Both Rome and Istanbul are nearly two and a half millennia old, yet Istanbul was bigger, more influential, and richer for the bulk of that period.
Istanbul has served as the capital city of four empires: the Roman Empire (330-395), the Byzantine Empire (395-1204), the Latin Empire (1204-1261), the Byzantine Empire (1261-1453), and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922). Istanbul has a rich history, and remnants of each of these dynasties may still be seen.
Istanbul offers it all: over 2500 years of history, culture, and customs, incredible monuments, a thriving nightlife, and breath-taking vistas. This intercontinental city is a fast-paced cultural melting pot that you should not miss. Here are the top five reasons why you should go to Istanbul right now.
This one-of-a-kind city, renowned for its beautiful environment and appealing ambiance, is also a symbol of vibrant and contemporary city life. Istanbul has a cosmopolitan texture and a vibrant environment that combines the past and the future into a single pot, providing a feeling of global history at every step.
1. Landmarks in Istanbul
Despite the city’s antiquity, many relics of Istanbul’s rich past have fortunately survived. The city’ cultural legacy is remarkable. Who hasn’t heard of Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Dolmabahçe Palace, the Grand Bazaar, and the Spice Bazaar? Then there are the lesser-known, but no less magnificent, attractions like the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Basilica Cistern, the Galata Tower, and many Byzantine churches.
2. The Incredible Bosphorus
The city offers a plethora of beautiful views. One of our favorites is the silhouette of the city viewed from a boat on the Bosphorus at sunset. The view from the bridges comes in second, but you’ll have to take a trip to see it. Visit the Galata Tower or one of Istanbul’s numerous rooftop bars for a 360-degree panoramic view of the city.
3. Istanbul’s Nightlife
Many of Istanbul’s best nightlife establishments are situated by the Bosphorus or on a rooftop with a view of the beautiful skyline, owing to the city’s unique geographical position. The nightlife is lively, with plenty of options to suit everyone’s preferences. If partying all night isn’t your thing and you’d rather relax on a café patio, there are plenty of alternatives for you as well.
4. Istanbul’s Turkish Cuisine
The century-old mingling of cultures had a significant effect on the culinary scene as well. In Istanbul, you may sample a variety of foods, ranging from genuine Ottoman cuisine to traditional Turkish cuisine with its exquisite mezes and meat or fish dishes, to contemporary Western cuisine. If you still have room in your stomach, try one of the numerous Turkish sweets. Did you mention you wanted some drinks? Sure, you may order raki, the national anise drink, a fine Turkish wine, or a variety of fresh juices.
5. Shopping in Istanbul
In Istanbul, there are a plethora of shopping opportunities. You may go luxury and mainstream by visiting one of the city’s numerous contemporary retail malls. Alternatively, you may look for genuine, handcrafted goods by local designers and craftspeople in less touristy areas of town.
If you like haggling, the Grand Bazaar is unquestionably the best place on Earth to do it. Don’t forget to stock up on exotic spices, olives, and the wide variety of nuts available.