Istanbul-European Side

Istanbul, the most populous city in Turkey, is a truly astounding location with a wealth of heritage, culture and sights. Steeped in history, from the fall of Constantinople and Byzantine Era, to the Ottoman Empire and the cultural hub we know today, Istanbul holds a unique and distinct Turkish charm not found in the rest of the world. The city is known for its stunning Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, present across Istanbul, including churches and mosques, bridges and many other breath-taking structures to behold. Topkap? Palace in particular, demonstrates a number of historical architectural styles not seen married elsewhere. Known as a European Capital of Culture, Istanbul’s historic centre is a UNESCO world heritage site and the city also boasts the title of being the fastest growing economic metropolis in the world. The city is a hub for trade, and home to many of Turkey’s big industries and companies, holding over one quarter of the country's national GDP. 

Despite a slight shift in interest towards Turkey’s capital, Ankara, Istanbul is still seen as a diverse and interesting cultural hub and one of the world’s most fascinating cities! In the 1970’s, the city became the national home of artists in Turkey, meaning it’s still steeped in creative industries and artistic flavour today. Beyoglu is the artistic quarter of the city, and home to many impressive museums, including the Istanbul Modern and Pera Museum. 

For shopping, the city does not disappoint, and is home to one of the world’s oldest and largest covered market, The Grand Bazaar, unbelievably open since 1461. There’s also a historical spice market open since 1600, Mahmutpasa Bazaar, which is linked to the Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Bazaar. There’s a more modern shopping centre which was the first introduction of a “mall” style shopping outlet in Istanbul, the Galleria Ataköy, holding a wealth of stores for all tastes and budgets. For eating, Istanbul is famed for its wonderful seafood restaurants, as well as delightful Ottoman cuisine.  Istanbul has an impressive nightlife with many taverns, pubs and restaurants. The taverns in particular are full of character and typical of the hospitable culture, including live entertainment and music. 

Transport in Istanbul is comprehensive, with a system of historic and modern trams in place to guide you around the city. There are also buses and rail, and although the system is complex, it is sophisticated and relatively easy to navigate. There’s an international rail station, the Sirkeci Terminal, through which the world famous Orient Express runs from Paris. There are also two international airports, Istanbul Atatürk, and Sabiha Gökçen International. 

 

Hopping on from Istanbul-European Side

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