Imagine a city so great that it used to be the capital city to 2 of the biggest empires of all time. Imagine a city that is so holy that it was revered by all three major religions, even praised with its name by the prophet of Islam and often visited by Popes. Imagine a city that is so strategically important that it is a bridge between two continents. That city is none other than Istanbul – or by its old name, Constantinopolis.
One of the largest metropolitan areas still in existence, Istanbul reaches a population of almost 20 million people every summer; 14 million of it being permanent residents. It is arguably the most important city of Republic of Turkey. Having served as the capital to Ottoman Empire for 500 years, it was unconquered until the Ottomans took it over from Eastern Roman Empire, then dubbed as “impregnable fortress Constantinople”. Recent discoveries have proven that it was a residential area as far back as 8.000 BC. There are numerous reasons why it has been held in such a high regard throughout the history of mankind –there is one reason in particular that made it so vital: the Bosphorus.
The unique sitation of Istanbul divides the city in half; one part being in Asia and the other in Europe, therefore literally connecting two continents. The ‘narrow’ water channel in between is called the Bosphorus. As a waterway-hub for many countries looking to trade with the rest of the world, it is almost impossible to avoid going through it. However, as one would experience with our Bosphorus Cruise, its strategical importance is not the only reason that makes it such an attraction. The nature and stunning architecture passed down from the Romans and the Ottomans are best described as the ultimate dream of a sightseer. Mind you, there is nothing equal to the pleasure of sipping Turkish coffee accompanied by sunset and the unmatched view from Sarayburnu, right at the edge of the gardens of Topkapi Palace!
As also seen in our Istanbul Old City Walking Tour, the city has been a testament to understanding and co-existence between cultures. Right beside Hagia Sophia (which used to be a cathedral reimagined as a grand mosque) it is possible to walk along the Hippodrome of Constantinople, before arriving at the Ottoman imperial mosque; Sultanahmet. Even on a busy avenue, you may look up and see thousands of years old remains of a monument by the Romans, on the other side one of the Istanbul University created by the Ottomans in 1453 can be saluting you.
On the other hand, there is much more to Istanbul than historical and natural trips. As with many other major cities in the world, Istanbul is a place where the night life and entertainment is galore. The difference between those and Istanbul is not to be taken lightly; simply because there is no other place in our big blue home that you can dance at a night club right on the sea right between two continents. Moreover, Istanbul is a portal to the rest of our country, making it a hub for travel in Turkey with easy access to domestic and international transport.
As Imperial Travel, we have made it our mission to introduce you to the world of wonders such as Istanbul – via Travel Booking Turkey. In many of our Turkey tour packages, multiple daily tours in Istanbul are included as either in small group tours or private tours, so we can be a proper host on your journey where you will be satisfied both as a history buff and sightseer. For further information or travel tips about tours in Istanbul or in general, feel free to contact us and view our gallery.