A Tale Between Two Continents
Straddling the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul is a city so sprawling that it literally spans continents. From the city’s ancient archaeological origins to the legacy of the Ottoman empire, Istanbul is a place of culture, diversity, and rich history. A visit to the Turkish city promises incredible views, stunning art, fiery football matches, a unique creative scene, distinct European and Asian influences, and incomparable baklava. Being the most populous city in Europe, Istanbul is as lively as you can imagine. Every corner is so full of spirit. Being in the city feels like a whole new adventure, and it was worth it. And it had always been on my bucket list to experience walking in these alleys, riding on the ferry across monumental Bosphorus Strait, visiting the historic Ayasofya and the list kept going on.
As someone said it years ago, there is something magical about Istanbul that even the locals never fully explore the city since every time they will discover a new street or a secret passage they have never been to. There is always something new happening at every corner and constantly changing. It is most certainly buzzing with people especially the youths and you can definitely feel the energy flowing all over the city.
Galata Bridge is a national treasure as a historical landmark. Galata Bridge in Bazaar District of Istanbul spans The Golden Horn and links two districts, Eminönü and Beyoğlu. Yes, this is the bridge that you see in any Istanbul postcard. One that is full of fishermen in any time of the day. One thing for sure is they would not easily be bothered by the weather. Whether it is cold or raining, the bridge always attracts fishermen (and a few fisherwomen) of all ages.
Although the European side is more glamourous, has every attraction in close proximity and to put it simply, more modern, travelling across the Bosphorus by ferry to the Anatolian or Asian side of Istanbul is something I highly recommend you to do. If you plan to be here for a day, Kadikoy is a great place to start. The selection of affordable and tasty food is incredible. You can also hop on Istanbul nostalgic tram which can carry you around Kadikoy and Moda. And if you happen to be in this side during Fenerbahce football club match day, you can see the town painted in yellow and navy blue as their fans will turn up and belt some chants leading up to the match.
Former Jewish Quarter of Balat
One of the oldest and most spectacular districts of Istanbul, Balat is a quaint neighborhood that you need to visit while you’re in Istanbul. If you have seen or known how Lisbon city in Portugal looks like, Balat or Fener is pretty similar with colorful houses along sloping cobbled streets.
Hagia Sophia, A Symbol
If Istanbul is famous for anything, it’s the city’s many mosques. These intricately decorated structures dot the cityscape, standing as a testament to the enduring power of inspiring architecture. We visited the iconic and massive structures of Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet and Suleymaniye Mosque. The former which is the epitome of Byzantine architecture, carries hundred years of history that divides religion, culture and beliefs. We learned and understood so much from the people who told us stories about it as a symbol harmony, peace and tolerance in Turkey.