Istanbul (Turkey) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main attractions of Istanbul with a description, guidebooks and cards.
Istanbul City (Turkey)
Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) is the largest city of Turkey and its main port. Located in the northwest of the country on the shores Bosphorus, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. Istanbul – the only city in the world, which is located in two parts of the world – Europe and Asia. This is an ancient metropolis, which throughout its history was the capital of three great empires: Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman. All this has turned Istanbul into one of the most exciting cities of the world with unique cultural and historical heritage.
Istanbul geographically and culturally connects Europe and Asia. Because of this, it has a special flavor and atmosphere. For With its rich history, the city was the heart of mighty empires, its called “New Rome” and considered the center of the civilized world. Sights of Istanbul can delight anyone: the famous Hagia Sophia, the elegant Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar. A trip here will give amazing impressions and many interesting discoveries.
Currently Istanbul is the largest cultural and financial center of Turkey. Bosphorus divides it into European and Asian parts, which are connected by tunnels and bridges. This is a huge modern metropolis, which is the largest city in Europe. It is home to almost a fifth population of Turkey. Istanbul is also among the five most visited cities of the world.
View of Istanbul
- Geography and climate
- Best time to visit
- Practical information
- How to get there
- Shopping and shopping
- Food and drink
- Maps and guides
- Comments and reviews
Geography and climate
Istanbul is located on the hills of northwestern Turkey on both the shores of the Bosphorus. South of the city is located on the coast of Marmara seas. The European part of Istanbul is big Asian and is divided into two parts of the narrow bay of the Golden Horn.
The climate is subtropical. Summer is warm with average temperature 20-28 degrees. Strong heat does not happen often. Winter is cool with rare negative temperatures and unstable snow cover. In winter, weather can significantly affect cold fronts. Despite the prevalence of positive temperatures high humidity and wind make the weather not so cold enjoyable. For the year falls 800-900 mm of rain. A large number of precipitation falls from October to March.
Best time to visit
The best time to come to Istanbul is April-June and September. At this time there is usually very comfortable weather and little rains. In July – August can be quite stuffy.
Bridge over Bosphorus, Istanbul
- The population is about 15 million people.
- Area – 5343 square kilometers.
- The language is Turkish.
- The currency is lira.
- Visa – for up to 60 days it is enough to have a passport whose actions are more than four months from the date of entry into Turkey
- Time – UTC +3.
- Istanbul is a huge city with many tourists. It attracts numerous scammers. Be careful in busy places without go to the slums between Suleymaniyah and Ataturk avenues, not trust strangers. In restaurants and bars carefully study the menu, specify the exact cost of food and drinks before by order. Do not go to places that are not at all tourists.
Areas of Istanbul:
- Sultanahmet – the old city between the Golden Horn Bay, the Bosphorus and Sea of Marmara, where the most famous historical sights of istanbul.
- Galata was once a suburb of Constantinople, later the main shopping area. Now it’s a lively place with lots of cafes, restaurants, night clubs, hotels.
- New city – the main business district of the city with a large number of modern shopping centers.
- Bosphorus – European coast of the same name strait dotted numerous palaces, parks, mansions on the water and rich quarters.
- The Golden Horn is a neighborhood of the bay of the same name that divides European part of Istanbul.
- Princes’ Islands – an archipelago of nine picturesque islands in Sea of Marmara.
- The Asian part is the eastern part of Istanbul with beautiful Quarters on the coast of the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara.
The first settlements on the territory of modern Istanbul belong to Neolithic. Reliable references to the city date back to the 7th century BC when settled on the Asian side of the Bosphorus Greek merchants. In 667 BC The city of Byzantium was founded. The founder is considered a Byzant from Megara. Thanks to favorable strategic position Byzantium grew rapidly and flourished. In the 1st century BC the city fell under the authority of the Roman Empire. Some peaceful centuries gave way to decay under the emperor Septimii Severus. AT The 3rd century Byzantium was constantly attacked by barbarians. From roman buildings only the ruins of the hippodrome remained.
