I used to wonder why the name of Istanbul came up every now and then when people talked about tourist attractions but then I had the opportunity to visit this splendid city and I never questioned it again. This city has something for everyone – and don’t let the title confuse you, it might be in a Muslim country but it is as western as it can be.
Istanbul, has served as a capital to four empires namely the Byzantine, the Roman, the Latin and finally the Ottoman Empire that broke down after the First World War. However, that is not what this city is about, it is about the cultural richness and the architectural greatness of the Muslims; things like the Golden Horn and the Grand Bazar!
While on one hand you have the Levent, a live rich business district with glass covered high rising buildings and all form of development that you could wish to see in a modern city. On the other hand you have the traditional elements that make the city stand apart from the rest of the business hubs of Europe and Asia alike. This city has a pure contrast between the old and the new. Even when it comes to transportation you have the modern tram systems as well as the old nostalgic trams from decades ago that have been kept as a representation of the city’s heritage.
Turkish buildings are famed for their Islamic touch of architecture with round domes however; if you go deeper they have an identity of their own. You would love to try out the Sultan Ahmed Mosque which is famous worldwide for its dome and is actually the landmark with which Istanbul is recognized. There also is the Hagia Sophia and the Suleymaniye Mosque both of which are visually similar to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
Alongside the mosques, you will find the Basilica Cistern and the Chora Church, the Basilica of St George at Fener and the Pammakaristos Church all of whom are proud representations of the European architecture.
Last but not the least, the night life of Istanbul is also known for lively parties and you will eventually end up at some of the liveliest parties that you might not expect from the tour. All you need to do is to be in the right place at the right time.