address: Rumeli Hisari Mh., 34470 Istanbul.
In many people's opinion, shopping in Istanbul means buying carpets, silk and spices in vast marketplaces. However, the retail trade revolution in Turkey in the past two decades has given shopping a new definition. With the boom of Turkey's retail trade, brand stores and super shopping malls from Europe have landed in Istanbul. These brand stores and shopping malls are distinctive, attracting visitors from all over the world. There are so many shopping malls in Turkey that even local people cannot list all of them.
Spice Bazaar (Misir Carsisi)
The Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar) is next to Yeni Mosque. The goods here are cheaper than those in the Grand Bazaar, and include all kinds of spices, nuts, hives, olive soap, figs, Turkish candied fruit and a variety of travel accessories. Here, the stalls sell household goods and civilian ingredients. The spice market is more civilian and the prices are more reasonable.
Address:Marpuccular Caddesi No.7 Misir Carsisi, eminonu, fatih, Istanbul 34330.
Turkey is known as the third largest gourmet country in the world. The food culture in Turkey is not inferior to Chinese food culture. Its delicacies with ethnic characteristics are even more memorable. What is most famous is Turkey's doner. In Istanbul, you can see Turkish doner restaurants everywhere.
Lamb or chicken is slowly roasted on vertical rotating grills. Then, the lamb or chicken is cut into slices and sandwiched into bread or roasted Nang. Sometimes, cold fried potato chips and green peppers are put into the bread or roasted Nang, accompanied by salty yogurt, producing a unique flavor.
Recommended restaurant:Sefa Restaurant
Turkish tea is a national drink.The traditional way of drinking tea in Turkey is to prepare a small canister of tea and a large pot of boiling water, then put a small amount of tea into a tulip-shaped glass and add the right amount of hot water to make the tea to a desired concentration.
Address:Kurabiye Sokak 8.
The metro starts from Taksim Square and passes northward through the city center. The first subway train is at 6:30 am and the last subway train is 00:20 am. There is a subway train every ten minutes.
In the urban area of Istanbul, the public transport is developed and includes several major bus termini such as Taksim Square and Uskudar. For most lines, the first bus is at 6:30 and the last bus is at 23:30. You need to buy bus tickets (about 1.75 liras) at the white pavilions next to major bus stations before boarding.
In Istanbul, taxis are yellow, with a starting fare of 2.5 liras and a charge of 1.6 liras per additional kilometer. From midnight to 6:00 am, the starting taxi fare is about 50 percent higher. During this time, it is more reliable to run the taxi meter.
Currency: New Turkish Lira (TRY)
Power consumption: 230 V/50 Hz
Area code: +90212;+90216
Istanbul has hot and dry summers and cold and rainy winters. But generally the ratio of sunny days is much more than rainy and cloudy days in a year. As the city lays 95Km from one end to another, the weather can even show different faces inside the city. While it was raining on European side, you can enjoy the hot sun on Asian side. You don’t see much of a spring or autumn, summer and winters are longer. Seasons change very quickly. While August is the hottest month and the most Humid, March mostly shows up with coldest weather and rarely snow can be seen.