A city in two continents
06.05.2010 24 °C
Istanbul is the only city in the world that it is possible to have a beer within 30 minutes in two seperate continents.
It has been a capital to Byzantine and Ottoman empires in the past where the effects from both is still visible in the city.
Its location is the old historical side in Europe and the modern side in Asia seperated by the Bosphorous strait. You would be surprised to see how modern and trendy Istanbul if you visit the city. Although it is a city where its people are Muslim, you will find more trendy cafes, bars, restaurants and night clubs in Istanbul than anywhere else in Europe.
Its official population is 12 million however there are more than 18 million people lives in the city. With its strategic location, 5 star hotels, conventional and exhibition centers and unlimited amount of historical places to visit Istanbul is now one of the most favourite locations in the world for tourists, exhibitions and international conferences.
Due to its harbour, different cruise ships arrives to Istanbul almost everyday bringing many nationalities to the land.
Istanbul is the European Culture Capital for 2010 and throughout the year there are several cultural activities happening and as the weather is getting better now, these activities will continue almost every day for the next 5-6 months.
Hagia Sophia is one of the most interesting places in the world where it was built as a church during the Byzantine times and converted into a mosque when the city was overtaken by the Ottoman. Today, it serves as one of the most fascinating museums in the world.
Topkapi Palace amazes anyone who enter from its huge doors and where you think that it is a big place you realize that you only walked through its outside gardens and another door lets you into the most amazing 4-5 hours journey where you can experinces the lives of kings and sultans. It is also a home to the world's biggest dimond - Spoonmaker dimond.
Blue mosque is must see. More than 10000 people can pray at the same time on its carpets and the ceilings inside will make your eyes shine where its covered by blue drawings. The mosque also takes its name from these ceilings.
And the great thing is all of the above 3 places are within walking distance of eachother and one long day will be sufficient to visit all. The area called Sultanahmet and it is also a good location for accomodation where its near the above attractions and also in the center of the city.
Anyway, enough of the history, let's give some information about the busting things in the city. However do search in advance for more historical places if thats what interests you as there are unlimited places to visit.
There are thousands of cafes, bars, restaurants and clubs in Istanbul, however the most famous ones are almost always near the Bosphorous. Ortakoy, Arnavutkoy, Bebek, Istinye, Sarıyer hosts most of these places. They strecth on the European side of the Bosphorous. There are various websites can provide you information on these places.
If I have to mention a few, the first and the most famous place in Istanbul would be Reina. Istanbul without a night in Reina would not be completed. It is open throughout the year however it is best to visit in summer months where you can enjoy a meal in one of its many international restaurants followed with a night to remember until the first lights of the sun. It is necessary to make a reservation and I suggest that it is best to go for a meal first as if you only wish to go for the night club it is almost impossible to enter through its doors. It is one of the most expensive places in the city and if you go for meal and followed with a few drink during the night you will spend at least 100 euros per person but it will worth the every penny. Reina has been a host to may famous international parties like Formula1 and Winneh Oprah private party and you can spot a celebrity almost every weekend. Its views are the most fantastic thing about Reina. It is right under the Bosphorous bridge and zero meter to the sea.
Sortie and Al Jamal are the similar places but check for its concepts before making the reservation.
The words would not be enough to talk about Istanbul but all I can say is that you will have time of your life if you give this city a chance.