Istanbul is one of those places that are unique in the whole world. Formerly known as Constantinople, the once capital city of the Holy Roman, the Byzantine, and the Ottoman Empires has got a very rich and wonderful history behind it. With an unparalleled cultural significance for both the Eastern and Western World, the city that unites the continents of Europe and Asia is a must-see holiday destination for any globetrotter worthy of their title.
Istanbul’s complex and rich history is present all over the city. One of the most unforgettable sights in all of Turkey, Hagia Sophia, is a great example of this. The amazing mosque, which 500 years ago was a Christian cathedral, exemplifies some of the changes that the region has gone through in its more than two millennia of history. The Church of the Holy Wisdom of God, as reads its full name, receives millions of visitors from all around the world. The same as the Blue Mosque (right across Hagia Sophia) which is considered the most beautiful temple in the city. Its jaw-dropping interior of marvellous mosaics was built from around 20.000 ceramic tiles from Iznik. Right between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara, visitors will find the Topkapi Palace, or the Seraglio, a museum comprised of many buildings, rooms and gardens to get lost in. Other obligatory sights include the Galata Bridge, which spans the Golden Horn, and the Galata Tower, a XIV century building worthy of a climb.
Some of the most unique experiences to have in Istanbul are, without a doubt, visiting the bazaars and bargaining with the toughest salesmen in the world. Even if shopping is not a holiday priority for tourists, visiting two of the oldest bazaars in Istanbul is an experience not to be missed. The Great Bazaar is a proper town, with its 64 streets and avenues to find items of all kinds, and the Egyptian or Spice Bazaar is the place where travellers will get the chance to acquire wonderful spices and taste authentic local treats such as sweets and nuts.
Going to Turkish baths and having Turkish tea, experiencing the call to prayer, tasting some kebab, going on a cruise across the Bosporus (the separation of the two continents): these are all one of a kind experiences that visitors will be able to have in Istanbul. Definitely a place like no other in the world, the former Constantinople is still today one of the best holiday destinations on the planet.