The city of Istanbul has been the site of many civilizations for approximately three thousand years. The ancient tribes living here were colonised by the Greeks. Then it fell to the Roman republic and was known as Byzantium until 330 AD when it was renamed Constantinople after the Roman emperor Constantine. The Byzantine empire ended when it was conquered by Muslims and became the capital of the Ottoman empire. Hence, the influence of Christianity in the city and the many churches especially the magnificent Hagia Sofia are visible landmarks of that era. Thankfully, most of the Christian legacy were not destroyed by the Ottoman empire.
We entered to Istanbul from Asia side, crossed the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge over Bhosphorus Straits into Europe side passing the famous Turkish football stadium home to Galatasaray FC. We reached Sultanahmet, the historical part of the city just in time for lunch. Our hotel for our 3 nights extension, the Hippodrome hotel is located in this area just behind the famous Blue Mosque.
Our tour itinenary for the rest of the afternoon was a Bhosporus cruise, visit to the Spice Market, Taksim Square and Istiklal street.
|Our tour group have the entire boat to ourselves|
|Galata tower stand tall over the other buildings|
|Four Seasons Hotel at the Bhosphorus|
|Ortakoy Mosque with the Bogazici Bridge in the backround|
|The ladies charmed by a handsome young Turk|
|He's carving out sweet treats. It is like nougat.|