Turkey's capital in all but name                      Population: 14.3 million officially (Januaryy 2015), unofficially 16 million 

bikerdogTurkey is one of those rare city's whose biggest and best city is not its capital. In the case of İstanbul this is especially surprising given that it was in the past the capital first of the Eastern Roman Empire, then of the Byzantine Empire and then finally of the Ottoman Empire. But in 1923 Atatürk moved the capital east to Ankara to mark the clean break between his new Republic of Turkey and its Ottoman predecessor.

Unique in that it straddles both Europe and Asia, the great city on the Bosphorus strait spent much of the 20th century in the doldrums. Now though it's back again, and making a big splash on the world stage as a tourism hotspot, especially after its smash-hit year as European Capital of Culture in 2010.

Like all megalopolises modern İstanbul is all things to all people. If you're sipping tea in a cafe overlooking the Bosphorus in spring when the Judas trees are in vivid fuschia blossom you might think it the most beautiful city in the world. If you're changing buses in dreary Dudullu, however, you might think it one of the ugliest.

If you're strolling through Bebek on a balmy summer evening you might think it one of the trendiest places on earth. If you're browsing the market in Çarşamba, on the other hand, you might think it frighteningly conservative.

If you're cruising across to Üsküdar on the ferry you might think commuting was never more enjoyable. If, on the other hand, you're squashed into an overcrowded Metrobus to Avcılar you might think sardines have it easy.

If you're staying in the Four Seasons on the Bosphorus you might think hotels don't come much more wonderfully romantic. If you're putting up in an Aksaray fleapit, however, you might wonder what became of the modern İstanbul about which you've heard so much.

The one thing everyone can agree upon, however, is that İstanbul is achingly historic and you'll need a good three or four days just to tick off the real must-see sights. With only one day in transit you'll be hard-pressed to decide what to prioritise.

Aksaray & Around

Anadolu Hisarı & Küçüksu


Atatürk Bulvarı & Around


Belgrade Forest

Beylerbeyi & Çengelköy






Cibali, Fener & Balat



Divan Yolu

Dolmabahçe & Beşiktaş

Edirnekapı & Around



Fatih & Çarşamba

Florya & Yeşilköy

Galata & Şişhane

Golden Horn

Grand Bazaar Area


Greater İstanbul

Hasköy & Sutluce

İstiklal Caddesi

Kadıköy & Around



Kasımpaşa & Aynalıkavak

Kocamustafapaşa (Samatya)

Küçük Ayasofya & Kadırga



Paşabahçe & Beykoz

Pera & Tepebaşı


Princes' Islands

Rumeli Hisarı & Aşiyan

Sirkeci & Eminönü

Süleymaniye & Around

Sultanahmet & Cankurtaran

Tarlabaşı & Dolapdere



Vefa & Küçük Pazarı



İstanbul accommodation

Read about the Byzantine churches that became mosques: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-183418-117-from-church-to-mosque-istanbuls-forgotten-byzantine-heritage.html

Read about the works of Mimar Sinan in İstanbul: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=186249

Read about the mosques Sinan didn't build: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-186934-117-istanbul-the-mosques-sinan-didnt-build.html

Read about the work of the Balyans: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-218437-istanbul-and-the-baroque----the-bountiful-balyans.html

Read about the Cerrahpaşa neighbourhood: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-210898-cerrahpasa-a-forgotten-corner-of-old-istanbul.html

Read about the Eyüp neighbourhood: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-261995-following-in-the-footsteps-of-the-sultans-at-eyup.html

Read about artistic İstanbul: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-206321-istanbul-for-art-lovers.html

Read about İstanbul's parks and gardens: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-209014-the-greener-face-of-istanbul.html

Read about İstanbul's hisoric water-supply monuments: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-184779-in-search-of-istanbuls-historic-water-supply.html

Read about what lies beneath İstanbul: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-229399-going-underground---istanbul-beneath-your-feet.html

Read about the shopping arcades of İstiklal Caddesi: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-261355-doing-the-istiklal-caddesi-passeggio.html

Find out where the sultans are buried: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-189511-on-the-trail-of-the-sultans-burial-places.html

Read about the Küçüksu and Beylerbeyi Palaces: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=179944

Read about the Ihlamur, Maslak, Yildız & Aynakavak palaces: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=180646

Find out about First National Architecture in İstanbul: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-198761-nationalism-in-stone-istanbuls-forgotten-masterpieces.html

Read about Art Nouveau in İstanbul: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-197362-istanbuls-forgotten-art-nouveau-heritage.html

Explore the hans of Eminönü: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&newsId=231308&link=231308

Read about a cruise along the Golden Horn: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-220965-exploring-istanbuls-glorious-golden-horn.html

Read about the Pera Palace Hotel and the Orient Express: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-223298-the-pera-palace-hotel-and-the-ghosts-of-the-orient-express.html

Read about the Polish suburb of Polonezköy: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-176161-little-poland-in-istanbul-polonezkoy.html

Read about two Black Sea boltholes: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-174829-istanbul-meets-the-black-sea-agva-and-sile.html

Read more about the Princes' Islands: http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=174179

Read about day trip destinations from İstanbul: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-256369-day-tripping-out-of-istanbul.html












Events Calendar

October 2022
25 26 27 28 29 30 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31 1 2 3 4 5

Exchange Rates