Istanbul, Turkey - Diversity is In the Air

by - 1:38:00 AM

Istanbul has been and still is a remarkable place. A cradle of different cultures, a place where civilizations and continents meet. Today it is the largest city in Turkey and one of the biggest in the world, with official population of nearly fourteen million inhabitants. It is, naturally, the country’s cultural, economic and historical center, even if it is not the capital. The capital of Turkey is Ankara. First established as a part of the Roman Empire, it was named Byzantium. Then, after the split, it became Constantinople, at around 330 After Our Sweet Lord Jesus Christ. In 1930 it finally settled to be Istanbul.
Istanbul_1
Today, Istanbul is the bustling and lively city that must have seem to people throughout the centuries while it served as a capital to four different empires. It is a hub of different ideals and this is evident in the air around it (apart from the smog). You do not have to take a walk around the main tourist attractions to sense this vitality. Just one stroll along Istiklal Avenue would do the trick. Istiklal Avenue is the main pedestrian street in Istanbul and arguably the world. It is served only by an ongoing tram car that goes along its length, which starts roughly at Galata tower and ends in Taxim square, named thus because of the many cabs that stop there. Along Istiklal you would be able to see and enter every kind of shop, bar, club, and generally every kind of place there is on this Earth.

Istanbul_2It has a myriad of galleries that feature everything from a very lively and rebelious Turkish modern art to old masterpieces. The famous musical street is also there, filled with many shops for musical instruments and musical records, there you can in general find any instruments that interests you. The place is also teeming with all varieties of pubs, clubs and bars, with all kind of music playing there, many of which live. There are plenty of bookstores and cafes as well.

Istanbul_3 Beyoglu, which is the administrative name of this area, even though it is more commonly known as Taxim, after the square with all the taxi drivers, is now the home of Istanbul modern art. It has many renowned modern art galleries and museums, the most notable of them being Santrallstanbul, the Pera Museum, Istanbul Modern and Sakip Sabanci Museum (which is pronounced ‘sakup sabanjee museum’). Istanbul Modern is famous for its well educated and professional staff, most of it consisting of actual renowned Turkish modern artists such as Pelin Gure.

 Istanbul_4Apart from that, and although you can spend your entire life in Beyoglu and never get bored or get to know everything, there is a lot more of Istanbul to be seen. There is, for example, the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest markets in the world. It has been existing since 1461 and is busy as ever today. There are, of course, numerous other markets and in one sense the whole of Istanbul can be viewed as one big market, where you can buy scarfs and kebab at every corner. They are actually hard to resist. Rounding up the sightseeing, you cannot leave Istanbul before going to Aya Sofia, the old Byzantine church turned mosque, and the Blue Mosque (officially known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque). These two are some colossal examples of architecture and religion, just several hundred meters apart in the heart of one diverse and impossible to pin down city. Istanbul is a perfect choice for a magical, unforgettable vacation!

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