The point of connection and separation. While it connects Europe and Asia, the Bosphorus divides it and connects the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. The very thought of it being the only city built on two continents and that once it was the center of the world demands a special dose of respect.
The Byzantine Empire is the longest lasting empire. The center of ancient Byzantine was in Constantinopole where economic, cultural, and civilization roads lead to making it dominant. However, this city had an important role during Greek colonization, the Otoman Empire, and Turkey. All these roles created rich historic background spiced up by dramatic events.
The true size of this city, built over 2,500 years, is taken by panoramic view. The Camlica Hill provides a view as if you are on the magic carpet while you take in the art of oriental pleasure in coffee, Turkish delight, hookahs, and oriental music.
City streets reveal specific odors coming from restaurants and challenge all senses. Forget about international chains of restaurants and taste authentic Turkish cuisine. Kebab and baklava should not be avoided.
The empires that chose this city to be their center adorned it with an impressive architecture that symbolizes it to this very day. Particular attractive are mosques. Hagia Sofia used to be biggest Christian church in the world, then it was turned into a mosque and today it is a museum representing the most sacred object of Istanbul and a symbol of centuries of existence. The construction of the Blue Mosque was ordered by the nineteen-year old Ahmed I. It is a rarity among the mosques with its six minarets since usually there is only one, two or four. Dolmabahce Palace shines on the Bosphorus coastline. Here you will experience the luxury of 1001 night. 35 tons of gold was used in construction.
No matter how long you explore Istanbul, you will never get an impression that you saw everything. After visiting all historic sights, you will come across Grand Bazaar reveling the art of trade. If you ever wished to decorate your home, office or any living space with oriental elements, this is where your wishes come true. Grand Bazaar offers the finest of the Orient.
The rhythm of this city is most obvious in the evening. Dance is in the blood of Istanbul residents. Magical belly dancing is part of the culture, but modern dances also found their spot here.