Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, the fifth largest city in the world and the largest metropolitan city in Europe. Comprising 39 districts of the Istanbul province, this mega city is renowned as the cultural, economic, and financial centre of Turkey. Located on the Bosphorus Strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, this city acts as a bridge between the European (Thrace) and Asian (
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, the fifth largest city in the world and the largest metropolitan city in Europe. Comprising 39 districts of the Istanbul province, this mega city is renowned as the cultural, economic, and financial centre of Turkey.
Located on the Bosphorus Strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, this city acts as a bridge between the European (Thrace) and Asian (Anatolia) sides. The only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents, Istanbul has also been designated as an alpha world city. Besides, it encompasses the Golden Horn, a natural harbour in the north-west of the country.
The existence of civilisation in Istanbul dates back to 3000 B.C. Centuries later, in the 7th Century, the colony of Byzantium was established at this place by Greek colonists, who were led by King Byzas.
Named after the king, this colony was located at the mouth of the Bosphorus Strait. Furthermore, the colony of Byzantium became part of the Roman Empire in the early 100 BC.
In 306 AD, it was made the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great and renamed as Constantinople. However, in the mid 400 AD., the Barbarians conquered the Western Roman Empire.
Constantinople still remained the capital of the Eastern or Byzantine Empire. Thereafter, the city was destroyed in the anti-government riots of 532 AD., during the reign of Justinian I. It was later rebuilt, with the monuments like Hagia Sophia still standing.
Constantinople stood at an important location for trade and transport, between three continents. Thus, Persians, Arabs, nomadic people and members of the Fourth Crusade tried to conquer it for the next several hundred years.
In 1453, Constantinople was finally conquered by the Ottoman Turks, led by Sultan Mehmet II, and was renamed as Istanbul. The third and last capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul was the centre for military campaigns during that period.
Later, it developed as the major cultural, political, and commercial centre, with a population of almost half million. After the Ottoman rule, the city was occupied by the allies in 1922.
After the War of Independence in 1923, the new Republic of Turkey moved its capital to Ankara. Istanbul, however, continued to expand. Historic areas of the city were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.
Recently, Istanbul was also chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2010 and to be the European Capital of Sports for 2012. With so many historic landmarks, activities, excursions, shopping, restaurants and more, tourism has grown in Istanbul.
The best time to visit the city is during the months of April to June, September and October when the weather is pleasant.
We are planning to go for a vacation to Istanbul this May. Can anybody please help us with a few details with regards to the following.
Famous sightseeing spots.
Good budget hotels.
How to get around in Istanbul?
Is it better to book through a travel agent or go directly?
Weather in May.
Things to do.
Hoping for a reply at the earliest.
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