Istanbul Travel Guide

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Istanbul Overview

Istanbul is probably one of the hottest destinations in the 21st century when it comes to the European-Asian side of the world. Along with being the most populated city in Turkey, Istanbul has been one of the major center points of the world for literally thousands of years. Once known as Constantinople and Byzantium, and home to one of the last Roman outposts for a thousand years before it was conquered by the Ottoman ruler Sultan Mehmed II and subsequently becoming part of a Muslim nation, Istanbul is one of those mystical destinations that boasts near-mythical history and legends which surround the architecture and imbue the visitor with a sense of wonder, as well as an almost ethereal out-of-this-world vibe that cannot be matched anywhere else in the world.

Today, Istanbul is a tourist city. Due to its history as a center of several different empires, the number of historic and religious monuments and buildings is staggering the very least. From the Hagia Sophia, the Sultanahmet Mosque, the Galata Whirling Dervish Hall, or the famous Turkish baths, everything here feels as though it's been stripped out of the past and transported to the 21st century.

The nargile, or Turkish water pipe, is a centerpiece of Istanbul’s social setting. Commonly known as a hookah, there are various places throughout the city where you can literally sit down and simply smoke. Tobaccos range from fruit flavored to vanilla and chocolate and more, and should absolutely be enjoyed. In addition, Turkish coffee and Turkish delight are two of the most important things to taste while you are in Istanbul, because you will not find better anywhere else in the world. On top of that, Turkish cuisine is legendary, and there are the literally hundreds of restaurants to choose from. Between the mosques,the churches,the synagogues, the castles, the restaurants, the gardens, the nargile cafes, and the otherworldly feel of the place, Istanbul will leave you wondering if it was all just a dream, and waiting for the next time you can experience her charms.

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