The turning point in the history of the city is 324 years. In that period the emperor Constantine brings here the capital of the Roman Empire and calls the city New Rome. The name did not stick and very quickly it became known as Constantinople. Konstantin actually rebuilt city again, increasing its area several times. In the 5th century after the fall of the Roman Empire Constantinople becomes the capital Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium. For nearly a thousand For years, the city has been one of the main centers of science and culture on European continent. The capital of Byzantium Constantinople remained until the 15th century.
In the period of Byzantium, Constantinople was one of the largest cities of Europe, the richest and most prosperous ancient megalopolis. Constantine praised the advantageous position of Byzantium, located between Europe and Asia, as well as on the sea route from Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Not the last role in his decision played restless situation in Rome: feuds, conspiracies of nobility. Further Constantine strongly encouraged resettlement to the new capital of residents from other roman provinces. Also in Constantinople were brought works of art from all over the Roman Empire.
In the 5th century, the Western Roman Empire ceased to exist. AT Constantinople were transferred to the imperial regalia and he became the only “heir” to the glory of Rome. In the 6th century came to power Emperor Justinian, at which Byzantium and Constantinople reached highest bloom. Although in 532 the city experienced a major a rebellion that ended in a bloody victory for Justinian and his supporters. In 626, Constantinople was besieged by the Avars. AT Further, the history of the capital of Byzantium was filled with uprisings and conspiracies. Dynasties succeeded each other and were accompanied by cruel collisions. In 1204, Constantinople was taken and plundered crusaders. In fact, after this, the Byzantine Empire broke up into several states, and its capital for a long time came to decay. In 1453 Constantinople was captured by the Ottomans, who made it the capital of their empire. Byzantium ceased exist.
Constantinople remained the capital of the Ottoman Empire until 1922 of the year. The Ottomans significantly rebuilt the city. Christian churches were turned into mosques. In the 16th century for Constantinople comes new “golden age”. In this period magnificent are built. buildings and constructions. In 1845, the first the bridge, and in five years the ships went down the strait.
After the defeat of Turkey in the First World War Constantinople was besieged by the troops of the Entente. The city was liberated in 1922 Mustafa Kemal. Under Atatürk, he lost the status of the capital, which moved to Ankara. In 1930 Constantinople was renamed Istanbul.
How to get there
Istanbul is one of the largest transport gateways in Europe so it’s easy to get here from almost any major cities Europe, Asia and most world capitals. Largest airport Istanbul and Turkey is Ataturk Airport, located 20 km west of town. From the airport to the center can be reached by metro and bus ride. Sabiha Gokchen Airport is 50 km away. many budget carriers arrive. The cheapest way get to the European part of Istanbul from this airport – sit down to bus line E10 or E11. Next – on the ferry in the area Kadikoy. Trains link Istanbul with Ankara and Edirne. Direct bus there are routes from the cities of Greece, Bulgaria, Romania.
Istanbul has a rather confusing system of public transport. Public transportation includes four metro lines, four tram lines, two funiculars, many bus lines and ferries. To travel you need to have a special card or buy special token at various ticket kiosks at stations. The cost of tickets for public transport is fixed and not depends on the duration of the trip.
Shopping and shopping
Istanbul can offer great shopping from the Oriental markets and small shops to shops of famous brands and modern shopping centers. The largest market is the Grand Bazaar, which 200-400 thousand people visit daily. Now he’s bigger is a tourist attraction with overpriced prices. Most large shopping centers are located in the New Town and western suburbs. For good clothes and shoes, it is better to go to the area Nişantaşı (European part of Istanbul) or on Bagrat Avenue (asian) The main currency is the lira, although they often take dollars and euros. Some stores may be closed in Sunday.
- Various Turkish sweets. Better to take by weight having tried before. Often the sweets in the boxes are not so delicious. In addition, the size of the content does not correspond at all packaging.
- Leather Products.
- Carpets and ceramic products.
- Tea and coffee.
Food and drink
- Döner (something similar to our shawarma) is a great option for fast and cheap street food. Many such establishments can be found in the Istiklal area.
- Balık-Ekmek – fish sandwich that can be bought on the coast in boats and small cafes. Especially a lot of them in the area Kadikoy.
