With a history of over 2500 years, this fascinating city originally known as the Byzantium, Constantinople and then as Istanbul (1930), hold its historical importance, cultural and architectural heritage thanks to its strategic location near the Bosphorus Strait that separates Europe from Asia.
Although it is no longer the capital of Turkey, Istanbul has an extremely important role in country’s economic and cultural life, reinforced by winning the titleof “European City of 2010”. Many areas of the city have been inscribed on the World Heritage List UNESCO (Ottoman mosques, Byzantine churches, Greek temples and catacombs).
What to expect in Istanbul
√ Language: Turkish
√ Currency: YTL (New Turkish Lira, 6 figures lower than the previous)
You can also use the Euro and USD.
√ Clime: Transitional climate between a temperate Mediterranean climate and a temperate oceanic hot, dry summers and moderately cold, dry winters.
Turkish cuisine combines culinary traditions from ancient nomadic people from Central Asia with Mediterranean influences.
A Turkish meal always starts with small appetizers, salads, eggplant, cheese and Borek (pies with meat, cheese or potatoes), dolmasi (stuffed with vegetables, rice and minced meat, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers). Lamb is used in various dishes – for example, kebab.
√ Köfte – a preparation of minced lamb and spices. You may find this type of food in several ways: alanazik, kavurma or Tandir.
√ Shish kebab – meat on a stick pieces cooked at the grill.
√ Pide – Turkish equivalent for pizza, cheese and eggs.
√ Dolma – a variant of wire with pine nuts and currants in vine leaves or vegetables.
√ Lokum (Turkish traditional dessert – with gummy “shit”, honey, rose and jasmine).
√ TAKSIM is the most famous and modern market of Istanbul.
√ Museums and churches. Sf. Sofia (Aya Sofya) is a basilica with Byzantine architecture , rebuilt after two devastating fires, a remarkable mix of Christian and Islamic.
√ Blue Mosque (Süleymaniye / Sultanahmet) is the emblem of the city and the second largest mosque in the world (has 6 minarets). It is so magnificent as its creator was, Suleiman the Manificent.
Its name is given by the 20,000 blue tiles used in its construction.
√ Turkish baths – very relaxing.
√ You must not miss the cruise on the Bosphorus.
√ Galata Tower, perhaps the most visible travel target from european part of Istanbul – can be visited every day from 9:00 to 18:00. There is and a restaurant at the top of the tower.
√ Grand Bazaar (Kapalua Cars) Inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List, the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul which is the largest and renowned market in the city.
Where to stay
1. Grand Washington (www.grandwashington.com ) – The hotel is located in the old town, 10 minute walk from Hagia Sophia Museum, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Garand Bazaar and 15 km from Istanbul Ataturk Airport.
2. Hotel Martinenz (www.otelmartinenz.com ) – Situated in Laleli, Martinenz Hotel benefits excellent transport links, which you allows easy access to all parts of the city.