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Istanbul-A blend of Past, Present and Future

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

“If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.” Alphonse de Lamartine

Istanbul is the cultural, economic and historic heart of Turkey and it is one of the largest cities in the world and the largest city in Turkey. Istanbul uniquely straddles two continents, Europe and Asia and this location has provided Turkey a gateway for trade and cultural diversity for centuries. This is a city which has so much of history in it, every step of Istanbul has stories hidden in it. For the first time, I would say, I have fallen in love with a city just after landing, the people, food and aroma attracts you.

If you are in Istanbul and you haven’t seen the Whirling Dervishes, then you haven’t seen experienced Istanbul yet. Istanbul known for its whirling dervishes and dances, enjoy a complex musical repertoire called ayin and go on a mystical journey through man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to perfection. The shows are for an hour and they cost about 50 Turkish Lira (US$10)

There are four major sections of the city with touristic interest:

  • Old Town: Mostly the region around Sultanahmet

  • Beyoglu (Pera District)

  • Bosphorus

  • Prince’s Islands

Asian side is mostly a residential area. There is not much of historic interest except the Asian side of Bosphorus. It is nicer to live there since it is quieter compared to European side. Yet, Kadikov food bazaar, Moda are only a 25 minutes boat trip away, less touristy and offers a look into daily Turkish life.

Asian Side of Istanbul

Main Attractions











If you are a nature and "Tulip Lover"then GÜLHANE PARKI (Gülhane Park - House of Flowers) is a must visit. This is a historical urban park in the Eminönü district of Istanbul; just adjacent to and on the grounds of Topkapi Palace. The Park's Goths'Column dates from Roman Times (In Turkish: Gotlar Sütunu); this commemorates a Roman victory over the Goths.

There are shows which does include folkloric shows, as well as belly dancing, in several clubs whose clientele are foreign tourists. Nightlife Turkish people are used to consist of bars and discos which are mostly similar to the ones found in Western countries. However, they have major differences in terms of clientele and atmosphere and sometimes the music played.

You can get a feel of the Turkish nightlife in Beyoglu, on Istiklal street. There are many bars in the region almost all on side streets, most of them being within only around 100 feet from the main street.

· Food and Drinks Turkish is largely the heritage of Ottoman Cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central, Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines. Turkish cuisine has in turn influenced those and other neighboring cuisines, including those of Western Europe Turkish Kebabs to seafood, Turkey has it all. The cooking of Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir, and rest of the Aegean region inherits many elements of Ottoman Court Cuisine, with a lighter use of spices, a preference for rice over Bulgur, Koftes and a wider availability of vegetables stew, turlu, eggplant, stuffed dolmas and fish. The cuisine of the Black Sea Region uses fish extensively, especially the Black Sea Anchovy (hamsi).

If you haven't tried the Baklava from Sultanahmet area in Istanbul then you haven't tried anything in the city!


Important Tips

Not everywhere in Turkey, they accept Euros, so, do keep Turkish Lira. In Istanbul, there is a cafe and restaurant (Tarihi Kahve), from there the best Istanbul panoramic views can be enjoyed. Major currencies like US Dollar, Euro, Yen, UAE Dirhams are all accepted for conversion.

Recent Lira Conversion:

$1= 5.29 Lira

Euro = 6.03 Lira

GBP = 6.69 Lira

UAE Dhs = 1.43 Lira

AIRPORTS There are two airports in Istanbul (SAW and IGA), Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) is about 22 miles (35 Kms) away from the Central Istanbul, it is quite cheaper to fly to that airport within most European Airports by any low cost Airlines. Otherwise, Istanbul Grand Airport is the main airport in Istanbul, 31 miles (50 Kms) away from Sultamahmet. Normally, it would cost about US$40 from the Istanbul Grand International airport to old city (Sultanahmet area) by cab. From, Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) International Airport to Sultanahmet would cost $80 - $110 depends on the traffic. Normally, the hotels would have cheap shuttle arrangement to Sabiha Gökçen Airport and the new Istanbul International Airport. There are many bus services from SultanAhmet to Istanbul Airport. For more info: IGA Website can be referred to.

The New Istanbul Airport is one of the largest international airport in the world with an area of area of 76,5 million square meters. It is one of the beautiful airport with breathtaking designs gives a strong competition to Dubai and Seoul's Incheon.


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