While visiting Instanbul – the city of two continents. The aroma of coffee and spices, singing muezzins at dawn is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word Istanbul.
Istanbul is a huge and cosmopolitan city with 20 million people living in it. Istanbul is the only city that is located on two continents at once – one part in Europe and the other in Asia.
NOTE! Useful information
There are three airports in Istanbul, you are most likely to fly to the new Istanbul International Airport. Here you can see onlan board www.istairport.com. When we flew to Istanbul, getting to the city by public transport was problematic and long, By bus with a transfer on the subway, so we took a taxi. At the airport itself there are several racks where you will be offered a car, and you can also catch a car at the exit from the airport, it will even be a little cheaper. We were taken to the old center to our hotel for 15 euros. However, now a subway and light tram rail are being built there.
If you live in the old center, then you don’t have to travel by transport, all the sights of the old city are not far from each other.
Eating in Istanbul is delicious and satisfying for any budget. If you want to eat inexpensive local cuisine feel free to go to any fast-food cafe, the food there is fresh and quite tasty. If you don’t eat a lot like me, just keep it at 5 euros. A bite to eat on the go is even cheaper – a big tasty tortilla with cheese will cost 40 cents, and a glass of freshly squeezed pomegranate juice is even less.
If you want to eat fresh seafood go to the fish market. Here you can choose any seafood that you will be cooked at an adjacent cafe for an additional fee. You can eat right there or pack it and carry it out.
You can buy tickets to Topkapi right at the entrance. The cost of tickets starts at 10 euros and can be more if you take an additional ticket to enter the harem. Attention! Buying tickets at the self-service terminal is much more profitable, so tickets will be cheaper.
Entrance to Aya Sofia Mosque is 8 euro, but the entrance to the Blue Mosque is completely free.
If you plan to visit many museums and attractions, buy a museum card of Istanbul for 32 euros. It gives free entry to some museums and attractions, including Topkapi. You can buy it in museums, on special buses and online muze.gov.tr
If you want to ride along the Bosphorus and not spend a large amount of money, take a mini-cruise on the water bus. The pier is located near the Galata bridge from the side of the Suleymaniye Mosque. Price from 1.5 euros.
The Internet is available in almost all cafe in Istanbul completely free.
The most interesting part for me as a traveler was the European part. Visiting Instanbul. There is an old city here, you will see the walls of an ancient city, the Sultan’s Topkapi Palace, its park offers beautiful views, the famous Aya Sofia Mosque and the Blue Mosque, Catholic and Orthodox Christian Churches and much more.
Did you know that Aya Sofia Mosque used to be a Christian temple before? When you get there, you can feel the interaction of different cultures and religions. It is really interesting.
Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque are on opposite sides of the same square. It really is an incredible experience to walk out of the gates of the Blue Mosque and have a view of Aya Sofia before your eyes.
Next to the Blue Mosque, there is an old market and you can buy various local souvenirs for your memory. Visiting Istanbul.
But if you want to travel through time and distance to the Egyptian market. This is a real oriental market, where the smell of spices is mixed with the smell of coffee, and here you will be treated to delicious sweets. You can only eat here while you choose sweets or cheese. While visiting Instanbul you can easily imagine that you are in Egypt or Morocco and smells and tastes will take you to the depths of the ages in a fairy tale of thousands and one night.
Be sure to take a boat ride around the Bosphorus, it’s an inexpensive but fascinating journey.
Stuff you must have in Istanbul
Pocket Interpreter to Turkish to be confident in markets, shops and taxi.
What do you have to try in Istanbul? Turkish coffee, sweets, cheeses, and scones with different fillings and fish in bread – local fast food.
If you, like me, can’t live without fish and seafood, go to the fish market. Here you will find many trays with fresh seafood.
Would you like to cook for yourself? There’s an open-air café right next door where you can cook for a little money. You can eat at tables right away or take them with you.
If you are an avid traveler, here is a list of the best places near Istanbul where you can stay at the campsite.
And here you can buy the best instant tent for your trip.
History of Istanbul
The first inhabitants of Istanbul date back to the second millennium BC and settled on the Asian side of the city. His name comes from King Megara Byzas, who brought his colonists here in the 7th century BC to found a colony called Byzantium, the Greek name for the city on the Bosphorus. Byzas chose this place after consulting with the Oracle Delphi, who told him to sit opposite the “land of the blind”. Indeed, Byzas believed that the earlier settlers must have been “blind” in order not to see this magnificent place at the entrance to the Bosporus strait, only an exit to the Black Sea.
In the 6th century B.C. the city was ruled by the Persians, after which Alexander the Great accepted it after the 4th century B.C., which was a peace period until the 2nd century B.C..
In 193, the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus conquered the city, and he remained under Roman rule until the 4th century AD, when Emperor Constantine the Great made Byzantium the capital of the entire Roman Empire and gave him his name: Constantinople, and the Eastern Roman Empire was called the Byzantine Empire. The Empire after the 5th century. The city was built on seven hills like Rome.
The early Byzantine Emperors filled their city with the treasures of the ancient world, especially between the 4th and 6th centuries with a population exceeding half a million. In 532, during the reign of Justinian I, revolts destroyed the city. But it was rebuilt, and outstanding structures such as the Cathedral of St. Sophia stand as monuments of the Golden Age of the Byzantines.
The last history of Istanbul is full of intrigues and sieges, it was besieged by the Arabs in the 7th and 8th centuries and barbarians in the 9th and 10th centuries, but was governed by the Fourth Crusade between 1204-1261, which destroyed and plundered all the wealth. After that Constantinople has not found former riches and force.
The Ottoman Turks led by Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople in 1453. Renamed Islambal, the city became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, the sultans built many mosques and public buildings, again exceeding the population by about half a million by the mid-1500s. Istanbul was a major cultural, political and commercial center. The name “Istanbul” derived from the combination of “Islamball” (“City of Islam” in Turkish) and “eis tin Polin” (“City” in Greek) over the centuries.
Ottoman rule continued until World War I, when Istanbul was occupied by allied forces. After many years of Ataturk’s struggle against the occupation forces, the Republic of Turkey was born in 1923 and the capital was moved to the province of Ankara. But Istanbul continued to expand dramatically; today it has a population of over 13 million and is still growing steadily. It continues to be Turkey’s commercial and cultural centre.