Istanbul has always been a city of wonder. The fact that is situated between two continents, makes it unique and filled with architectural and cultural influences from both Europe and Asia. And that is not all. The city is also heavily shaped by its Arab neighbors, and as well by its exotic flavors.
Many people have the wrong impression that Istanbul is the capital of Turkey, which is not true anymore. The modern-day capital is Ankara, an equally exciting city, where cultures melt into something breathtaking. Istanbul used to be the capital of the old empires that have started in this part of the world, including the Ottoman Empire.
It was formerly known as Constantinople, and it was built as a mirror city on seven hills, to match Rome, as it once used to be part of the great Roman Empire. The city has now grown to be one of the jewels of the two continents, as it has more than 13 million people, making it the largest city in the area. And almost all of its population is Muslim.
One of the most fabulous pieces of trivia when it comes to the literary side of the history of Istanbul is the fact that the beloved author Agatha Christie wrote her renowned novel “Murder on the Orient Express” in a very luxurious hotel in the area. Other great authors that have been inspired by the dual city are Ernest Hemingway and Orhan Pamuk, who was born and raised in one of its neighborhoods.
The Bosphorus strait, the historic landmark that separates Europe from Asia, can be found near Istanbul, and the city is connected to the Old World by two bridges, while a third one is planned to be finished soon. There is also a tunnel under the strait, which connects the continents’ railways systems, which has made traveling so much faster than before, allowing for even more cultural exchanges between the world’s civilizations.
One of the most ancient covered bazaars in the world can be found in this extraordinary city. The market spawns over 3000 shops, all filled with wonders and tiny prices. Other destinations adored by travelers are the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Black Sea shores, and many other small streets and museums, where you can spend hours marveling at the rich history the city has to offer.
So now that you’ve enriched your mind with some of the facts that make this exotic destination so fascinating to all of us, young and old alike, you should buy a guide and pack your bags. The city is quirky and full of flavors, and at the same time, it is safe, and the people are welcoming and generous. All of these things make Istanbul a place where you can make unforgettable memories that will enrich your soul.