A trip to Istanbul: A must-see on your adventure itinerary

Istanbul is one of the largest cities in the world. Without a doubt, it is the most famous and populated in Turkey and has a great background and scenes. So a trip to Istanbul should be paramount to your traveling itinerary.

The beauty expresses in the slits that conform to the Bosphorus Strait –which separates Asia from Europe– and the Golden Horn, which unites bridges and ships, as well as in the colors of the neighborhoods that house almost 13 million inhabitants.

The wonders of Istanbul

On a trip to Istanbul, you will be amazed by the silhouettes of the mosques with their minarets emerging in all directions, the seagulls crossing the photos, and the bustling movement emanating from the bazaars,

Also, you will love the color of Turkish delight in the stained glass windows, the smell of kebabs, the Valens aqueduct and the cars passing between its arches, the old attached walls, and, in some places, the newer buildings, houses and shops.

A trip to Istanbul will give you an inordinate training in history, culture and you will be able to see the most amazing urban mutations (with the fascination of knowing between Europe and Asia, between East and West). Likewise, any traveler –with the help of Greca Travel– will have to make a list or several, and organize the days between classic walks such as Hagia Sophia or the Blue Mosque, and fashionable neighborhoods such as Balat and Fener.

Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, two of its pearls

On a trip to Istanbul, you cannot miss visiting the sought after, mentioned and photographed, Blue Mosque, known also as Sultan Ahmet Camii, built between 1609 and 1616), which is the second largest in the city and the third-largest in Turkey.

Why blue? It is for the 21,000 blue-colored handmade tiles. 

Very close in terms of distance, but separated by more than a thousand years of history, just opposite from the building, lies Hagia Sophia (or Ayasofya). Its origins must be found in 360, as the cathedral of the Byzantine Empire, although the current building dates of 532 (third church). After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Mehmet II converted Hagia Sophia into the Ayasofya Mosque. In 1931 it closed to the public and the building reopened in 1935 converted into a museum.

Perhaps, on a trip to Istanbul, you may be lucky and come across the cat Gli, one of the most famous current characters in Hagia Sophia (he even has an Instagram account: @hagiasophiacat) and has even taken photos of himself with the former president of the United States, Barack Obama.

It is not weird. Cats in Istanbul are serious business. People feed them, take care of them, make houses for them to protect them from the weather, let them enter the premises and even take naps on the thresholds, regardless of whether they interrupt their passage.

Released a couple of years ago, the documentary Kedi (Istanbul Cats) shows part of all this. "Without cats, Istanbul would lose its soul", is heard in the film and continues: "In Istanbul, the cat is more than a cat. The cat represents the indecipherable chaos, the culture, the essential uniqueness of Istanbul.”

Not far from Hagia Sophia, about a 15-minute walk away, is the labyrinthine, colorful and crowded Grand Bazaar, making a trip to Istanbul even more attractive. This Grand Bazaar began construction in 1455, with Sultan Mehmed II, and today it is a world of people and shops: it has some 4,000 stores - jewelry, clothing, wallets, souvenirs, Turkish sweets, trinkets made in China, lamps, vessels of ceramics, carpets-, 22 gates, and they say that every day up to 500,000 visitors walk around.

In a city like this, which was born as Byzantium, later New Rome and Constantinople, and today Istanbul, you walk centuries of history in minutes talking about the mosques, the Hippodrome, the walls and the Roman Empire, to the Ottoman palaces and sultans; from the hypnotic turns of the dervishes to the mythical Orient Express train. So a trip to Istanbul will be an unforgettable experience for you to share.

Curious to know more about the wonders of Istanbul? Check our full Travel Guide to Turkey and our Travel and Vacation Packages to Turkey!

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