(Türkçe: İstanbul) Istanbul is one of the busiest, most crowded places you may ever visit, with so much to do and so many attractions to see that people from all over the world flock there. With history layered upon history, there is no doubt that Istanbul is one of the most amazing cities on the earth, containing everything from ancient Roman architecture to designs left over from the Ottoman Empire.
The city of Istanbul straddles two continents, Asia and Europe, and has been the center of empires from Xerxes and the Persians to the Ottomans. With such a rich history, it can be difficult to know what to see first. The Sultanahmet district encompasses the former city of Constantinople and therefore houses many of the city’s famous historical sights, including the 6th Century Roman basilica, Hagia Sophia; the Ottoman’s Topkapi palace; the Blue Mosque; and many museums, churches, and parks. Hotels in this neighborhood have skyrocketed with the city’s growth in tourism, so many visitors choose to forgo staying in this central district and instead find accommodations in the Beyoglu district. This area has a lot of Italian influence because of the Venetian Doge’s occupation in the 1400s, but today the area’s main street, İstiklâl Caddesi, is lined with cafés, shopping, and plenty of art museums. This area, and the entire Galata district of which it is a part, is also known as the heart of Istanbul’s nightlife.
Other notable parts of Istanbul include the shopping and business area called New City, the area along the Bosphorus Strait with its waterfront parks and mansions, as well as both the Asian Side and the Western Suburbs, each with their own distinct identities. The Princes’ Islands are a small archipelago that make for a great day trip.
Specific attractions to see in Istanbul include the Ottoman Mehta Band, a remnant of the fierce Ottoman Military that still practices the disciplined musical stylings and the twirling dervishes at Whirling Dervish Hall. Favorite Turkish foods includes doner, hamsi, patso, and, of course, Turkish Delight.
Istanbul Hotels generally include breakfast and tax, but some higher-class hotels might charge these as an add-on. Many of the hotels in Istanbul will be more expensive if booked directly, but by using ProntoHotel.com’s easy search feature, we’ll help you find the best deals on the best rooms in the city.