Istanbul is a city steeped in history, and one that is very proud of its past. Visitors to Istanbul can explore a whole host of fascinating historical sites, many of which were constructed during the period that the city spent under Byzantine rule.
Istanbul is particularly noted for the many excellent examples of Muslim mosques including the Haghia Sophia Mosque and the Sultanahme Mosque. The city is also famed for the Grand Bazaar, which is claimed to be the oldest shopping centre in the world. The city itself is built on seven hills, and surrounded by water on three sides. A fascinating place for visitors to Turkey to enjoy.
Istanbul straddles the Bosphorus Strait, which makes for an enchanting setting. On the western shore of the Bosphorus is Europe whilst on the eastern shore is Asia. The two sides are linked by two bridges and numerous ferries, though travelling between the two you would hardly be aware that you had just passed into a different continent!
The city is further divided by the Golden Horn, an estuary on the European side forming the northern boundary of the Sultanahmet Peninsula where the old city of Istanbul is situated. It is here that you'll find most of the popular tourist sites, such as the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya and Topkapi Palace.
Istanbul 's old city has one of the most recognisable skylines in the world, set against the hills which surround the city and with the Bosphorus in the foreground, the huge domes and tall minarets of Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque dominate the skyline and appear almost fairy-tale like and mystical at sunset in particular.