Perhaps the most apt and famous description of the city of Istanbul is that it is the place where east meets west. The first thing unusual about this Turkish city is its location– divided by the Bosporus Strait, Istanbul consists of two sides that fall in Europe and Asia. Apart from that, there are many other specialties that make this city an enchanting destination for all travelers. Home to breathtaking sights and contemporary attractions, Istanbul also has a rich history spanning 2,500 years that makes it a captivating blend of the old and the new. But one thing is certain—few other places can offer you such a rich and unique cultural experience than this city in Turkey, another reason why Istanbul is among the most popular travel destinations for people all over the world.
While on a holiday in Istanbul, you will be spoilt for choice with the sheer diversity of things to do and sights to see. An annual calendar of the city filled with fascinating events and festivals adds to the host of other attractions; so if possible, book your holiday in Istanbul around one of these festivals for an even more enriching experience. The best time to visit the city is spring owing to its moderate weather, although you can go there at any time throughout the year. But if you are looking for budget deals or want to avoid the tourist crowd during your holiday in Istanbul, you can make a trip in the winter.
One hardly needs any convincing to plan a holiday in Istanbul; but if you are debating the idea, these top reasons to visit the city might be just what you needed to make a decision.
- Its rich history and culture
The historical significance of Istanbul comes from the fact that it has been the capital city of four different empires in the past. One of the most influential cities of the ancient times, Istanbul was under the Roman Empire from 330-395 CE, the Byzantine Empire from 395-1204 CE, the Latin Empire from 1204-1261 CE, again the Byzantine Empire from 1261-1453 CE, and finally, the Ottoman Empire from 1453-1922 CE. As a result of its various rulers, the city gained a cultural diversity perhaps unlike any other city, and this is evident even today in various physical remains and its amazing culture. From architectural marvels to artistic treasures, Istanbul is a melting pot of ancient history and culture that can be sensed to this day. With its unique blend of Asian and European cultures, Istanbul is an experience that can only be felt, not described. A holiday in Istanbul is sure to offer you such an enriching experience, that you might be making plans for your next visit to the city even before this one is over!
- Incredible landmarks
The city of Istanbul has retained quite a number of significant monuments and landmarks from history. These make for wonderful sightseeing options while on a holiday in Istanbul, as they hold a historical significance as well as display brilliant architecture of the olden days. The not-be-missed sights in the city include Hagia Sophia, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (commonly known as the Blue Mosque), Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahçe Palace, and the Grand Bazaar. These landmarks make for an interesting experience for people of all ages, and some guided tours are also available if you want to know more about these fascinating monuments from experts. From the magnificently decorated mosques to the amazing architecture of the palaces and the treasures inside, sightseeing in Istanbul will transport you to the magical world of kings and queens. Although most of the top attractions are located close to each other, do not expect to complete everything in a single day; the architecture and monuments are simply so breathtaking that you will not feel like rushing through them but instead take your time to wander and observe the glory of the bygone eras.
- Turkish bath (Hamam)
Now, you cannot possibly go for a holiday in Istanbul and not try out one of the Turkish baths in the city. When in Turkey, experience life like the locals and indulge in a relaxing hamam bath, a tradition that dates back to the days of the Romans. Let go of all your stress as you experience a steam, scrub, and bath in a beautiful marble setting that leaves you with wonderfully relaxed muscles and a super-clean body. Whether you are on your holiday in Istanbul during the summer, winter, or spring—a Turkish bath is something you cannot miss, as it will rejuvenate you in a way far different from any normal spa. There are also many hotels now that offer a modern take on the hamam, and you can go for one of these if you are not sure about one in a traditional Turkish bath house.