Istanbul is one of the most amazing cities in the world, it is a fascinating city built on two Continents, divided by the Bosphorus Strait. Istanbul was also announced by the European Union as the 2010 European Capital of Culture.

Throughout this vibrant city, you’ll find centuries-old mosques, churches and markets happily co-existing side by side with modern restaurants, galleries and nightclubs.

This city is growing dynamically and developing at full speed on an east-west axis along the shores of the Marmara.

From the foundation of Byzantium in the 7th century BC until today, Istanbul held always an important role in the history of humanity in this part of the world. Everybody wanted to gain control of this area because of its strategic location; Empires were born here on the ashes of previous ones.

Since the Republic in 1923, Istanbul continued to grow and today it boosted its population over 14 million people living in this spread out city. This makes Istanbul the largest city of Turkey and one of the biggest cities in the world. It’s a great place to buy a Property in Turkey.

The important sites  that are a most to visit and experience are; The Hagia Sophia, one of Galata Tower from which one can will see the best view of the city, the Dolmabahce Palace on the Bosphorus, the richest palace in the world, the famous Archeological Museums, the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum and of course not forgetting the Spice Bazaar, and so much more.

For those who have never stepped on to Asian soil before, a boat trip or the bridges over the Bosphorus offer a wonderful opportunity.

Over the suspension bridges and from Great Camhca Hill on the Asian side, one can get a bird’s eye view of the city and the Bosphorus.The Princes’ Islands, one hour by ferryboat and the eight wonders of the world, the Suleymaniye Mosque, Sultan Ahmet Mosque, the Hippodrome and the Topkapi Palace Museum. This is the classical one-day tour, but there are many specialized tours for Roman, Byzantine and Turkish monuments, the Bosphorus or the Asian shores.

The performances of belly dancers and folk dancers add colour to night tours.
A minimum of four days are necessary to really get to know this spectacular world of Istanbul.

Istanbul is an amazing city and has a huge mix of cultures and diversities that are spread across its 39 different districts, 25 of which sit on the European side and the other 14 which sit on the Asian side.

BAHCELIEVELER is situated in the centre of the European side of Istanbul and offers a friendly, diverse and cosmopolitan district. There are many amenities here which include lovely shopping malls, parks, great restaurants, schools, universities, hospitals, banks, local businesses and public transport. Within a short distance you will find the centre of Istanbul with its Blue Mosque and Taksim Square. Bahcelieveler offers excellent transport links as the TEM highway is 6.3km away and the E5 highway is 1.2km. There is also a train station 100 metres, plus a metro bus station 1.2km away. 

BAHCESEHIR is a wonderful district with lush green surroundings located 30km west of central Istanbul. The district enjoys a large landscaped park, a man-made lake, great shops, bars and restaurants and all other amenities and facilities. Bahcesehir offers great transport links into Istanbul and to the new Istanbul Airport.

BEYLIKDUZU use to be a farming village by the Marmara Sea located west of central Istanbul, but today it is an inviting and rapidly developing face of Istanbul. It is known as a shopping destination with its large shopping malls and supermarkets. The distritct is also a favourite of the commuters as it connects directly to central Istanbul via the metro bus service in just 60 minutes.

CEKMEKOY is a very family friendly district on the Asian side of Istanbul and offers an excellent mix of traditional and rustic charm. Cekmekoy offers plenty of outside space and is home to many parks, residential properties and a wide range of amenities. Many local amenities such as shops, cafes and restaurants can be reached within just a few minutes. The district also offers great transport links as you can easily access the centre of Istanbul and the European side via TEM highway.

ESENYURT is a popular and vibrant district on the European side of Istanbul. It offers great shopping malls, local markets, great eateries and bars and all other amenities such as banks, schools and hospitals, plus it offers great transport links as the TEM highway is close by and it is just a short stroll to the Beylikduzu metro bus station.

KUCUKCEKMECE is a district on the European side of Istanbul, near to Gunesli. The Basin Express is close by as well as a tranquil park which can not be built on making it very unique. The district offers great shopping malls, business districts, residential areas and a great selection of places to eat and drink. Kucukcekmece also offers great access into the centre of Istanbul. 

SANCAKTEPE is a very popular district on the Asian side of Istanbul and is home to many local businesses as well as a variety of great restaurants, cafes, shops, beautiful gardens, parks and other amenities such as hospitals, schools and a university.

SISLI is situated on the European side of Istanbul next to the Bosphrous Bridge and is home to many large businesses. This district offers great access to main roads such as E5 highway and the TEM highway, plus there is easy access to the metro line and metro bus. Sisli offers a variety of great shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, bars, gardens and other local amenities such as schools, hospitals and a University, making it a great place to live.

Click on the links below for more information on the European and Asian sides of Istanbul

https://www.turkishconnextions.co.uk/home/news_inner/71

https://www.turkishconnextions.co.uk/home/news_inner/72

In October 2018 we saw the launch of Istanbul's brand new airport, one of the largest airports in the world. Click on the link below to find out more.

https://www.turkishconnextions.co.uk/home/news_inner/60   

Istanbul also hosts several annual motorsports events, such as the formula One Turkish Grand Prix, the MotoGP Grand Prix of Turkey, the FIA  World Touring Car Championship, The GP2 and the Le Mans Series 1,000km races at the Istanbul Park GP Racing Circuit.

