Category: Resorts » International » Asia » Turkey | Author: biker | Views: 3345 | 16-04-2012, 20:09

Official name of city: "Istanbul";

Country of Stanbul: Turkey;

Area of Istanbul: 5343 km. square;

Geographical location: cross point of Asia and Europe (Northwest of Turkey);

Climate of Istanbul: subtropical climate zone;

Population of Istanbul: 13,255,685 people;

Language of Istanbul: Turkish;

Religion in Istanbul:  Muslim 98%, Greek Christians, as well as the Armenian and Syrian Orthodox – 2%;

Currency of Istanbul: Turkish Lira (TRL); 

Official site of Istanbul: ;

Phone code of Istanbul: +90 212 (European part), +90 216 (Asian side); 

Local time: UTC +2, Summer UTC +3.



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Flag of Istanbul 


Map of Istanbul


Coat of arms of Istanbul 


Information about Istanbul

Istanbul is the heart of Turkey, also one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Istanbul is the biggest city of Turkey. The uniqueness of the city reflects in its location: the city is located at the cross point of two continents Asia and Europe and connects them. Istanbul is only city in the world, which had been the capital of two world empires over two millennia.


Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul


The geographical location of Istanbul    

This magnificent city is located on the hills on both banks of the Bosphorus and in the South it is washed by the Sea of Marmara. Such favorable position has contributed not only on the beautiness of the city, but also on its economic development. Since the Bosporus connects the Black Sea with the Mediterranean basin, through it constantly runs a huge number of ships. The most beautiful and unique bay in Istanbul is the "Golden Horn", it is also one of the symbols of the city.
Having an area of 2106 square km, Istanbul is full of small narrow streets, beautiful streets and large avenues with expensive, luxurious restaurants and private residences. Here you can find what you like. The population in the metropolitan Grand Istanbul (for 2008) is about 16 767 000. But this number is constantly growing.


Photos of Istanbul

Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul
Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul


Climate of Istanbul

Those tourists who plan to spend summer in Istanbul will not be disappointed. Summer in Istanbul is warm and sometimes hot. In general, the climate of Istanbul is fine, without any sudden changes in temperature. April and May are characterized by  short but cool spring, but then the air is heated to 30 degrees. Despite the fact that the temperature in September goes down by 10 degrees you can swim and relax on the beach. There is often snow in winter and an average temperature is about 5.9 degrees Celsius.



History of Istanbul 

The year 667 BC is considered the date of foundation of this beautiful city. According to the legend, a man Vizant from Megara laid the beginning of the town Byzantium, which was at that time a colony of Greece. Despite a very favorable location, the town did not play a big role in the economic and political aspects. But this situation changed in 324, when the Roman emperor Constantine took control over the city and started a big construction. Later Byzantium was renamed into Constantinople, which became the capital of the Roman Empire. In 476 the city became the capital of the Byzantine Empire. In 1453 the history of the town faced again with significant changes – it had been captured by the Turks as a result the city ceased to be the heart of Eastern Christianity, and became the capital of the Muslim country - The Ottoman Empire. In these conditions, Constantinople lost its status of the capital and in 1923 was renamed into Istanbul.
Such changes in the history of the city could not pass unnoticed and have reflected on the contemporary culture of the main city in Turkey. In architecture, you can see the old buildings of the Roman Empire (for example the ancient hippodrome). As you can see, Istanbul, Turkey is very attractive and interesting. It should be also added, that the city has  unique status: since 2010 - Istanbul, Turkey has been chosen to the cultural capital of Europe.
Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul


Culture in Istanbul

From the history of this beautiful city, we can see that the city was always either the capital or commercial center. No wonder, that Istanbul, Turkey has absorbed the many cultures and religions. In culture of Istanbul you can see elements of Muslims, Christians, Armenians, Syrians, Greeks and Caucasians... This list can be continued. It is believed that in Istanbul you can hear 72.5 languages. We don`t know if it is true or not, but it is real fact that Istanbul has a big number of churches and mosques, synagogues, and patriarchy, Buddhists and atheists. The fact that all these religions can coexist peacefully is confirmed by the rich history, which has left its mark in the hearts of different people. Such ethnic, religious, cultural synthesis has become a kind of feature of this wondrous city. The fact that Istanbul brought together so many people proves that it is the most cosmopolitan and largest city in the World.
Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul
Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul
Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul


