Archive for the ‘Istanbul’ Category


Friday, August 14th, 2009

Istanbul is the cultural and financial city of Turkey as well as the largest and most popular in this country. The city with its different districts has a population of 12.6 million registered people. It is believed that there are over 6 million non-registered people. Istanbul is strategically situated in the west of Turkey on two continents with the western portion in England and the eastern portion in Asia, divided by the Bosphorus Strait.

Istanbul has a long history since it has been part of many empires. It began as a part of the ancient Greek colony of Byzantium. After this colony formed an alliance with the Roman Empire, emperor Constantine made it into the capital city of his Roman empire. The city then became known under the name of Constantinople and turned into a magnificent city. Under the leadership of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed in 1453 the city became a major cultural, political and commercial center. The city stayed capital city until Kemal Ataturk moved the capital of the Republic of Turkey, founded in 1923, to the city of Ankara.

Istanbul offers tourists many museums, parks, bazaars, old mosques and palaces, such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Sultanahmet Mosque. There are also many beautiful waterside palaces around the Bosphorus. Tourists can take a boat trip along the Bosphorus. It is always recommended to visit a special Turkish bath, known as a hamam. The city of Istanbul is crowded with restaurants, bars, galleries and clubs. The transport system of the city may be difficult to figure out as maps are rare and transferring is often necessary. Tourists can easily use the Turkish Smart Tickets, AKBIL, to get around the city.

Travelers to Istanbul need a valid passport and visa. Tourists from the USA or the European Union can buy their visa directly on the airport of Istanbul, before queuing for passport control. This visa can sometimes be bought with own currency and cash money is required, since there is almost no change available. It is valid for three months. The city of Istanbul can be reached by airport bus, metro and tram or taxi, by train or by ship.