What's on throughout 2019

International Istanbul Film Festival - This annual event lasts almost two weeks and is great for movie fans who will get the rare opportunity to view Turkish movies with English subtitles (6th April - 17th April) 

Floral Fest - This wonderful event is being held for the third time and will be taking place in Kucukciftlik Park. The festival will showcase a wide variety of displays and exhibitions bringing both nature and creativity together (19th April - 21st April)

Istanbul Tulip Festival - During the last three weeks of April Istanbul celebrates the popular flower, the Tulip. Istanbul's festival is one of the biggest in the world. You will be able to see work done by Artists who have used tulips in their design, these will be displayed in exhibitions, parks, gardens and along the roadside. One of the most amazing sites to see is the carpet of tulips in Sultanahmet, there are also the rainbow displays in Gulhane and Emirgan which are just as wonderful (last three weeks of April)   

Formula One: Turkish Grand Prix - Formula One is travelling to Turkey for one of the 19 races of the season. The event will be hosted by the Istanbul Park circuit (1st May)

International Istanbul Puppet Festival - These shows where very big in Ottoman times. The shows are mostly silent so they are appropriate for both children and adults. The shows will be held in small venues all over town. You can enjoy shows with puppets, marionette and some shadow theatre aswell (second week of May)

Istanbul Music Festival - This festival is considered the most prestigious classical music event in Turkey. People will be able to enjoy a variety of unique concerts hosting local and international classical music artists in some of Istanbul's most incredible venues (all of June) 

International Istanbul Jazz Festival - Enjoy incredible performances at a range of venues throughout the city. You will be able to listen to a range of music from traditional and contemporary jazz to rock, electronica and world music (1st July - 31st July)  

Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim - This is the most famous swimming race in Turkey. The event is organised by the Turkish Olympic Committee and consists of crossing the Bosphorus by swimming. Swimmers from all over the world come over to take part in the 6.5km course from Kanlica on the Asian side of Istanbul to Kurucesme Cemil Topuzlu Park on the European side (19th July - 21st July) 

Ferries between Turkey and Greece

Ayvalik to Lesbos - If you are staying nearby the seaside town of Ayvalik why not take a day trip out to the beautiful isalnd of Lesbos.  There is a ferry which runs 3 or 4 times every day crossing between the two destinations. The journey takes around 90 minutes.

Istanbul Markets

TUESDAY/FRIDAY: Traditional market in Kadikoy. No less than 4000 stalls and a car park in Fikirtepe. This market is famous for the huge amount of women visitors as well as women stallholders.

WEDNESDAY: Faith Market, oldest and biggest market place of the city. Around 1290 vendors, and 4800 stalls, you can find anything ranging from fruit and veg, to clothing and household materials.

Yesilkoy Market, known for its greener and upper classy setting, you can find an array of high quality products in this well organized market place. There are 2000 stalls, floral displays, scattered tea cafes and toilet facilities. Most stalls will take credit card payments, but prices may be slightly higher compared to other markets.

THURSDAY: Ulus Market located in Ortakoy selling both fake and real products and big brand names including Gap, Adidas, Fred Perry, Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton. There are also real fur and leather products, as well as many designer make up products and much more. The market is open between 8am and 7.30pm.

SATURDAY: Besiktas Market is one of the smaller markets with only 400 stalls, but yet still offers most products you will find elsewhere. The markets main focus is on clothing, but shoes, bags, jewellery and home textiles are also available. The market sets up at dawn and stays open until dusk.

Things to do!

Boat trips-
Istanbul Bosphorus Tours/Cruise

Hagia Sophia-
This incredible building was once a church for almost a thousand years and then became a mosque. The museum boasts stunning architecture, glorious interior views and historical significance. This amazing attraction is located in Sultanahmet and is open Tuesday through to Sunday from 9.30am until 4.30pm.

Blue Mosque-
This is one of the biggest tourists attractions Istanbul has to offer. It truly is an amazing sight to behold with its flurry of domes, semi-domes and minarets. With it being an active religious site conservative dressing must be worn. Admission is restricted during prayer service, especially on Fridays.

Istanbul Archaeology Museum-
Located in the Eminonu district of Istanbul, near Gulhane Park and Topkapi Palace, is the magnificent historic Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The museum consists of three museums including the Archaeology Museum, the Museum of Ancient Orient and the Museum of Islamic Art. At this fantastic museum you can view over one million objects that represent almost all of the eras and civilizations all throughout history.

Topkapi Palace-
This amazing and one of Istanbul’s most popular attraction became a museum in 1924 after serving as a home of the Ottoman Sultans from 1465 to 1856. It features incredible architecture, manicured courtyards and impressive exhibits. The museum is located a little over a mile northeast of the Hagia Sophia and is open from 9am until 7pm and is closed on Tuesdays.

Grand Bazzar-
One of the biggest and oldest indoor shopping markets in the world and is located a little more than a mile west of Sultanahmet. The market boasts thousands of shops and products ranging from carpets and clothing to art and chessboards. You will find a variety of restaurants and cafes here, as well as mosques.

Galata Tower-
This landmark structure crowns the hill opposite the Golden Horn and boasts jaw-dropping views across Istanbul from the Beyoglu side. Aside from the incredible views and history of the Galata Tower, visitors can also enjoy a restaurant and at night, a night club at the top. This fantastic attraction sits near the Sishane metro station and is open from 9am until 5pm with special hours for restaurant and bar visitors. Admission to the balcony costs 11 Turkish Lira.

Suleymaniye Hamam-
This historic Turkish bath is located near the Suleymaniye mosque and caters primarily to tourists. Visitors should know that this is a co-ed bath, which is perfect for couples and families. This particular Turkish bath has a reputation of being very clean and non-sketchy. Approximately 45 USD will get you a lockable changing room, use of clothes/slippers for baths and an hour and a half of scrubbing and massaging. Open daily from 10am until midnight, last entry being accepted at 10pm.

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