- Istanbul parks
- Istanbul islands
- Istanbul landmarks
- Istanbul for kids
- Delicious points on the map
- Note to shopaholics
It is pointless to advertise Istanbul. If you love cities where traditions, customs, cuisine, cultures and architectural trends are closely intertwined, you already know that Istanbul can be called the quintessence of the East, seasoned with a fair dose of Western civilization. It is easy to get lost in the streets and scents, and the magnificent views of the Bosphorus, the minarets of ancient mosques and bridges sink into the soul of any tourist who has been here.
The city is multifaceted and varied, and you will always find what to do and where to go. Istanbul offers restaurants and museums, major architectural landmarks and amusement parks, ideal shopping opportunities and many cultural options. In a word, buy a ticket to Istanbul and go to a meeting with a city that is good at any time of the year and in any company.
Do you know that the Ottoman Empire is the birthplace of cultivated tulips? It was in Istanbul, and not at all in Holland, in the XI-XV centuries. the first beautiful varieties of these bulbous were bred, which later became the cause of tulip mania. If you like tulips, visit one of the city parks in Istanbul, where millions of plants bloom every year:
- Annually, in early April, the Tulip Festival opens in Emirgan Park, where millions of flowers planted in huge fields await guests. In the park, you will see living labyrinths of plants, feed swans on lakes and ponds with grottoes, admire the Big Fountain at the White Pavilion and enjoy magnificent views of the Bosphorus from the observation deck.
- In the historical part of the city, the Gulhane Park is laid out - the oldest urban green zone. It appeared in the 17th century. and became part of Topkapi Palace, the main residence of the sultans in Istanbul. Translated from Turkish, the name of the park means "yard of roses". Hundreds and thousands of bushes of the queen of flowers adorn the alleys of Gulhane Park.
- You can also see many rose bushes in Geztepe Park in the Asian part of Istanbul.
- You can hear the violin, enjoy the romantic atmosphere and admire the flowering trees in the café of Fenerbahce Park. The peninsula, washed by the waters of the Sea of Marmara, has long become a favorite meeting place for Istanbul lovers, although tourists are not alien to the desire to walk along the neat alleys and arrange a photo session against the backdrop of the sea or lush flower beds.
The entrance to the parks of Istanbul is free, some of them are closed at night.
If you love to ride the waves and discover new lands, it will be interesting for you to take a ferry to the Princes' Islands near Istanbul. Firstly, the archipelago has several architectural attractions: the Aya Yani Church of the 9th century, the Christ Monastery, the Temple of the Virgin, consecrated in the 14th century, and a unique orphanage for children, built of wood and the largest of its kind in Europe.
The Princes' Islands are a favorite beach holiday destination for noble townspeople. The sea here is perfectly clean, the water warms up quickly and you can swim quite comfortably in mid-May, and the ecological situation on the beaches of the archipelago is quite safe, since the city with its port and industries remains at a sufficient distance.
Even if you have only a few hours at your disposal, it is worth spending them in Sultanahmet Square, where two famous architectural monuments and places of worship of Istanbul are located - the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia.
The Blue Mosque was built at the beginning of the 17th century. The project was a combination of the architectural styles of Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire, and unique types of marble served as the material. The building is decorated with ceramic tiles, which are hand-painted with blue and white ornaments.
Already one and a half thousand years ago, the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia adorned Constantinople. The temple survived the fall of the city and rebuilding by order of Sultan Akhmet, and then for five hundred years it remained a Muslim shrine. The interiors of the cathedral still amaze the imagination of anyone who crosses its threshold. The mosaics of the temple are a real guide to studying the stages of the development of Byzantine art, and the structure of the 50-meter-high dome still seems to be an ingenious engineering solution.
The list of other Istanbul attractions will certainly include:
- Galata Tower with magnificent views of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. It is often called the symbol of Istanbul. The tower was built in the XIV century. and it can be seen from many points of the city.
- Topkapi Palace from the 15th century and for 400 years served as the residence of the Ottoman sultans. The complex covers about 700 hectares and offers visitors a rich collection of paintings, jewelry, dishes, weapons and religious relics.
