Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents. Its fate has been determined by its vital strategic location and enchanting natural beauty. It has long been coveted by powerful empires, and served as capital first to Byzantium and then to the Ottoman Empire.
Istanbul stretches along the two shores of the Bosphorus that links the Sea of Marmara in the South with the Black Sea in the North. It is Turkey's largest city with a population of approximately 15 million.
Istanbul is also at the heart of the economy of Turkey. The largest companies and banks, the main national newspapers, television networks and advertising agencies all have their headquarters in this city.
Istanbul is also the capital of art and culture with a rich tradition in opera and ballet, theatres performing Turkish and foreign plays, concerts, art exhibitions, festivals, auctions, conferences and of course unique museums. The city also boasts the country's largest and finest universities. As an imperial capital for 1500 years, Istanbul has acquired a highly original personality. At every turn in the city you are faced with Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman palaces, mosques, churches, monasteries, monuments, walls and ruins. Yet Istanbul is not a city living only in the past. It is a vibrant, modern and future-oriented metropolis. Bazaars and ultramodern supermarkets and department stores, street vendors and stock-brokers, old crumbling buildings and skyscrapers, horse-drawn carts and sumptuous limousines coexist and this amalgam gives the city a multi-faceted outlook and flavor. Istanbul is like an intricately woven carpet, a subtle blend of eastern and western cultures.
Hagia Sophia is a unique architectural monument being a former patriarchal basilica, later a mosque and now a museum. For nearly thousand years, it is the largest enclosed space in the world and has been a place of attraction by the sheer spectacle of its size, architecture, mosaics and art.
The palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments and is a major tourist attraction today, containing the most holy relics of the Muslim world such as the prophet Muhammed's cloak and sword. A UNESCO World Heritage Site as "the best example[s] of ensembles of palaces of the Ottoman period.
The cistern was built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in A.D. 542 on the other side of the Hippodrome to meet the Great Palace water requirements. Nowadays, it is a museum and an exhibition hall, as well as hosting concerts and poetry readings.
Hagia Eirene ranks as the first church built in Istanbul. It reputedly stands on the site of a pre-Christian temple. As for today, it is a concert hall located in the outer courtyard of Topkapı Palace. It is open as a museum every day except Monday but requires special permission for admission.
The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul.
Built in the 15th century, the huge bazaar is located in the middle of Istanbul's historical center with its streets lying beneath high domes. This is the marketplace of the tale of a thousand and one nights, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 1,200 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.
The site of the museums actually belonged to the Topkapı Palace outer gardens. Since the imperial decree protecting cultural goods in the Ottoman empire was enforced, many governors from the different provinces would send in found artefacts to the capital city. In that way the museum was able to amass a great collection. Upon its 100th anniversary in 1991, the Museum received the European Council Museum Award.
This museum contains one of the most important collections of Turkish and Islamic art in the world. Specific items on display are funeral belts, bejeweled objects such as candlesticks decorated with valuable gems, pearl reading desks, carved cooper cups, royal crests, clothing belonging to Sultan Yıldırım Beyazıt and Sultan Selim II, carpets from the Caucasus, and intricately carved doors.
The palace, built by Sultan Abdul-Aziz, between 1863 and 1867. This was a period in which all Ottoman sultans used to build their own palaces rather than using those of their ancestors. Nowadays, used as one of the most popular social events venue of Istanbul.
The Ottoman imperial palace during the 19th century. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, resided there late in his life. The 45,000sqm palace cost a mere five million Ottoman gold pounds, the equivalent of 35 tons of gold— 14 tons of which went into the decoration alone.
At the heart of Istanbul, İstiklal Street is a 24-hours live zone in Istanbul. During daytime, you will meet thousands of persons, doing their business, shopping or just walking around. When the day turns into night, you will again meet thousands of people walking around the street, going to restaurants and night clubs along the street. To experience daily life in Istanbul, İstiklal Street should be visited.
