Upon arriving to Istanbul, one may have a menagerie of sensory experiences. The smell of Turkish food, the hustle of a modern day metropolis, along with the look and a feel of a city that personifies history. Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, has been a meeting place of east and west since its formation. It is the only city located on two continents, Europe and Asia. The Asian side is a short ferry ride away and is home to the more authentic sectors of Istanbul. It was also home to both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empire during their illustrious reigns. The biggest attractions are the legendry Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Sophia being the elder, dating at an astonishing 1477 years old. It translates from Greek to “Holy Wisdom” and truly lives up to its name. Hagia Sophia is not only an icon for Muslims, but also was used as a church when Constantinople fell to the crusaders. A lesser known sight is the old point 0 of the city. Everything in the city in ancient times was gauged from that point, starting over two millenniums ago. It can be seen from Sultanahmet Station, the tram stop for Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
Turkish culture and food are also important parts of the city. The delicious cuisine includes baklava, kebab, halvah and Turkish coffee. Istanbul is also filled with top-notch hookah, or shisha in Arabic. Stores seem to be everywhere, selling almost every flavor your palate could register. But arguably the most intriguing feature of Istanbul is the Grand Bazaar. One of the oldest bazaars in the world, the Grand Bazaar boasts an eclectic range of products and a staggering 5,000 shops. In summation, Istanbul offers a plethora of culture and history for everyone to enjoy.
words_alex pruefer. photo_alex pruefer.