- Baroque style techniques are guessed in the architectural appearance of the Dolmabahce Palace, built on the shores of the Bosphorus by Sultan Abdul-Mezhdid I, inclined towards European luxury. The palace serves as the residence of the Prime Minister in Istanbul, but tourists should also go there. Visitors are offered picturesque buildings, luxurious decoration of halls and picturesque views of the sea from the numerous windows of the mansion.
- In the Maiden Tower, standing on a rocky island on the Bosphorus, you can dine in a restaurant stylized as a medieval castle and watch ships move along the strait.
The lists of attractions also include museum expositions: the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art with carpets, ceramics, ancient manuscripts and personal belongings of the sultans; The Museum of Innocence, founded by the writer Orhan Pamuk in love with Istanbul; The Museum of Whirling Dervishes, which tells about the traditions of the religious order of the Sufis, inducing a hypnotic daze with their dances; Museum of Contemporary Art with works of artists and sculptors who have worked in Istanbul in recent decades.
Museums in Istanbul
Istanbul for kids
If you find yourself in Turkey with the whole family and do not have too much time to explore all its beauties, be sure to go to the Istanbul Miniature Park. More than a hundred of the most interesting sights of the country are collected on its territory, and each of the copies of the park is made with exact observance of all details and proportions on a scale of 1:25.
Young naturalists will surely enjoy a visit to the Aquarium. One of them is located in the Forum shopping center, the other is waiting for visitors in the Bakirkoy district. Guests will be able to get acquainted with the inhabitants of the underwater world and feed some of them on their own.
The Toy Museum displays hundreds of unique exhibits, lovingly collected in different cities, villages and provinces. Wooden and pewter, knitted and straw dolls, toy cars, toy soldiers and other toys can tell a lot of interesting things to young tourists.
In the dolphinarium, you will find yourself on a fascinating show, in which marine mammals take part every day. If you have long dreamed of swimming with dolphins, going to the Istanbul Dolphinarium is all the more worth it: the opportunity to splash in the pool with tailed performers is provided to everyone.
The Vialand theme park is another useful address for families on the shores of the Bosphorus. A set of attractions in the park will not let kids or their parents get bored.
Excursions in Istanbul for children from private guides
Delicious points on the map
There is an opinion that you should not look for special restaurants in Istanbul, because everywhere the food is tasty: street vendors selling fresh fast food from stalls; and expensive establishments where tables are always occupied; and a mid-range cafe, where the waiters are friendly and businesslike, and the service is quite satisfactory, even if the napkins on the tables suddenly run out.
If you want to go to a special place, these places are most often recommended in Istanbul:
- In the iconic Kervansaray, the menu of dozens of oriental dishes and a luxurious interior is accompanied by a show program, the highlight of which is belly dance.
- The name Sultanahmet Fish House unambiguously hints at the fish menu. The interior is decorated with fishing and ship tackles, and in the evenings fire shows are held in the hall and fabulous illumination is turned on.
- Fans of Michelin-level cuisine can recommend the restaurant at the Midtown Hotel. The prices for the dishes on the menu will seem considerable, but the skill of the chef is worth the fork.
- The main feature of the Reina establishment is its location. The restaurant is located directly under the suspension bridge over the Bosphorus and in the evenings, visitors are guaranteed a breathtaking illumination.
Those who are longing for Russian food can be advised Mel's Bebek, which serves cabbage soup and dumplings, Zuma will delight fans of the now fashionable Japanese cuisine, and in Mikla, in a refined setting and on a spacious terrace overlooking the Bosphorus, it is best to celebrate the holidays with a large company.
Top 10 must-try Turkish dishes
Note to shopaholics
People often go to Istanbul for shopping, because the city is called the trading capital of the entire Old World. Shopping is best done in shops in the Laleli area, the Grand Bazaar covered market, the Spice Market (Egyptian Market) and the Atrium and Tepe Nautilus shopping centers.
It is convenient to buy fur coats and leather goods in shops in the Laleli area. Most of the retail outlets are concentrated here, where quality products are presented. Shops on Laleli value their reputation and avoid selling fakes.
Buy antiques in the appropriate shops near the Grand Bazaar. When buying, ask the sellers for certificates for the export of products outside the country. It is also worth demanding a certificate when choosing jewelry, so that the samples for gold coincide with the actual composition of the metal, and the stones, in fact, do not turn out to be imitations.