Istanbul has for a long time, been the heart and soul of Turkey. Boasting of more than 14 million official residents, the city is the only one in the world that spans two continents; Europe and Asia. I love Istanbul and admit to a major addiction for this characteristic destination.
Food, Food, Food!
On my last visit to Istanbul, I ran into the KFC restaurant, eager to sample the world-renowned chicken that my taste buds had missed dearly. I also tasted sushi for the first time, and the local recommended street food called the Taksim Wet Burger.
Istanbul was formerly Constantinople, the capital of both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, it is perfect for history buffs.
The old part of the city is a UNESCO World heritage site.There are hundreds of museums and touring Ottoman palaces like Dolmabahce explains perfectly why the Ottoman Empire was disbanded, called the sick man of Europe and left for broke.
The Blue Mosque of 1616 portrays the brilliance of architect Sedefkar Mehmed Agha, who was a pupil of Mimar Sinan, the most respected architect of the Ottoman period, while the Hagia Sophia, previously a church, mosque and now museum, perfectly combines significant artifacts of two of the world’s biggest religions.
Major wars have been fought and many men have died for control of this strategic strait of water. The Byzantine Empire seriously neglected its importance, therefore helping the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed to take control of Constantinople and ultimately finish their reign.
Downhill from the popular Taksim area, are the small neighbourhoods of Karakoy and Beyoglu. Within these areas, I particularly love the famous Genoese Galata tower, with its stunning panoramic view from the top, but anyone with a fear of heights will be immensely disturbed by the lack of crowd control, dodgy safety bars and the view of a 63-metre drop.
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