The destination resides over Europe and Asia, divided by the Bosphorus Strait. The land of the Iconic Blue Mosque, the museum Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice market and the city of Hamam Turkish Baths. For those who love the amazing Sufi dance shows – the Whirling Dervishes (Hint: Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai star Jodha Akbar ). Incredible.
Arriving early into Istanbul, the royal cultural city where the old and the young, the traditional and the modern infuse so well that a new city of modern times has emerged. Walking on the streets one can find people from all walks of life, culture and ethnicity. The food amazing, the colours of the city wonderful. Much like India. Specially the spices, herbs and curry flavours.
The best site in Istanbul is the Blue Mosque, along the sea, which changes its colours when the sun starts to go down and the moon starts to appear, the reflections of the sea make the mosque colourful and the attraction breathtaking. All over the world, Istanbul is recognised by the image of the mosque. More popularly the mosque is also known as the Sultan Ahmet Imperial Mosque.
As one gets ready for the second most amazing attraction of the city, one that takes you through a bird’s eye view of the full city, you witness for the first time in your life, a destination from both the Asian side and the European side. Yes, the 90-minute Bosphorus Boat Ride takes you passing through the Rumeli Fortress and you enjoy the magnificent scenery of Golden Horn and the city as well.
Over the next two days or so that the leisure traveller stays at the destination, one gets to visit the Hippodrome, The scene of ancient chariot races, the ancient Hippodrome, with its four monuments; the GERMAN Fountain of Wilhelm II, the Obelisk of Thedosius, the bronze Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine.
St. Sophia (closed on Mondays) This ancient basilica, built by Constantine the Great, in the 4th century and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, one of the architectural marvels of all time. Grand Covered Bazaar (closed on Sundays) In this labyrinth of streets and passages are more than 4000 shops with each trade having its own area; the goldsmiths’ street, the carpet sellers, Turkish arts and crafts, such as handpainted ceramic plates, hand-honed copperware, brassware and trays, water ewers, onyxware and meerschaum pipers.
The city offers a good mix of hotels under all star categories, food choices are umpteen and one need not worry at all. English speaking guides are available and it is advisable to have one to give you the best insights into the traditional and modern side of Istanbul.