There is simply no city in the world like Istanbul... Whether you’re roaming through cobbled streets, shopping at busy markets, or sailing along the city’s gorgeous waterways, Istanbul is truly magical. The legendary capital first of the Roman Empire, then of the Byzantine Empire, and finally the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul is more than a modern metropolis or a vast, breathtaking outdoor museum. It is still today a place for the harmonic fusion of diverse civilizations-East and West, European and Asian, Jewish, Christian and Muslim.
Once capital of the entire civilized world, Istanbul is a true metropolis, home to a population of 12 million, where people of all kinds share crowded streets and busy thoroughfares on both land and sea. Here you may find stylish youths window-shopping at AkMerkez, voted the best mall in Europe, while outside, the dusk call to prayer wafts melodically from the minarets, and waterfront cafés and trendy nightclubs across the sprawling city prepare for another fabulous night. Istanbul is a city of beautiful contrasts. A city of sheltered coves and bustling thoroughfares, gorgeous mosques and glittering office towers, stunning views, rich flavors, ornate churches, stately Bosphorus-side mansions, elegant palaces and sophisticated hotels. It is a place that has to be seen to be believed. And even then, it will never cease to amaze.
In the city’s more than 25 centuries of uninterrupted inhabitation, travellers, conquerors, crusaders, artists, statesmen and intrepid voyagers have all been enchanted by Istanbul’s striking beauty. Today ancient monuments still dominate a horizon shared with skyscrapers and dotted by slender minarets, in a city spanning two continents separated by the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, and served by some of the finest natural harbors in the world. These storied waterways have inspired myths, whether Jason and the Argonauts or James Bond, since the very beginnings of human civilization, and will undoubtedly become a part of the personal legend passengers will weave from their time in Istanbul.