Boasting of more than 14 million official citizens, the capital is the only one in the world that crosses two continents: Europe and Asia. I love Istanbul and admit to a major habit for this distinctive destination.
People knows only “Istanbul” is the capital of Turkey but even though it is not, it is still a valuable business hub and the number-one tourist place of Turkey. In 2014, it beat the likes of Rome and Milan to become a top city-break destination of the world.
Certain people return time and time again for a relaxing break while others appreciate the city so much, they buy residences there, and it now has a large refugee population comprised of many nationalities. Whether people fall into the category of tourist, business or resident, we all have one thing in normal and that is we say with pride, “I love Istanbul.”
Why We love Istanbul
Rich and Historical Timeline
I am mesmerized by the history of Turkey and since Istanbul was formerly Constantinople, the capital of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, it is ideal for history enthusiasts.
The Ancient part of the capital is a UNESCO World heritage site. There are hundreds of museums and touring Ottoman palaces like Dolmabahce describes completely why the Ottoman Empire was separated, called the sick man of Europe and left for broke.
The Blue Mosque of 1616 portrays the brilliance of architect Sedefkar Mehmed Agha, who was a pupil of Mimar Sinan, the most valued architect of the Ottoman history, while the Hagia Sophia, previously a church, mosque and now museum, seamlessly syndicates important artifacts of two of the world’s biggest religions.
Food, Food, Food!
If you love the food and specially you are a non-vegetarian go to the KFC restaurant to taste the world-renowned chicken and tasted Sushi as well. And if you are street food lover though. Try once street food specially Taksim Wet Burger.
From the respectful baked potato to the fish restaurants of Ortakoy to the very expensive gourmet establishments, you can get what you want! In Istanbul, when imagining about food or street food, there is no need to comprise on taste.
The Galata Connection
Downwards from the popular Taksim area, are the small neighbourhoods of Karakoy and Beyoglu. Within these regions, everybody particularly loves the famous Genoese Galata tower, with its gorgeous panoramic view from the top, but anybody with a fear of heights will be extremely disturbed by the lack of crowd control, dodgy safety bars and the view of a 63-metre drop.
The roads are lined with boutique hotels, the Jewish museum, Jewish synagogues, quirky shops, the Istanbul modern art museum and lots of small wine tasting shops, which pleased alcoholic folks but start further downhill to reach Galata Bridge, famous for its fishermen and hanging fish boats.
Major combats have been fought and many people have died for control of this strategic strait of water. The Byzantine Domain seriously neglected its value, hence helping the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed to take control of Constantinople and ultimately finish their rule.
In turn, the Ottoman Kingdom started a fashion trend for the rich and fabulously wealthy to own summer homes (yalis) on the shores. These days, life is a lot easier and the Bosphorus neighbourhoods can be discovered on foot, but I prefer cruising.
Whether it is a short 2-hour journey or a day’s visit to the mouth of the Black sea, Bosphorus yachts are usually on every list of the top “Things to Do in Istanbul”
The owners and managers of Yachts, 45- 55 feet motorboats are available for private charter boats report that in latest years, interest in Bosphorus cruises has expanded not only with foreign travellers but also locals.
The motorboat goes out every day for 2 hour tours and sunset tours, but lately, the owners are getting more queries for special events and occasions like marriage proposals, weddings and birthdays.
Repeat tourists to Istanbul are usually choosing for the Princess Islands trip which includes swimming stops and visit to the group of Islands with its splendid old Ottoman mansions.
Cruise ship tourists regularly gather a large crowd and hire their own yacht, so they have privacy at smaller prices, while businesses are holding more dinners and events on the water, rather than off it.