Called Byzantium and later Constantinople, Istanbul is the only city to span two continents. It sits on the Bosphorus, the strait of water that divides the continents of Europe and Asia and encompasses the natural harbour, the Golden Horn. Its illustrious past leaves a rich legacy of churches, mosques, palaces and museums, complemented by the behemoth Grand Bazaar with over 6,000 shops, the aromatic Egyptian Spice Market and the colourful street life.
Sultanahmet, the compact old city of Istanbul, is full of parks, gardens and stunning sights. The Blue Mosque is famed for it’s blue Iznik tiles and unique 6 minarets. The Hagia Sofia, constructed in the 6th century, reigned as the grandest and biggest church in Christendom until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, when it became a mosque. Just around the corner is Topkapi Palace.
Istanbul was a capital city for many empires - Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman and today, although it is not the capital, it is a thriving, eclectic city in present day Turkey. With its mix of Ottoman, Byzantine, Islamic, Baroque, Rococo and Art Nouveau styles of architecture, nightlife and excellent cuisine options, Istanbul is a wonderful and exciting city to explore. Art galleries and museums are doted throughout the city and it hosts film festivals, as well as many major art, music and cultural events. Istanbul also hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Air Race World Series.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Istanbul, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to Turkey
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