If you are looking for a destination for a great weekend and you are more of a city person who loves cultural visits and nightlife, Istanbul is for you! It would be very difficult to describe the life of Istanbul in a few paragraphs. With a rich historical and religious heritage, the city radiates a communicative energy. You don’t just visit Istanbul, you live it!
It is a magical place where the cultures, history and religions of the East and the West are mixed. The beautiful view of minarets in the cultural capital of Turkey continues to impact every minute. From the variety of incredible and spicy aromas of the Grand Bazaar, and the glorious mosques around Sultanahmet to the modern and elegant shops of Beyoglu, this intense fusion of Europe and Asia guarantees that every corner will surprise you. However, just crossing the gap can easily entertain you throughout the weekend.
First Byzantium, then Constantinople, and now Istanbul, the city straddles the Bosporus strait on its Golden Horn inlet off the Sea of Marmara. Thanks to its enviable geographical location, Europe to the west and Asia to the east, the well-known Bosporus or Strait of Turkey has always been in the focus of great civilizations since ancient times. Many fought to maintain the power of the area, occupied it and traded through the city because of the multiple benefits that its location had, among them the Persians, the Byzantines, the Romans and more.
However, who made history with its rules and empire was the Ottoman Sultan, also called Suleiman The Magnificent, who reigned 46 years since 1520 or the Osmanlí dynasty, who was in control for 623 years in total.
Istanbul has immense structures that make the city a whole show. One of the most representative attractions is the extensive Topkapi Palace, it is the perfect start to get to know the whole city. It has an imposing Imperial Gate next to Hagia Sophia, the palace is extended by a hill that borders the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara.
You will never regret going to Seraglio Point, the view is just a dream and you can enjoy a delicious coffee at Mecidiye Pavilion while you think about the history that surrounds every corner of the city. You can visit the Harem tile rooms, where the Sultan’s wives and concubines lived, and the Imperial Treasury. You can not ignore the stone tablets with inscriptions spaced around the inner wall of the first courtyard, as if trying to describe a story.
Before arriving at the Sultanahmet Mosque you can walk through ornate gardens that have a special charm, and once you’re there, you will be captivated with its domes.
Taking off your shoes and entering the dimly lit inner sanctuary provides immediate calmness. It is also known as the Blue Mosque because most of the surfaces are covered with blue tiles, it is a place of worship and prayer schedules are especially respected.
Istanbul keeps a great Byzantine masterpiece: Hagia Sophia, which means “Holy Wisdom” in Greek. It is a building that was originally a church, then it was a mosque and now it is one of the most famous museums in the region. This beautiful structure was built by order of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in record time between 532 and 537 as the new cathedral of Constantinople, one of its features is an immense dome that at one time was the largest in the world. We recommend that if you decide to visit it, do it very early since at noon is usually very busy.
Get what you need from the Grand Bazaar
After you’ve enjoyed all the architecture of Hagia Sophia, you can go to the west and get to know the Grand Bazaar, an organized chaos representative of Istanbul. Historically, this space was the precursor of the shopping centers in the city. It gives the feeling that everyone is selling something, you can get everything you can think of there, from pots, clothes, lighters and many items that you never imagined existed. The Grand Bazaar keeps hundreds of anecdotes and many small corners full of history that speak of how the city became such a famous commercial monopoly.
The next thing you need to know is the Suleymaniye Mosque, a jewel of the Ottoman dynasty built by the legendary architect Mimar Sinan in 1557. With more than two hundred windows, the interior space is one of the most charming out of the impressive collection of mosques in Istanbul.
Things you should know
There are lots of activities you can do in Istanbul. Throughout the year, each site keeps a story that takes you to time immemorial. Although it is hot in the summer months, you can enjoy its streets without complications.
The main mosques and sites are quieter early in the day. Most are accessible on foot, although it is quite mountainous. Do not miss visiting an exotic destination of Istanbul
If you want you can visit Istanbul throughout the year, it’s a little hot in summer, but that does not stop you from showing the city everything it has for you. The day of Istanbul is quiet and quiet, the main mosques are not very crowded, and a cake is accessible. Many airlines, including Turkish Airlines, offer several daily flights to Istanbul, where there is accommodation for all tastes and budgets.
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