- Hamsi – a handful of small fried fish with onions and bread.
- Patso – hot dog with fries.
- Roasted chestnuts and boiled corn.
- Simites – bagels with sesame.
- Baklava, halva and other Turkish sweets.
- Lahmajun – thin dough with spicy minced meat.
Istanbul in the morning
Finding a place to eat in Istanbul is not a problem. There is establishments for every taste and budget. Their concentration increases in popular tourist places. Popular traditional dishes: various kinds of kefte and kebabs, beyran (spicy soup), iskender (grilled meat), fish and vegetable soups.
Istanbul is definitely one of the most interesting cities in the world. is he has many attractions that are related to Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. This city is capable surprise with unique heritage and world famous monuments history and culture. Here the West meets the East, Muslim mosques coexist with Christian churches, and on the streets can be found real antique and medieval antiquities. Therefore, the historical areas of Istanbul between the bay The Golden Horn, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus are the object World Heritage.
The most famous sights of Istanbul are located in Historical District Sultanahmet: Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace. To the north across the Golden Horn Bay Galata district is topped with a tower of the same name. From Galatia begins one of the most popular streets of Istanbul – Istiklal, which overlooks Taksim Square. North of Taksim Square is a new city – the business and financial center of the city. Here there are skyscrapers, modern shopping and office centers, many neoclassical buildings and mansions in modern style. Through The Bosphorus in the east is the Asian part of Istanbul centered around the historic districts of Kadikoy and Üsküdar.
Hagia Sophia (Hagia Sophia) – one of the most famous and The iconic sights of Istanbul, the grandiose Christian Cathedral, in the period of the Ottoman Empire turned into a mosque. it a magnificent masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, which is now is a museum. Cathedral of sv. Sofia was built in 536 Emperor Justinian. For ten centuries this building was one of the largest and most magnificent in the world. After the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans the cathedral was turned into a mosque Hagia Sophia. In 1935, Atatürk declared it a museum.
Hagia Sophia has largely preserved the magnificent legacy of Byzantium. The interior of the cathedral is known for amazing golden mosaics, huge naves and domes. At the entrance is brilliant mosaic of Christ. The apse is decorated with mosaics of the Savior and the Virgin. Above the apse were depicted the archangels Michael and Gabriel (left only fragments). The Ottomans added mihrab to the interior (prayer a niche that indicates the direction of Mecca) and some Arab inscriptions. Beautiful mosaics are also located under the dome and on top galleries.
Interior Hagia Sophia
At the exit, pay attention to the magnificent bronze gate, which date back to the 2nd century BC. On the lunette of the doorway located a magnificent mosaic depicting the Virgin Mary and emperors Constantine and Justinian. The door on the left leads into Baptistery of the 6th century, which was turned into a sultan’s tomb. On the right is the hamam (bath) of the 16th century.
The Blue Mosque is another iconic landmark. Istanbul, a masterpiece of Muslim architecture. Was built between 1609 and 1616 by Sultan Ahmet I. After completion construction mosque created a sensation in the Muslim world not only its size and magnificent architecture, but also because it had six minarets (as well as the Great Mosque in Mecca). Blue mosque named for tens of thousands of blue tiles in the interior, which create an interesting spatial effect. This building is one of the most outstanding masterpieces of Ottoman architecture in Istanbul
Behind the mosque is the market of Araste, where you can buy good souvenirs. Also nearby you can visit the Museum of the Great Mosaic a palace in which you can look at a fragment of a mosaic pavement, found in the 50s of the 20th century.
Feodosia walls – a section of well-preserved ancients fortifications that mark the western boundary of the old city. Most of the walls date back to the 5th century. They were built at Emperor Theodosius instead of the more ancient fortifications built under Constantine. The length of the walls is about 7 km. stroll here will help to feel the real atmosphere Of Constantinople.
Topkapi Palace – a magnificent 15th century building built Mehmet the Conqueror almost on the shore of the Bosphorus. From here Ottoman rulers ruled their empire until the 19th century. it a huge palace complex with walls and towers, which is masterpiece of Ottoman art.