Artists gather every Sunday to exhibit their works in a street gallery. The variety of people creates a lively scene. Sample a tasty morsel from one of the street vendors. There is a church, a mosque and a synagogue that have existed side by side for hundreds of years – a tribute to Turkish tolerance at the grass roots.
Rumelihisarı (Rumelian Castle) is a fortress located in the Sarıyer district of Istanbul, Turkey, on a hill at the European side of the Bosphorus. It was built by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II between 1451 and 1452, before he conquered Constantinople. a museum and an open-air theater for various concerts at festivals during the summer months.
Yıldız Park is a beautiful garden complex with set in a very large park of flowers, plants and trees, gathered from every part of the world dating from the Ottoman era. Park grounds offer panoramic views of the Bosphorus. Two beautiful old pavilions, namely Çadır and Malta pavilions are used to rest...
Istanbul Modern was founded in 2004 as Turkey’s first museum of modern and contemporary art. Committed to sharing Turkey’s artistic creativity and cultural identity with the local and international art worlds, the museum hosts a broad array of interdisciplinary activities.
Istanbul Modern embraces a global vision to collect, preserve, document and exhibit works of modern and contemporary art and make them accessible to the public at large. The museum offers a variety of cultural activities in its permanent and temporary exhibition halls, photography gallery, spaces for educational and social programs, library, cinema, café, and store.
Through its collections, exhibitions, and educational programs, the museum aims to instill a love of the arts in visitors from all walks of life and encourage their active participation in the arts. Established in a building occupying an 8,000 square meter site in Karaköy on the shores of the Bosphorus, where it hosted exhibitions and events for 14 years, Istanbul Modern has now moved to a temporary space in Beyoğlu, where it will welcome visitors from May 2018 onward for three years while its new building is being constructed.
Pierre Loti Café on Eyüp hillside is a significant residential area with its natural beauties, religious facilities, excellent view of Haliç (Golden Horn). Its calm and relaxed atmosphere makes Pierre Loti Café one of the attractive places in Istanbul. Author Pierre Loti, who admires the Ottoman culture and life style used to visit this café when he was in Istanbul.
The Princes’ Islands are a combination of nine islands off the Asian coast of Istanbul, in the Sea of Marmara. These four islands are called in general as Adalar (Islands) in Turkish and their names are; Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada, and Kinaliada.
The name of the islands comes from the Byzantine period, when royal princes and empresses were exiled there. With the introduction of steamboats during the late Ottoman period around the 19th century, these islands became popular resorts for the wealthy people who built their wooden houses. A large part of the inhabitants were Jewish, Greek and Armenian communities.
Today, the islands are popular tourist destinations for daily excursions especially in the summer time. There are many monasteries and historic buildings on the islands, besides 19th century Victorian style old wooden mansions.
Besides the historical and cultural heritage of the city, natural beauty also plays a considerable role in the formation of Istanbul’s unique atmosphere. Having a geopolitical significance thanks to its unique aspect of dividing two continents, the Bosphorus stands among indispensable landmarks of Istanbul with its big and small bays and promontories.
The Rahmi M. Koç Müzesi, part of the Rahmi M. Koç Museology and Culture Foundation, is a private non-profit institution dedicated to the collecting, housing, researching, preserving and exhibiting of industrial and engineering objects and their documentation from all countries and periods up to the present day. The Museum shall use its collections and resources to inform, inspire and delight the general public, to attract more visitors to museums as well as cultural activities in Turkey, and to support research into industrial history.
The Museum is located on the northern shore of Golden Horn, Hasköy neighborhood of Beyoğlu. It lies on three separate parts of around 27000 square meters.
The Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum (Turkish: Sakıp Sabancı Müzesi) is a private fine arts museum in Istanbul, Turkey, dedicated to calligraphic art, religious and state documents, as well as paintings of the Ottoman era. The museum was founded by Sakıp Sabancı, and was opened in June 2002. Aside from permanent exhibitions, the museum also hosts national and foreign temporary exhibitions and, hosts cultural events on the weekends.
Recently the museum gained worldwide attention when it exhibited the works of Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin.