"Geoff's Weekend in Istanbul" Istanbul by Geoff_Wright
Istanbul Travel Guide: 7,882 reviews and 20,392 photos
Istanbul has been on my 'To See' list for some time, but it has only now been possible for me to vist Mehmet and Diane Toluay, two of my close Virtual Tourist friends. I took the plunge and booked the flights through the Internet (another first fo me). I have gone into the travel bookings in some detail in case anyone else would like to pluck up the courage to do it this way
Unfortunately my stay here was rather marred by the wet and windy weather. I thought I had left it behind in England, but I guess it followed me here! Therefore I am sorry hat the quality of the photos is not as good as I had hoped for, but nevertheless, you will still appreciate that there are beautiful places to visit and buildings to see.
Istanbul lies on both sides of the Bosporus at its entrance into the Sea of Marmara. Its name was officially changed from Constantinople to Istanbul in 1453 (although my book tells me that it was 1930!!); before A.D. 330 it was known as Byzantium. One of the great historic cities of the world, Istanbul is the chief city and seaport of Turkey as well as its commercial and financial centre. Tobacco is processed, and textiles, glass, shoes, and cement are manufactured. The city is visited by many tourists and is a summer resort. It is the see of the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church, of a Latin-rite patriarch of the Roman Catholic Church, and of a patriarch of the Armenian Church. The European part of Istanbul is the terminus of an international rail service (formerly called the Orient Express), and at Haydarpasa station, on the Asian side, begins the Baghdad Railway. The part of Istanbul corresponding to historic Constantinople is situated entirely on the European side. It rises on both sides of the Golden Horn, an inlet of the Bosporus, on one of the finest sites of the world, and like Rome is built on seven hills. Several miles of its ancient moated and turreted walls are still standing. The chief monument surviving from Byzantine times is the Hagia Sophia, one of the world's noblest works of architecture. Originally a church, it was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 and is now a museum. Excavations on the sites of the former Byzantine palaces have brought to light fine works of art, and Istanbul has many monuments of the Byzantine past. The city was destroyed in 1509 by an earthquake and was rebuilt by Sultan Beyazid II. Turkish culture reached its height in the 16th century, and from that period dates most of its magnificent mosques, notably those of Beyazid II, Sulayman I, and Ahmed I. They all reflect the influence of the Hagia Sophia - yet are distinctly Turkish - and give the skyline of Istanbul its unique character, a succession of perfectly proportioned domes broken by minarets. In the gardens of the Bosporus stand the buildings of the Seraglio, the former palace of the Ottoman sultans, now a museum. The Seraglio, begun by Mohammed II in 1462, consisting of many buildings and kiosks, grouped into three courts, the last of which contained the treasury, the harem, and the private apartments of the ruler. In the 19th century the sultans shifted (1853) their residence to the Dolma Bahce Palace and the Yildiz Kiosk, north of Beyoglu on the Bosporus. The environs of Istanbul, particularly the villas, gardens, castles, and small communities along the Bosporus, are famed for their beauty. Always a cosmopolitan city, Istanbul has preserved much of its international and polyglot character and contains sizable foreign minorities. In 1973 the European and Asian sections of the city were linked by the opening of the Bosporus Bridge, one of the world's longest suspension bridges
My very good friend Mehmet, (VT member Yakacik) sent me this link to an interesting introduction to turkish history. Click on it and enjoy it!
The Sultan Ahmet Mosque (The Blue Mosque was constructed by the 14th Ottoman Sultan Ahmet I, who ruled between 1603 and... more travel advice
By air, courtesy of Air France. Although there were no hiccups whatsoever on the outward journey, the return journey was... more travel advice
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