Traditionally the border between east and west, Istanbul is one of Europe’s largest and most vibrant cities. Formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul was once the capital city of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire, and the Ottoman Empire.

The city encloses the southern Bosphorus, placing it on two continents; the west of Istanbul is in Europe, while the east is in Asia. This gives Istanbul a unique atmosphere, something that you really have to experience for yourself to understand.

If you have been carefully planned ahead and booked Istanbul apartments which have a commanding view of the straits of Bosphorus and the city itself, then consider yourself truly fortunate indeed. The sights of the city lit up at night and the view of Istanbul's coastline are simply breathtaking and a joy to behold.



Istanbul has a huge range of activities for the visitor. If you are interested in antiques, the city’s famous markets will give you a great chance to grab a bargain. Be prepared to haggle if you want the best deal. The multi-tiered Mecidiyeköy Antiques Bazaar in Şişli is the largest antiques market in the city. The Grand Bazaar, (constructed 1455–1461) has numerous antiques shops, alongside a number of other stalls selling everything from books to jewellery. The Sahaflar Çarşısı book market (near Beyazıt Square) has been active in the same location since the late Roman period.
Lovers of live music will be spoilt for choice in this pulsating destination: entertainment on offer ranges from spectacular classical events to pop concerts and lively nightclubs.

There is also an impressive variety of museums in Istanbul. The first stop for keen archaeologists must be the world renowned Istanbul Archaeology Museum (founded 1881), which is home to more than a million archaeological objects from the Mediterranean basin, the Balkans, the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. Some of the most impressive exhibits are the sarcophagi, including the Alexander sarcophagus (once thought to have been constructed for Alexander himself, but actually that of Sidonian King Abdalonymos).

The Istanbul Mosaic Museum is home to a selection of late Roman and early Byzantine floor mosaics and wall ornaments from the Great Palace of Constantinople. Elsewhere, the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum has a number of exhibits based around artefacts from Islamic civilizations through the ages.

Istanbul Modern, the city’s leading modern art museum, regularly has exhibitions of renowned Turkish and foreign artists.
The Sakıp Sabancı and Pera Museums have sometimes hosted exhibitions of world famous artists and are considered to be among the most important private museums in Istanbul.


Love shopping malls? The Grand Bazaar (constructed 1461), Mahmutpaşa Bazaar (1462) and Egyptian Bazaar (1660) are “must see” destinations for intrepid shoppers and are among the oldest “shopping malls” still standing. A recent spate of constructions have kept the tradition of Istanbul malls alive, most notably the Cevahir Mall (2005) which is the largest mall in Europe.



Istanbul’s nightlife offers a huge variety of entertainment for visitors, especially in the summer months, when the bars, cafes and restaurants spill out onto the streets. The areas around Istiklal Avenue and Nişantaşi are the biggest draw, while the seaside nightclubs come into their own in the summer months, offering the opportunity to dance the night away in stylish locations with the sea as a backdrop.


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Useful Resources


Summers in Istanbul are hot and sweaty. The city’s twelve million residents enjoy average temperatures of 28°C in July and August. Winter is cold, wet and occasionally snowy, averaging 5°C. Because of the high humidity, temperatures often feel exaggerated.

Useful Links

Istanbul Weather (BBC)

Istanbul Ataturk Airport