• Erin

Are you Ready to Time Travel? Visit both New and Old in Istanbul

East meets West this week as we travel to the largest city in Turkey, Istanbul. The city is divided by the Bosphorus Strait that connects the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea and is known as the divider of Europe and Asia. Istanbul is the country's capital and is also known for its history, culture, and breathtaking views.


Bosphorus Bridge Separating Europe & Asia, Istanbul, Turkey
Bosphorus Bridge Separating Europe & Asia

History

Istanbul, or Constantinople as it was formerly known, has had a long and varied history. From the capital of the Roman/Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires, this influential city has seen and experienced a lot of change. As the capital of the Roman Empire, Constantinople served as an essential connection and port city between Europe and Asia. It was the center of many trade routes that passed through the city when traveling East to West. As the Roman Empire waxed and waned, Constantinople stayed at the heart of the empire. When the Ottoman Empire defeated the Roman Empire, the city was further enhanced by the new public works system that the Ottoman rulers implemented, transformed the judicial system, encouraged the arts, and continued to expand the empire.



Culture

As home to an extensive and diverse history, Istanbul has many stunning feats of architecture, shops, and events. One of the oldest places of worship in Turkey is the Hagia Sophia. The Hagia Sophia was initially commissioned by Justine I under the Roman Empire. It was the first of its kind and had the most open space of its time. After the rise of the Ottoman Empire, the Christian icons and artifacts were either covered over or removed. There is still controversy around the building, but it remains one of the best-preserved buildings in the entire city. In addition to the architecture, the Grand Bazaar is one of the most culturally iconic must-dos in Istanbul. As you meander through the narrow alleys, you'll find a local vendor selling everything from rugs to jewelry and souvenirs.


Çamlıca Mosque on Çamlıca Hill, Istanbul, Turkey
Çamlıca Mosque on Çamlıca Hill

Breathtaking Sites

Istanbul has plenty of breathtaking sites in a city full of beautiful architecture or stunning beauty and historical significance. One of the best views of the city comes from Çamlıca Hill. From high atop this hill, you can take in the gorgeous view of the skyline, seeing both Asia and Europe; enjoy a minute at a café to take it all in. Another great spot is the Pierre Loti Hill. It was named after a French Poet who loved sitting atop the hill. There are two ways to reach the top of this hill, one on foot and the other, by cable car. I recommend taking the cable cars up and the trail down to get the whole experience.


Now that you know the three main elements of the city, schedule a consultation to start planing your trip.

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