Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents. Its fate has been determined by its vital strategic location and enchanting natural beauty. It has long been coveted by powerful empires and served as capital first to Byzantium and then to the Ottoman Empire.
İstanbul stretches along the two shores of the Bosphorus that links the Sea of Marmara in the South with the Black Sea in the North. It is Turkey's largest city with a population of approximately 12 million.
İstanbul is also at the heart of the economy of Turkey. The largest companies and banks, the main national newspapers, television networks and advertising agencies all have their headquarters in this city.
İstanbul is also the capital of art and culture with a rich tradition in opera and ballet, theatres performing Turkish and foreign plays, concerts, art exhibitions, festivals, auctions, Congresss and of course unique museums. The city also boasts the country's largest and finest universities. As an imperial capital for 1500 years, İstanbul has acquired a highly original personality. At every turn in the city you are faced with Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman palaces, mosques, churches, monasteries, monuments, walls and ruins. Yet İstanbul is not a city living only in the past. It is a vibrant, modern and future-oriented metropolis. Bazaars and ultramodern supermarkets and department stores, street vendors and stock-brokers, old crumbling buildings and skyscrapers, horse-drawn carts and sumptuous limousines coexist and this amalgam gives the city a multi-faceted outlook and flavor. İstanbul is like an intricately woven carpet, a subtle blend of eastern and western cultures.
Hagia Sophia is a unique architectural monument being a former patriarchal basilica, later a mosque and now a museum. For nearly thousand years, it is the largest enclosed space in the world and has been a place of attraction by the sheer spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art.
Hagia Eirene ranks as the first church built in İstanbul. It reputedly stands on the site of a pre-Christian temple. As for today, it is a concert hall located in the outer courtyard of Topkapı Palace. It is open as a museum every day except Monday but requires special permission for admission.
The palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments and is a major tourist attraction today, containing the most holy relics of the Muslim world such as the prophet Muhammed's cloak and sword. A UNESCO World Heritage Site as "the best example[s] of ensembles of palaces of the Ottoman period."
The palace, built by Sultan Abdul-Aziz, between 1863 and 1867. This was a period in which all Ottoman sultans used to build their own palaces rather than using those of their ancestors. Nowadays, used as one of the most popular social events İstanbuls of İstanbul.
The Ottoman imperial palace during the 19th century. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, resided there late in his life. The 45,000sqm palace cost a mere five million Ottoman gold pounds, the equivalent of 35 tons of gold— 14 tons of which went into the decoration alone.
The cistern was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in A.D. 542 on the other side of the Hippodrome to meet the Great Palace water requirements. Nowadays, it is a museum and an exhibition hall, as well as hosting concerts and poetry readings.
The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in İstanbul.
Built in the 15th century, the huge bazaar is located in the middle of İstanbul's historical center with its streets lying beneath high domes. It is one of the oldest and biggest closed bazaar in the world with more than 58 covered streets and over 1,200 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.
At the heart of İstanbul, İstiklal Street is a 24-hours live zone in İstanbul. During daytime, you will meet thousands of persons, doing their business, shopping or just walking around. When the day turns into night, you will again meet thousands of people walking around the street, going to restaurants and night clubs along the street. To experience daily life in İstanbul, İstiklal Street should be visited.
Artists gather every Sunday to exhibit their works in a street gallery. The variety of people creates a lively scene. Sample a tasty morsel from one of the street vendors. There is a church, a mosque and a synagogue that have existed side by side for hundreds of years – a tribute to Turkish tolerance at the grass roots.
Rumelihisarı (Rumelian Castle) is a fortress located in the Sarıyer district of İstanbul, Turkey, on a hill at the European side of the Bosphorus. It was built by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II between 1451 and 1452, before he conquered Constantinople. a museum and an open-air theater for various concerts at festivals during the summer months.
The natural beauty of the Bosphorus has been praised ever since people have been living on its shores. Private, waterfront wooden villas, which originally belonged to prominent Ottoman families, fortresses built by Mehmet the Conqueror and palaces where the sultans used to live, are all part of the unique character of the Bosphorus.
Galata Tower has been overlooking the Bosphorus and the historic peninsula for hundreds of years. It is a medieval stone tower in the Galata district of İstanbul, Turkey, just to the north of the Golden Horn. One of the city’s most striking landmarks, it is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline and affords a panoramic vista of Old İstanbul and its environs.
The Maiden Tower is a symbol of İstanbul. It was used as a watchtower and a lighthouse sitting on a small islet located in the Bosphorus strait off the coast of Üsküdar in İstanbul, Turkey. Nowadays serves as a restaurant to its visitors.
Pierre Loti Café on Eyüp hillside is a significant residential area with its natural beauties, religious facilities, excellent view of Haliç (Golden Horn). Its calm and relaxed atmosphere makes Pierre Loti Café one of the attractive places in İstanbul. Author Pierre Loti, who admires the Ottoman culture and life style used to visit this café when he was in İstanbul.
