A travel guide to an intriguing city
The old city of Istanbul - straddling across the continents of Asia and Europe
Istanbul is the only city in the world that spreads over two continents, Asia and Europe. A narrow strip of sea, the Bosphorus Strait, splits the city right across its centre. It has historical sites dating back to the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods displaying its glorious past.
Travel to Istanbul and discover history unfold and experience the extraordinary culture of this union of the East and the West. Check out the following places to know more about this fascinating city.
Explore the architectural wonder
A spectacular historical marvel displaying 30 million golden tiles on its interior, it is amazing how this 6th century structure has survived through time.
The greatest Christian cathedral of the middle ages, the Hagia Sophia was later converted into an imperial mosque in 1453 by the Ottomans and finally opened as a museum in 1935. Chosen as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1985 the domed monument, adorned with captivating mosaics, is worth a watch.
Exquisite lanterns in the bazaar
A shopper's paradise, this colorful and chaotic bazaar with 61 streets and 5,000 shops truly recaptures the lost charm of old Istanbul. Be prepared to bargain for some of the region's exquisite jewelry, hand-painted ceramics, spices, embroideries and antiques!
A breathtaking glimpse into the nation's history
The court of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries, Topkapi palace was once home to mighty sultans, their concubines and ambitious courtiers.
The subject of colorful stories, it boasts of magnificent pavilions and a sprawling harem that give an interesting insight into the lives of its erstwhile occupants. The Palace offers a vantage point view of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorous Strait, and the Sea of Marmara.
A view of the region's diverse aquatic life
Submerge yourself in sea life in this dazzling thematic aquarium, one of the largest in Europe. Witness effects such as wind, fog and water come alive in its 5D movie houses.
A great place for kids and families, the aquarium houses 15,000 land and sea creatures of over 1,500 species. You can also enjoy wonderful Turkish cuisine at the restaurant facing the Panama Canal on one side and the sea on the other side.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque
The Blue Mosque, Istanbul
The Sultan Ahmed Mosques is popularly known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles surrounding its interior walls.
260 bulbs flood the interior of the mosque with bright lights. Adorned with a cascade of domes and six slender minarets, the mosque is a classic example of Turkish architecture.
Take a stroll in a forest of marble columns
Built in the 6th century, this fascinating monument is an ancient cistern that lies beneath the city of Istanbul. Before being converted to a cistern to provide water to palaces, a great Basilica stood in its place, hence the name.
If you have watched the James Bond flick, From Russia with Love, you will find yourself at the very location that Bond and Kerim Bey use as an escape route.
A majestic mosaic adorns one of the many domes of the Chora Church, Istanbul
This beautiful Byzantine church, laden with iconic mosaics, and frescoes from the 14th century, is home to some of the most artistic displays of that time.
After it was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman era, the church was finally converted into a museum in 1948.
Before You Travel
Istanbul is among the world's top tourist destinations. However, you may face scamming taxi drivers, purse-snatchers or even find it difficult to avail some necessary medication.
These might be a cause of concern for your safety and health. To insure yourself from such difficulties while you are travelling abroad, it is advisable to opt for a travel insurance plan. Know more.