With one arm reaching out to Asia and the other to Europe, Istanbul is set on two continents. In this imposing site, Istanbul proudly preserves the invaluable legacy of its prodigious past while looking forward to a modern future. Fusion between the East and the West, past and present, Istanbul is a mythical city that the variety fascinates the traveler. Observing the sunset at the banks of the Bosphorus, you will suddenly realize why many centuries ago settlers chose to build here.
Culture and history
Hagia Museum (St Sophia): this ancient basilica, built by Constantine the great in the 4th century and reconstructed by Justinian in the 6th century, is one of the architectural marvels of all time. The beautiful decorations include stunning Byzantine mosaics.
After the Byzantine Hippodrome place, we go on visiting the Blue Mosque, built by the Sultan Ahmet I in the 17th century to outshine the Aya Sofya.
We also visit the Basilica Cistern, the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. Located 150 m west of the Hagia Sophia, on the historical peninsula, this cistern was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.
For the end of the afternoon, the Grand Bazaar is an amazing labyrinth of 4500 stalls.
Topkapi Palace was the home of Ottoman sultans for four centuries. The palace is built in Islamic style and consists of a series of chambers, pavilions and kiosks surround garden courtyards. Today it is a rich museum where there is the exhibition of objects used by sultan’s family.
A visit of Istanbul will not be complete without a Bosphorus cruise to discover the Ottoman buildings along both the Asian and European shores.