Istanbul is the heart of Turkey, the most important cultural, industrial and commercial center of the country. This is the only city on the planet located simultaneously on 2 continents – in Europe and Asia. Washed by the waters of the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara, Istanbul is a major port. The Bosphorus connects the Black and Mediterranean Seas, a large number of ships pass through it, so there is always heavy traffic in the harbor.
The picturesque Golden Horn Bay divides the European half of Istanbul into 2 parts: Eminenyu (Old City) and Beyoglu (New City).
On the peninsula in the southern part of the bay lies the Old Town. Ancient architecture was preserved there, creating the illusion of presence in past centuries.
The new city was built north of the entrance to the bay. It includes the harbor area of Karakoy, as well as the cultural and business center of Beyoglu.
The Asian part is called Uskudar. It stretched along the coast of the Sea of Marmara, on which there are villas and expensive condominiums. In the depths of the area there are military barracks.
Numerous ferries and bridges provide transport links between all parts of the city.
Istanbul occupies an impressive area exceeding 2,000 km2. This is a series of neat courtyards, old cobbled streets, majestic mosques that cut through the minarets of the sky, business districts, glass skyscrapers and coffee houses, where people come not only to enjoy a fragrant drink, but also to share the latest news with friends and neighbors.
A temperate climate guarantees hot summers and rainy, snowy winters. A short spring quickly turns into a sultry summer. In July and August, the air warms up to 30C and more. In the fall, the thermometer shows 10-12C. In the winter months, wet snow periodically lays on the streets and it often rains. The average temperature is 7-8C heat.
The history of the city began in 660 BC, when the settlement of Byzantium, which was part of the Greek colony, was founded. Despite its favorable geographical position, the city did not matter much. A cardinal change in the situation occurred around 332, when Byzantium turned into Constantinople and became the capital of the powerful Roman Empire.
After its collapse, the city retained the status of the capital, but already belonged to the state of Byzantium, which existed until 1453, before its capture by the Turks. This event marked the decline of Christianity in the east. Constantinople became the center of the Muslim state – the Ottoman Empire.
In 1923, due to political changes, Ankara became the capital, and in 1930, Constantinople changed its name to Istanbul.
The presence of different religions, cultures, empires, historical vicissitudes formed the unique image of the city.
What to see
One of the main attractions is the Topkapi Palace, built by Sultan Mehmed in 1479. Until the mid-19th century, it served as the residence of the padishahs of the Ottoman Empire. Vesta with a ruler in the palace lived thousands of wives, concubines and servants. Today it is the largest museum in Turkey.
A visit to Istanbul will be incomplete without a visit to the real eastern Bazaar. Here you can buy anything from spices and silk scarves to handmade carpets and gold jewelry.
Hagia Sophia is one of the main religious buildings of Christianity and the best example of Byzantine architecture. This architectural miracle managed to survive in bloody wars, fires and feuds. In the 15th century, the Orthodox church was converted into a mosque. It is currently a museum.
The Savior of the Choir is another Orthodox shrine that should not be neglected. It is decorated with numerous mosaics made back in the 14th century.
Dolmabahce Palace remained almost intact. Pompous, majestic, drowning in luxury, he was conceived as an answer to the European monarchs and governments in order to show the greatness and wealth of the Turkish state.
The Archaeological Museum tells the story of several empires, as well as the people who lived in them. Many artifacts are perfectly preserved. The collection began to be collected in the mid-19th century.
In the very center of Istanbul is the Rumelihisar fortress. Its powerful walls and tall towers offer breathtaking views of the Bosphorus.
Suleymaniye Mosque is considered the most beautiful in the country. It was built by the architect Sinan, who paid due attention not only to the beautiful interior decoration, but also to the exterior of the building. They are better off admiring the bay.
The mosque of Sultan Ahmet I is called “blue” because of the delicate shade of 200,000 tiles adorning it inside.