Interiors of the palace
Topkapi Palace is known for its luxurious interiors and interior courtyards with a rich complex painting. Its most popular places are: a harem, a second courtyard with extensive kitchens and a ward Imperial Council, the third courtyard with the Sultan’s private rooms, treasury and the sacred room in which the relics of the prophet are kept Mohammed.
The Basilica Cistern is one of the most amazing. attractions of Istanbul, widely known thanks to Dan Brown’s Inferno book (and its subsequent film adaptation). It is a huge underground hall, supported by 336 columns, which served as the storage of water. The basilica tank was started under Constantine and completed in the 6th century. with Justinian. Many columns have a decorative thread. AT the northwest corner of the famous columns of Medusa.
Hippodrome – one of the few ancient Roman structures, preserved on the territory of Istanbul in the form of ruins. Hippodrome was started at Septimia Severus and completed at Constantine. This place It was one of the centers of Byzantine life, a stage for magnificent games and exciting chariot races, the scene of fierce battles. Until our days from the Hippodrome preserved small sections of the walls on the southern to the side. In the south-west there are three ancient monuments: Egyptian obelisk, ancient greek column and stone obelisk.
The Grand Bazaar is a huge covered market that is the first in World Trade Center. The Grand Bazaar occupies a whole quarter and located on the site of the forum Theodosius. 11 gates lead to it. Inside The Grand Bazaar is a maze of streets with a huge amount of shops and people. Several hundred thousand people visit it every day. person.
Suleymaniye is the largest mosque in Istanbul (from existing) and one of the most famous religious buildings of the city. Located on high hill in the historical district of Sultanahmet. Mosque was built in the 16th century. Its structure is distinguished by a 53-meter dome and slender minarets. Suleymaniye is distinguished by its harmonious proportions and beautiful architecture. In the garden near the mosque is old Ottoman cemetery.
Spice Market is the second largest and most important Istanbul bazaar, where you can buy sweets, dried fruit, nuts and of course the same spices. Near the main entrance is a majestic 17th century mosque.
Dolmabahche – a magnificent palace of the 19th century in the style of Turkish Renaissance, which became the main residence of the Sultans instead Topkapi Palace. The building has luxurious interiors that combine Rococo, Baroque, Neoclassical and Ottoman styles. Many rooms of the palace are richly decorated with gold, furnished with chic furnished, and their ceilings are decorated with frescoes and gigantic crystal chandeliers.
Christ Church Savior in the Fields (Monastery of Chora)
The Church of Christ the Savior in the Fields is one of the best the preserved Byzantine churches of Istanbul, which was part of the monastery of Chora. The first church on this site was erected in 5 century. In the 9th century, the building was completely destroyed and rebuilt in 11-14 centuries. The church is known for amazing masterpieces. Byzantine art – bright 14th century mosaics and beautiful frescoes.
Small Hagia Sophia
Little Hagia Sophia – a small ancient Byzantine church, turned into a mosque. Before building the magnificent Aya-Sophia, Justinian ordered to build this miniature to check Constructive decisions. Originally the church was named after Saints Sergius and Bacchus, but the obvious architectural parallels led to the fact that the nickname has become the official name.
Mosque Rustem Pasha
Rustem Pasha Mosque – a magnificent 16th century mosque of granite and marble with a beautiful interior. Located near the market spice.
Edikule – an ancient fortress built in the 5th century in the period reign of Theodosius II. She was the southern part of the defensive walls of Constantinople. Here were the famous Golden goal.
Galata is a magnificent 14th century Genoese tower located in the eponymous district of istanbul and one of the most famous its sights.
Istiklal is one of the most famous avenues of Istanbul, which starts at the Galata tower and ends at the famous square Taksim. This is a busy pedestrian street with many shops, restaurants and cafes. There are many beautiful places in its vicinity. historical and religious buildings.
Üsküdar is a historic district in the Asian side of Istanbul with magnificent old mosques, winding lanes and old wooden houses. One of the most famous attractions District is the 30-meter-high Maiden’s Tower, located on a small island. Here in antiquity was located one of the most early Greek settlements on the Bosphorus – Chrysopolis.
Maps and guides
Map of Istanbul Tourist Map Metro Map