Istanbul (formerly known as Constantinople, 330-395 AD, then as Byzantium AD 395-1453) is the largest Turkish city, reminiscent of the exotic East and the Western taste. It stands on the Bosphorus Strait, between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, which separates Europe from Asia. On the western shore, then, the European side of Istanbul is further divided in two by the Golden Horn (Haliç), which forms an inlet port natural.
The best way to explore the city is turn it on foot every street will show you the various historical periods that have occurred and the best examples of Byzantine art and architecture. Admire Byzantine cisterns and churches, mosques and Ottoman hammams, you can soak in the atmosphere of ‘menageries’ wandering imperial palaces and pavilions, or browse the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar, the original commercial heart of the city. Very popular are the motives of decorative art of the nineteenth century. Walk around the city it still requires a physical effort dicreto: Istanbul is situated on the hills, and its center has at times challenging climbs and descents. Furthermore, the extension of the city is remarkable, and if you want to focus to the area around the Golden Horn, but visiting other districts will need to become familiar with public transportation.
To move within the city can use public transportation, well-organized and fairly inexpensive. To avoid every time you buy a ticket (on the bus can still be done on board) is to be recommended Akbil, a rechargeable electronic key, which is inserted into the circular space before boarding the bus, or to overcome entry barrier stops the tram, metro or ferry stations. The Akbil has a cost of security which will be returned at the end of the stay, when you return the key. One important note: to Istanbul will comply with the code, so it is a good idea when to expect the autubus wait in line.
At different historical and architectural components correspond to the different cultural influences in this country and in this city: in fact you can run into the same area meyhane (pubs) Turkish traditional, modern premises of gender and Western clientele, çai bahçesi (tea garden) with customers Anatolian origins, intentions to smoke shisha (traditional water pipe), or bar patrons with Muslims.
A full day will require visits to the Topkapi Palace and the Archaeological Museums of Istanbul , a huge collection of classical antiquities, the oldest in the world, covering 5000 years of history. They are found in the so-called “Menagerie”, the promontory where they meet the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus. The magnificent Topkapi Palace, built between 1,459 and 1,465, was for 400 years the residence of the sultans and harem of women: is open to the public as a museum, with apartments, collections of treasures and jewels, its courtyards, the ‘harem … It was conceived as a series of pavilions located in four large courtyards, stone version of the encampments of tents typical of nomadic Turks. The Harem visit requires an additional ticket, but the rich interiors of the rooms are worth the extra cost to be paid. If you visit the Topkapi must put in the account to spend some time in a row, so try to be early risers, and introduce you to the ticket before the arrival of groups of Tour Operators. Very beautiful exhibitions of jewelry with the famous dagger Topkapai and diamond Kaşıkçı Elması, or the manufacturer of spoons. The treasure also includes many of the Sultans of crazy religious importance, as some relics of Mohammed and his wife Fatima, the rod of Moses and some relics of St. John the Baptist, presented here as belonging to the prophet John.
A must see is the area surrounded by gardens known as the Sultanahmet district of old Istanbul Byzantine Unesco World Heritage Site. Here, in the Byzantine era, there was the Grand Palace, a complex of buildings including the royal apartments, halls, churches, gardens. Here are two of the most magnificent monuments of Istanbul : the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya (Haghia Sophia or Sancta Sophia), a majestic church of nearly 1,500 years.
You can not leave from Istanbul without provarto kebab (one of the best specialist in town is the local Develi) and hammams or Turkish baths. For Istanbul are distinguished above all the Çemberlitaş Hamam, the Cağoğlu Hamami and Gedikpasa Hamami, the Cukurcuma Hamami is the city’s most famous guy hammam. A final curiosity: among the many celebrities who lived in Istanbul, remember Lord Byron (1810-11), the architect Le Corbusier (1911), Ernest Hemingway (1922), who stayed at the Hotel de Londres and Agatha Christie, who stopped at the Hotel Pera Palas, room 41.
Originally posted 2012-07-26 16:24:58.