Istanbul is the most populated city in Turkey, also coupling up as Turkey's central historical, cultural, and economic city. The city straddles the Bosporus Strait, thus separating Europe and Asia in the area between the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea. The old town of Istanbul is a vivid reflection of all the past ruling empires and their cultural impacts. The District of Sultan Ahmet is one such spot, featuring the Roman Empire era in its outside Hippodrome area used in the past centuries for chariot races. Another prominent place is the iconic Hagia Sophia made from Byzantine, a vivid feature of mighty domes of the sixth century and other Christianity works. The outstanding Sultan Ahmet Mosque, commonly referred to as the Blue Mosque, was built in the Ottoman era, made of blue tiles in the interior. Other ancient artifacts from the ruling classes can be found in the Circa Topkapi Palace of 1460, which was also a residential area for the Ottoman sultans during the ancient times up until the nineteenth century. In the same area, visitors pride in visiting the Spice Market for their needs, and create even more memories by visiting the famous Grand Bazaar. From the Scenic Galata Bridge, the entire city is visible in all its grandeur, while partaking of activities like fishing and relaxing. It is the entry into the deeper parts of Istanbul and spans a stunning Golden Horn estuary, yet another lovely spot. From the bridge, enjoy the beautiful medieval tower and the several boutique stalls. Most of the modern architectural designs are best viewed from the Galata region. For more vibrant nightlife, bars and lounges are lined up in the southern part of the Taksim square. To the eastern side of Istanbul, Kadikoy, a beautiful waterfront District, and other Asian residential estates reign.
Istanbul receives visitors practically all-year-round, but the peak time is between May and September. During this period, the weather remains warm and pleasant, and touring the city is a lot easier. Winter lasts from November to February, and is often wet, cold, chilly, and snowy, and sees minimal outdoor activities. In April, the locals celebrate the International Istanbul Film Festival. In June, the Istanbul Music Festival is celebrated amid colorful musical and presentations.
15 July Martyrs Bridge - the Bosphorus Bridge, known officially as the 15 July Martyrs Bridge and unofficially as the First Bridge, is one of the three suspension bridges spanning the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul, Turkey
Maiden's Tower - structure linked with legend and once used as a lighthouse, housing a small museum and a restaurant.
Süleymaniye Mosque - ornate 16th-century mosque with gardens, a restaurant and a terrace with views over the Golden Horn.
Galata Tower - restored 5th-century tower and former prison overlooking the Bosphorus with a top-floor restaurant.
Dolmabahçe Palace - grand, domed sultan's palace, now a museum, including collections of art, calligraphy, and carpets.
Basilica Cistern - huge underground Roman water source held up with 336 marble columns covering 9,800 sq. meters.
Grand Bazaar - a historic, sprawling network of indoor souks and market streets peddling leather, jewelry and gifts.
Topkapi Palace Museum - huge, opulent 15th-century palace, occupied by sultans for 400 years, housing Ottoman treasures.
The Blue Mosque - well-known site, also known as the Blue Mosque, built in 1616 and containing its founder's tomb.
Hagia Sophia Museum - museum with glittering mosaics of Biblical scenes in vast, domed former Byzantine church and mosque.
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