Long the meeting pot of east and west, Istanbul is a city straddling the continents of Europe and Asia and acts as such. Towering minarets raised during the Ottoman era sit amongst Roman, Greek, Persian and Venetian structures, all of which have been preserved alongside the modern Turkish second city’s contemporary high rises and skyscrapers. For the traveller, this delightful mix of ancient and modern makes for an amazing trip, but with so much to do and see in Istanbul, which destinations truly stand out? Here are some of the best things Istanbul has to offer to travellers.
Istanbul has a huge number of ancient, near-mythic structures, all representing the city’s various epochs of civilisation. The Basilica Cistern, constructed in the Sixth century during the height of the Byzantine Empire (successor to the ancient Roman empire) runs beneath the city, and is a surprisingly romantic place for what was originally a system of tunnels that moved water from modern-day Bulgaria to the city. Now fitted with lights and music, juxtaposed with flitting fish that play around the 336 columns that support the structure’s ceiling, the Cistern must be seen to be believed.
The Hagia Sofia is another relic of the city’s past, and one of the world’s most recognisable structures. Construction began in 537, the basilica serving the Greek Orthodox Church, and later it was used as an imperial mosque during the Ottoman era, but today the structure is a museum to its varied past. The building is a magnificent sight, surrounded by dreamy spires and topped by the original Byzantine dome.
If you’re looking for excitement, Istanbul has all manner of electrifying amenities that one can peruse. The Cratos Premium Casino, featuring hundreds of tables and slots, is a beauty, oozing elegance and charm. Want to make a little spending money during your trip? Make sure you head to Ruby Fortune on your flight over; the site has all manner of casino games that you can play to boost your skills ahead of the main event!
Istanbul has it’s fair share of souky shopping opportunities, and the Sultanahmet District is by far the best place to indulge in a little shopping. Winding streets, stores and a grand bazaar await visitors, and the area holds a huge number of delicious Turkish food establishments where one can sample all manner of tasty delights! For more expensive tastes, the Milka restaurant, located in the centre of the city, is internationally renowned; try their shoulder of lamb cooked for 24 hours with pomegranate molasses- truly delicious!