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Istanbul – a Colorful Mosaic of Golden Eras

Istanbul is the cultural and financial center Turkey, located on both sides of the Bosphorus Strait. It can be cloudy, rainy, or even snowy in Istanbul due to a temperate oceanic climate influenced by a continental climate. Vestiges of glorious history are well kept in Istanbul’s historic and religious places to. Most of these ancient monuments, dating back to Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman periods include the Topkapı Palace, Hagia Sophia, Sultanahmet Mosque, and Basilica Cistern situated around Sultanahmet Square, while much more are dispersed around the old city peninsula, such as the Church of St Savior in Chora, with an interior entirely covered by awesome mosaics and frescoes. Across the Golden Horn north of the old city peninsula is Galata where the Galata Tower stands majestically. Another religious sight is the Galata Whirling Dervish Hall of Sufi Mevlevi order, just north of the Tower. Heading west, a neighborhood well worth a visit is Eyüp, the holiest Islamic shrine in Ottoman Istanbul. On the opposite shores of the Horn, you will find the Miniaturk, the first miniature park in the city with models depicting the historic Ottoman Empire.

Most budget hotels in Istanbul are located in the old central district, Taksim Square while in New Istanbul, main business district of the city, most of the skyscrapers and luxury hotels in Istanbul are located in its northern part, around Maslak and Levent. In the banks of Bosphorus, some opulent waterfront mansions and palaces remain symbols of what money can buy in the golden days of the past. Across the Bosphorus to east is Asian Side, within the historical districts of Üsküdar and Kadıköy. A climb to Çamlıca Hill will reward you with a magnificent view of a picturesque neighborhood and the rest of the city while you sip your favorite coffee in a café by the park. Also worth visiting are the Princes’ Islands, perhaps the only islands in the world with not a single car on sight.

A visit to a hamam or Turkish bath is a must-do for any trip to Istanbul. There is a historical hamam in every community. Most places offer a scrubbing or a massage. The scrubbing is a great experience. Sultanahmet has many historical hamams that cater mainly to tourists. One other must-do when in Istanbul is to do the waterpipe. Long ago, the nargile, or Turkish water pipe, was the center of Istanbul’s political and social life. Today it still represents one of life’s great pleasures and is something interesting to try. Most of the places where you can smoke a nargile are in Yeniçeriler Caddesi, near the Kapalı Çarşı. Other places of interest you should not miss visiting are the museums and mosques like the Haghia Sophia, Topkapı museum, Blue Mosque and the Mehmet mosque.

So many great places to visit, with so little time.

The best way for you to enjoy your holiday or business trip to Istanbul is to plan ahead. It is always good practice to list down your itinerary way ahead of schedule to give you ample time to prepare for a memorable stay. Start your travel plans by choosing a comfortable hotel in Istanbul here on ExcelBooking.com.

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