What to see in Istanbul 

Istanbul is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, has a rich history and unique geographical location (the only city in the world, which is located on two continents, Europe and Asia). The city was founded around 660 BC. Now it is a modern metropolis with population of 15 million. The church of Hagia Sophia (Hagia Sophia) and the mosque of Sultan Suleyman or Blue Mosque are considered the symbols of the city. Sultan's Palace with the famous harem Topkan is also very popular among tourists. The city has many museums including the Carie Museum (11) with rich collection of frescoes and mosaics, the Museum of Antiquities, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts which is located in the palace of Ibrahim and contains the interiors of houses from different regions of Turkey, manuscripts, miniatures rugs of the period of the Ottoman Empire, the Museum of Oriental Antiquities of Mesopotamian artifacts of Arabian, Anatolian and Egyptian civilizations.
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  • The Mosque of Sultan Suleyman (Blue Mosque). Officially it is called the Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmet . The name "Blue Mosque" it received because it has got the blue tiles decorating its interior. It was built by the architect Mehmetag. Uniqueness of the Blue Mosque is seen in the fact that it has six minarets, four, as usual, on both sides, and two - at the outer corners of the courtyard. According to some sources, this fact angered the elders of the city of pilgrimage, Mecca (the religious center of Islam).
  • Church of St. Sophia - the Church of Divine Wisdom, one of the most important and most beautiful buildings in the history of world architecture. It is also one of the most important monuments of Orthodoxy. According to Russian legend, Prince Vladimir sent his ambassadors there, who had to tell him, if the Christian religion was good. After visiting the church of Hagia Sophia, the ambassadors  were so impressed that it influenced to Vladimir’s choice to baptize the Rus.
  • Tank Yerebana (Yereban Sarancisi) or basil tank (also called the sunken palace) - a huge vaulted dungeon with lots of columns and dripping water from everywhere makes a strong impression. Take a boat and admire the majestic columns and numerous fish of this unique reservoir. In ancient times, it was used as a reservoir of fresh water supply in case of drought or siege of the city. Cistern Basilica was discovered by chance in the XVI century, someone finally guessed to find out why the residents of the nearby houses can fish through a hole in the floor.
    Most of the columns, which are located in the basilica, were transferred from the ancient temples. At the end of the reservoir there are two marble blocks. The relief images of the ancient monsters snake hair Medusa, from the sight of which any man turns to stone are imprinted on each of them.
  • Dolmabahce Palace. This really impressive palace has 285 rooms and 43 cabins, 6 balconies, 6 baths and 1427 windows, and it's located on an area of 25,000 square meters. Inside of the palace there are 156 clocks, placed in a symmetric form, also there are 58 vases and 280 candleholders. It has a collection of paintings by famous Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky. The interior decoration of the palace admire with its richness: 14 tons of gold and 40 tons of silver were spent for the decoration. To this we should add the beautiful silk carpets (131 large carpets and 99 smaller). If you spread out all the carpets of the palace, they cover an area of 4 500 sq. m. The palace can be divided into three main parts: the left selyamlyk (male half), a big hall in the center and on the right - harem.
  • The square of Sultanahmet (Hippodrome).  Its construction started in 203 under the reign of Septium Severus and ended in 330 years under the reign of the Byzantine emperor Constantine the Great. Racetrack with 40 rows can contain over 30,000 spectators. The length of the racetrack is 400 meters and width is 120 m it is the second largest hippodrome after in Rome. Not only sport, but also cultural events, world-famous gladiatorial games, as well as various political debates and protests took place here in different periods of time.
  • The Egyptian Bazaar or Spice Market. Egyptian Bazaar received its name during the Ottoman period, when different spices and seasonings were brought from Egypt to Istanbul and sold at this bazaar. Here you can buy not only the different spices and herbs, but also basturma (smoked, cured meat), jam, Turkish lokum, cheese, spices in tiny vials, dried fruits and other delicacies.
  • Bridges over the Bosphorus.  Ataturk Bridge is relatively new bridge. Its construction was cost over 23 million dollars. Its Length is 1560 meters and width is 33 meters. The height of the bridge is 64m above sea level. About 200,000 transport, 600,000 passengers pass it every day. At length it is fourth in Europe and seventh in the world.
  • Fatih  Mehmet Sultan Bridge - it's height is about 64 m. above sea level, length - 1510 m., width - 39 m., known as one of the largest bridges in the world.
  • Miniature Park. In this park just for one day you can see the architectural structures (in smaller size) which are located in different regions of Turkey and other countries, built at different times and by different peoples.
  • Galata Tower offers breathtaking views tok the city with its endless markets and mosques and winding cobbled streets.
  • Mosque. Istanbul is like a storehouse of valuable and historically unique monuments. If you visited Istanbul, you can say that you visited the second Rome. It has so many worth visiting places that it can take you  a couple of weeks to visit them all. Spending time in this wonderful city will leave unforgettable impressions in your heart. The most famous monuments in the world history can be found in the central district of Sultanahmet.
    Since Istanbul is Muslim city, logically, that you can see many mosques there.

