Istanbul, Day 6
Istanbul Travel Blog› entry 6 of 13 › view all entries
Geez, where to start. We arrived in Istanbul this afternoon around 3:30. I really wasn't expecting to be impressed and was wondering why we had so much time here, but the city is amazing. We only had a short bus tour this afternoon and will go back out for the day tomorrow. The city is huge and crowded (13 of the countries 17 million people live here), but it's also beautiful. The remains of the city wall (12 linear miles) still exist in most places and are in the process of being restored. The walls, like most things in this part of the world seem to, date from about the 4th century BC. Battles and earth quakes have taken their toll, but the government is in the process of restoring them and building parks and gardens around the perimeter.
The market was amazing in it's own right. It's called the spice market, but there is a much wider variety of things available there ï¿½ï¿½" most are food related, but also soap and jewelry shops. The merchants will accept the Turkish Lira, Euros, or U.S. dollars, so the shopping is easy. They don't tend to "negotiate" prices though, probably because so many of the shoppers are locals. Tomorrow weâ're going to the Grand Bazaar and we've been told that haggling is a must there.
The other interesting thing about the city is that it is spread over two continents. Roughly half of the city is in Europe and the other half is in Asia. The two areas are separated by the Bosporus Strait. The bridge over the strait is just ahead of where our ship is docked. It's "wired" with fiber optics and is a continuous light show at night. We're docked on the European side of the city, but I've included a couple of night photos of the bridge and also a mosque and another building across the straight on the Asian side of the city.
Istanbul, etymologically, derives it's name from a Greek phrase that translates to "in the city" or "to the city".
Tomorrow we'll see more of the city and will most likely have many more photos.