İstanbul Archeological Museum
The site of the museums actually belonged to the Topkapı Palace outer gardens. Since the imperial decree protecting cultural goods in the Ottoman Empire was enforced, many governors from the different provinces would send in found artifacts to the capital city. In that way the museum was able to amass a great collection. Upon its 100th anniversary in 1991, the Museum received the European Council Museum Award.
Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) Museum
Ayasofya was built, for nearly a thousand years ago, is the largest enclosed space in the world, and still seen as one of the world’s most important architectural monuments. It is one of Turkey’s most popular attractions, drawn by the sheer spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art.
Caria (Kariye) Museum
This is actually Kariye Mosque, once the 11th century church of St. Saviour in Chora, is considered to be the most important Byzantine monument in İstanbul, after Hagia Sophia.
İstanbul Toy Museum
The museum was founded by the Turkish poet and novelist, Sunay Akın, in 2005. The museum opened on April 23, a national holiday in Turkey, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. Currently, the museum has 4,000 toys and miniatures on display, from Turkey and abroad; many of the exhibits are antiques, some of which date back nearly 200 years. The first floor of the museum is actually the site of the Eyüp Toy Shop, a famous toy shop that had closed down in the 1950s.
İstanbul Mosaic Museum
İstanbul Mosaic Museum was built on the northern section of the peristyle courtyard of the Great Palace of the Byzantine Empire, where mosaics used to decorate the pavement had been discovered partially in good condition. The Great Palace mosaics, reflecting a matchless master ship, are dated by specialists to 450-550 AD.
Topkapı Palace Museum
One of the most astounding and popular places to visit in İstanbul is Topkapı Palace, the symbolic and political centre of the Ottoman Empire in between the 15th and 19th centuries.
Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
The Museum of Turkish and İslamic Arts contains Turkish and İslamic Arts all together and is known as the last museum to open in the Ottoman Period. The Museum was opened to public as “The Museum of Muslim Endowments” (Evkaf-ı İslâmiye Müzesi) in imaret building within the complex of Süleymaniye Mosque, one of the masterworks of Mimar Sinan, the Chief Architect.
İstanbul Modern Art Museum
The museum offers a wide array of services in a multifaceted İstanbul, including permanent and temporary exhibition galleries, photography gallery, library, cinema center, cafe and a design store. In addition, the Museum also offers video educational and social programmes.
This picturesque park in Beşiktaş is one of the largest urban parks in İstanbul. Yıldız Park was once part of the Yıldız Palace complex and enjoys spectacular views of the Bosphorus.
This historic park is situated right beside the Bosphorus in the pretty suburb of Emirgan. The Park is especially well known for its vibrant collection of tulips, which appear on mass every April.
Photographers congregate at Maçka Park to admire the diverse flora and fauna and beautiful views. The Park has children’s playgrounds, cafes and restaurants, an artificial island and artificial pools.
This extensive woodland area, located about 20km from İstanbul, makes for a pleasant city escape. It has around 5,500 hectares of forest and many bird and animal species.
Its design that almost looks like a cruise deck.
Anjelique an address for fun, chill-out and full enjoyment
The most magnificent nights only at Masquerade Club.
The legendary Billionaire Club has chosen the enchanting metropolis of Istanbul to open...
In Sortie, you will find several excellent restaurants. After dinner, you move to the dance floor and enjoy the lounge music that echoes over the Bosphorus.
Nomads Istanbul is ideally located in Ortaköy, right next to supperclub and across the...
A mix of food, music, performances, art their staff and you.
Resto-Lounge style club with influences from New York
Suada is befitting of glamorous Istanbul. Set in the middle of the Bosporus with a 360 degree panoramic view of Istanbul. Suada is essentially a floating club in the Bosporus with a floating Olympic size pool.
Since 2005 Blackk sets a new level in Istanbul nightlife by offering a high quality night club atmosphere.
Biber Bar is a favorite after-work meet point of Istanbul’s elegant crowd is open at 17.00 everyday.
Babylon is the premier live music venue in Turkey
11:11 offers the best music and entertainment in Istanbul
Eclectic D.J.’s in a churchlike space decorated with frescoes
Enjoy the sunset and the amazing Golden Horn view at NuPera Istanbul
Roxy in Istanbul has been a popular nightspot since 1994
One of the top nightspots in Istanbul is renewed, a true lounge overlooking the bustling and beautiful Akaretler.
If you think Jolly Joker is just another bar in the popular Beyoğlu district of...
Scotch is one of the oldest nightclubs and best place to party in Istanbul.
MiniMuzikhol offers a new alternative to the traditional venues in Istanbul
A 131 years-old historical church has been renovated into an astonishing new venue