Contrary to popular belief, Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey (that’s Ankara). It is, however, Turkey’s largest city with over 14 million residents. It is also becoming one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. This sprawling metropolis offers something for everyone. It’s a unique cultural experience that merges east and west, old and new. You can get lost in the traditions of the Old City, with over 2,500 years captured in ancient landmarks and religious temples. Or you can explore its modern sophistication of upscale shopping centers, cosmopolitan dining venues and contemporary architecture. Here are 7 reasons to visit the thriving city of Istanbul.
1. A City Between Two Continents
Istanbul is situated between two continents, making its location one of the most unique in the world. The Bosphorus Strait separates Istanbul’s tourist-ridden European side from its residential Asian side. A channel of this strait, known as the Golden Horn, further divides the European side of city into two halves, the old and the new. The Old City houses Istanbul’s rich historical landmarks and architectural sites, while the New City is the business and cultural epicenter. Istanbul also boasts rolling hills which provide a perfect vantage point to take in the breathtaking views of ancient mosques and the cities’ bustling waterways.