Istanbul as a Destination
The eye gazes sleepily across the seductive blue sweep of these Bosporus: One
country - two continents.
diverse as night and day, the only thing they have in common is the miraculous
mirage that is Istanbul - a skyline of sensually shaped mosques and minarets
scattered across seven hills - Istanbul is rapidly becoming one of the most
popular international congress and exhibition destinations as a result of the
increasing demand for suitable facilities. Istanbul is a city competing
professionally to fulfill the demands.
The god and human, nature and art are together in there, they have created such
a perfect place that it is valuable to see." Lamartines famous poetic line
reveals his love for İstanbul, describing the embracing of two continents, with
one arm reaching out to Asia and the other to Europe.
İstanbul, once known as the capital of capital cities, has many unique features.
It is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, and the only one to
have been a capital during two consecutive empires - Christian and Islamic. Once
was capital of the Ottoman Empire, İstanbul still remains the commercial,
historical and cultural pulse of Turkey, and its beauty lies in its ability to
embrace its contradictions. Ancient and modern, religious and secular, Asia and
Europe, mystical and earthly all co-exist here.
Its variety is one of İstanbuls greatest attractions: The ancient mosques,
palaces, museums and bazaars reflect its diverse history. The thriving shopping
area of Taksim buzzes with life and entertainment. And the serene beauty of the
İstanbul strait, Princes Islands and parks bring a touch of peace to the
otherwise chaotic metropolis.
Land of the Blinds
A famous myth explains very precisely the unmatched location of Istanbul:
Commander Byzas, who gave his name to the empire to be later called as Byzantine,
sets off to sail to build a new colony from where Greece is located today. During
the long voyage and his searches, he goes to an oracle for advice. The oracle makes
this prediction: You are going to build your city right opposite of the land of
the blinds! Continuing his voyage, Byzas reaches to the banks of Sarayburnu, the
Istanbul of today. When he sees this protected peninsula, he thinks that it is just
the place that he was looking for; meanwhile he notices the area of residence on
the opposite side (Kadiköy at present). Byzas decides that the people who, given
the excellent area of residence right before them, do not prefer to reside there
are blind. And since it also coincides with the prediction, he builds his colony
on this land without hesitation
A City of Harmony in a Country of Variety
The cultural diversity of Istanbul defies exaggeration. A Roman city converted
to Christianity, it was also the seat of the Islamic the caliphate that
preserved the patriarchate of Christian Orthodoxy. It has been a refuge for Jews
fleeing Spain in the XV. Century and for those seeking asylum in 1930s.
Belonging to 3 different religions and speaking 10 different languages, 26
ethnics groups live in Istanbul in harmony
Art, Culture and Entertainment
is an international art and cultural center. The International Arts and Cultural
Festival is held each year in June and July with famous artists coming from all
over the world. These performances are held mostly at the Atatürk Cultural
Center. The İstanbul Science Center (Bilim Merkezi), founded by the Science
Center Foundation and located on the campus of İstanbul Technical University,
has hands-on experimental and theoretical opportunities for adults and children
of various educational levels. In March and April you can lake in the
International Film Festival. Those who enjoy classical music can hear it at the
Cemal Reşit Rey Hall. Operas, operettas, ballets, films, concerts, exhibitions
and conferences all contribute to the cultural palette of the city.
İstanbul also has a rich program of light entertainment. Nightclubs provide
splendid entertainment throughout dinner, ranging from a selection of Turkish
songs to belly-dancing. Alongside these are modern discos, cabarets, and jazz
clubs in the Taksim-Harbiye district. In Sultanahmet, there are a number of
restaurants in restored Byzantine and Ottoman buildings which offer a unique
setting for an evening out.
Kumkapı, with its many taverns, bars and fish restaurants, is another attractive
district. People have been meeting for years at Çiçek Pasajı in the district of
Beyoğlu for snacks and seafood specialties. Also in the area near Çiçek Pasajı
is the narrow Nevizade Street, which is the best place in İstanbul for eating
Turkish specialties and drinking rakı, the special Turkish drink.
On the İstanbul Strait, Ortaköy is the best place for nightlife in İstanbul,
with its nightclubs, jazz clubs, line seafood restaurants and bars.
In Eminönü, do not miss the opportunity of seeing the fishermen dressed in
traditional Ottoman dollies and their Ottoman-style boats on which you may board
to sample their delicious fried fish.
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