    But before going to the holy place, you need to know some rules, visiting a foreign country; you must respect other people's traditions.

    - Before entering a mosque you must remove your shoes;
    - Do not go to the mosque during prayer (daily prayer, which is held five times a day: morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night. Prayer time determined by the position of the sun), shorts, sleeveless shirts are men's veto in a mosque ;
    - Women should cover arms, legs and head;
    - Do not behave provocatively in the mosques, because it's not a museum,  but a holy place for believers;
    -  It is rudeness to pass the praying person in front of him, do it behind;
    - One of the nicest rules -  be sure to take your camera – it is allowed to take pictures in mosques, so  you will remember your visiting for a long time.


Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul
Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul


What to do in Istanbul  

If you want to have a healthy entertainment - visit  a Turkish bath, hammam. In ancient times the Romans invented a prototype of hammams called terms. Later the Turks improved and took it to their culture. In Istanbul there are dozens of hammams. The most popular among tourists and the most expensive are called "Chagaloglu Hammami", located on Kazim Gurkan Dzhaddesi. Of course you can find cheaper. If you want, you can also try the brutal Turkish massage. The Turkish bath "Chemberlitash Hammami" (in Vezirhan Dzhaddesi) or "Galatasaray Hammami" (in Turnadzhibashi Sokak) are also popular. And it is not necessarily to go somewhere to find a hammam, because many hotels have their own hammams.

And if you prefer noisy parties you can have fun in a nightclub with a "belly dance", Turkish dancing and singing. Galata Tower Night Club, located in the ancient Galata Tower, Orient House (Beyyazit Street) and "Kervansaray" (street Elmadag) are opened all night.

Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul


Cuisine in Istanbul 


Istanbul cuisine is a mix of various beverages and foods from different world’s cuisines. This is due to multi-ethnic population. Here you can find a restaurant to every taste and culinary tradition. We recommend you to order fresh Mediterranean fish and taste the Ottoman, Indian or Middle Eastern cuisine. If you are a fan of fast food, then Istanbul, Turkey will become your culinary paradise. There are so many fast food restaurants with hamburgers and other food there. You can buy food not only in restaurants or cafes, but also on the street, so - do not be shy!
Of course, if you enjoy experimenting with different national cuisine, we recommend you to start with the traditional Turkish cuisine, which has the status of the most delicious and rich. Before taking your bags and going on a vacation of your dreams (to Istanbul, Turkey), be sure to write down what you need to eat - it's a juicy kebab, fish sandwiches, meze (snacks), chorba (soup), risotto  and coffee with delicious sweets. Istanbul snacks will delight you - it's fresh salads with olive oil, rice wraped in grape leaves, stuffed tomatoes, delicious olives and so many other tasty dishes.
Start your meal with a first course, soup - chorba. They are mostly vegetables, rice, eggs and noodles. Take the soup dzhadzhik, which includes cucumbers with yogurt and delicious seasonings.
Since Turkey is surrounded by sea, it is famous for its fish dishes. Here you can find a big variety of fish dishes: squid, swordfish, shrimp, groupers and many other fish, which have excellent taste and healthy.
It may sound funny, but thinking about Turkish cuisine, we often associate it with kebabs. It makes sense. Istanbul is the place where such a common dish in the world tastes better than anywhere else. So after soup course, order juicy, delicious kebab. For example shish-kebab - meat cut into slices, which is grilled over charcoal. Also take koefte (made of lamb meatballs, spiced with onions and egg. Oh, and do not forget about risotto - highlight of Turkish cuisine.
Turkish sweets are famous all over the world. Believe me, just for them you should go to Istanbul. There you will taste all kinds of world-famous desserts.
In the evening, after visiting the historic sites and tasting a variety of delicious dishes, relax in a quiet, cozy cafe with glass of the famous beer "Efes". This evening will be unforgettable.


Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul
Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul


What to buy in Istanbul

Istanbul is a shopping paradise. Traditionally, tourists buy antiques, leather goods, and carpets, all sorts of coinage, ceramics and spices. In other words various small gifts.

The most popular market in Istanbul is the Grand Covered Bazaar with its countless shops and trading streets. You can buy everything you want there. If you are good at bargaining, then you may be able to buy very valuable thing. But it is not so easy to find a real treasure of antiques, because they get to market very rarely. But a big choice of beautiful, shiny trinkets, jewelry, textiles, leather goods and other things are always available. The most important rule is bargaining everywhere. You may be able to reduce the price twice or even triple. So don`t forget to bargain everywhere. An exception can be European supermarkets and small grocery shops.
Near the Blue Mosque there is a market of carpets and leather Arasta. Here you can buy traditional leather goods (shoes, bags, and clothing) of very high quality, cassettes with Turkish folk music and musical instruments, pottery and more.
If you are interested in the modern Turkish culture then you should go to Taksim and Istiklal Street where there is a big choice of the works of contemporary Turkish designers.
Here you can also buy shoes, clothes, household items and fashion jewelry.

Lovers of exotic purchases will be impressed with the variety of spices at the Egyptian market in Eminonu. After visiting the Bazaar you can face the only one problem what to do with the most of the spices, because about half of the herbs and spices you have never heart before. Except different spices  buy Turkish soap, which has had a good fame since the time of the Middle Ages, and natural sponges that will transform the processes of bathing into heaven pleasure. Most of these things can be found in the shops on the street Enichelerleri, which is located near the University.
To the main turkish souvenirs belong Turkish fedora hat, various silk scarves, and what should be in every tourist's bag - glass blocks, blue-yellow circle with the evil eye - you can buy in each store. After such shopping you will be really delighted with your turkish holiday.


Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul


Interesting facts about Istanbul

  1. 1. Istanbul is the only city in the world, which is geographically situated in Europe and Asia;
  2. Istanbul had been the most populated city in the world before 1502, later in 1840 London overtook this title;
  3. Istanbul was the capital of the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire;
  4. Blue Mosque is the only mosque in the world with six minarets. This is the maximum number of minarets, which may be in the mosque at all;
  5. Grand Bazaar is the biggest and the oldest covered bazaar in the world, with more than 3000 stores;
  6. St. Sofia Cathedral had been remaining the largest church in the world for about 900 years;
  7. From the Middle Ages to the Ottoman Empire Istanbul had more than 1,400 public toilets, despite the fact that there were not any in France and other European cities;
  8. Agatha Christie wrote her famous novel "Murder on the Orient Express" in the hotel "Pera Palas" in Istanbul;
  9. The four bronze horses, adorning the Cathedral of St. Mark's in Venice, were brought from Constantinople by the Crusaders in the 13th century;
  10. Istanbul is one of the largest cities in the world, with population more than 13 million.


Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul
Istanbul Istanbul Istanbul

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