Istanbul known in English as Constantinople and is Turkey s most populous city. It is also the cultural and financial centre. Istanbul is an old city, you can see the remains of many ancient civilizations and their culture with Turkish culture. The old versus the new, the traditional versus the modern is a conflict a visitor often observes.
The majority of crime is non-violent in nature. Pickpockets work in tourist areas, particularly around Taksim Square.
The Blue Mosque was built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet in1603 1617, as Islam s answer to Haghia Sophia, and remains the symbol and centre of religious demonstrations. Blue Iznik tiles dominate the interior, and blue light shines through more than 250 windows. The interior is stunning, from vast central dome designed to lift all eyes heavenward, the latticework-covered Imperial Loge and the prayer niche containing a piece of sacred black stone from Mecca. At dusk during summer there is a Son et Lumiere show. The Imperial Pavilion also contains a state-run Carpet Museum with Usak, Bergama and Konya samples, dating between the 16th and 19th centuries.
Anyone who wants to take home some traditional Turkish desserts or candies has to drop in at the famous Egyptian Market at Eminonu, one of the oldest settlements At downtown Kadikoy one can find a wide range of peppers, honey, varieties of local cheeses, dried spiced beef, sausages, braised beef, an astonishing variety of medicinal herbs, different teas, and even herbs and charms to ward off the evil eye. As well as all the shopping centres and markets that supply everything the truly dedicated shopper could ever need.
The covered Bazaar which stands in one of the oldest settlements of the city, has always been a favourite with foreign visitors. The story goes that the bazaar began as two vaulted halls built by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror 1451 1481 to provide an income for the Hagia Sophia Mosque, and gradually turned into a commercial centre. The present alleys and galleries emerged as these areas were roofed over by tiled vaults. First-time visitors to the Covered Bazaar are astounded by its splendour and size 30.7 hectares. The bazaar contains 3,000 shops, 25,000 full-time staff, 61 streets and even two mosques. In the jewellers shops, bedecked with gold, silver and precious stones, you can find all kinds of valuable decorative items, from antique jewels to modern pendants.
Turkish cuisine, one of the richest in the world, appeals to the eye as well as the palate. Turkish food that is found today in Istanbul is truly a living synthesis of Eastern and Western cultures. In addition to the many restaurants that serve traditional and international menus to satisfy the varied tastes of their guests, many nightclubs, cafes and bars offer fine menus along with a wide range of entertainment choices.