A dream city

Istanbul is located in the northwestern part of Turkey within the Marmara Region. It was developed along the Bosphorus strait, which connects the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and the fifth largest city in the world, with a population of 11 million.

Istanbul is a city where two continents meet. Three major empires ruled from this city — the Romans, the Byzantines and the Ottomans — and each of these left their mark, both culturally and architecturally. Until 1261, Istanbul was the capital city of the Latin Empire. During the Ottoman Empire, the Ottomans laid siege to Istanbul in 1453 and thereafter Istanbul became the capital city of Ottoman Empire.

Istanbul has been recognized by the world, as it was chosen as a “European City of Culture 2010” and “European Capital of Sport 2012.” This dream city also has a beautiful climate.

Istanbul is also known as a city that has a diversity of impressive historical works and buildings from the periods of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. One of the important towers on the Bosphorus is the Maiden’s Tower. The interior of the tower has been transformed into a popular cafe and restaurant with an excellent view of the former Roma, Byzantine and Ottoman capital. Furthermore, the famous Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. The interior, with its magnificent domed ceiling, stuns most into silence. The mosque Sultanahmet — Blue Mosque — is one of the most commonly visited mosques in Istanbul. The Blue Mosque was built during 1603-1617 and has six minarets. It is widely believed that the Blue Mosque is one of the most impressive monuments in the world. Accordingly, Istanbul is considered a highly attractive and popular city for tourists. In 2008, about seven million tourists visited Istanbul.

Istanbul is also an excellent place for honeymoons, not only for Turkish people but also foreigners. Extensive numbers of Europeans spend their weekends in Istanbul. There are huge numbers of flights from most of the European cities to Istanbul, either as regular flights or charter flights. Foreigners and Istanbul’s people fall in love with this dream city. Istanbul has represented a city of love for thousands of years. Istanbul is a city to fall in love with.

Many poets have written poems about Istanbul. A very famous one is “I’m Listening to Istanbul” and its poet is Orhan Veli Kanik. Here is small part of it:

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;
At first there blows a gentle breeze
And the leaves on the trees
Softly flutter or sway;
Out there, far away,
The bells of water carriers incessantly ring;
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;
Still giddy since bygone bacchanals,
A seaside mansion with dingy boathouses is fast asleep,
Amid the din and drone of southern winds, reposed,
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

Cagla Cakmak has fallen in love with Istanbul and hopes you will too.