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Istanbul is a hospitable city beloved for its sweeping skyline of impressive Byzantine architecture, culinary heritage and warm provision of art, music and film. One of Turkey’s most populated economic and cultural hubs has many namesakes including Byzantium and Constantinople.
Things to do
The city offers several beautiful sights, but there are a few gems that you should not overlook on your first visit. The Topkapi Palace is one of the most impressive displays of Byzantine architecture in the world, decked with opulent pavilions and painted in colourful mosaics that provide interesting glimpses into the lives of Ottoman royalty.
Hagia Sophia is an iconic landmark of Istanbul and is a feast for the eyes. The impressive domed structure encompasses chambers of mural masterpieces and conveys historical and religious significance. Spend a couple of hours here strolling through the seemingly endless winding corridors.
If you need rest and rejuvenation after a day of sightseeing, be sure to stop by Deraliye for a taste of pomegranate flower juice and stuffed vine leaves, or you can sample traditional Turkish cuisine at Balıkçı Sabahattin or Asitane. The street corners are also lined with delectable cuisine options, making it impossible to make the wrong choice.
Istanbul’s retail opportunities span from historic to modern, encompassing traditional covered markets such as the Mahmutpasha Bazaar to Akmerkez, awarded “Europe’s best shopping mall”. There are more than 200 stores to choose from and exquisite exhibitions on display from artists around the world.
Public transportation is the easiest way to get around Istanbul, comprised of a network of buses and metros. Hop a ferry to commute like a local, or stretch your legs and explore the city on foot.
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