Istanbul had me at hello. It’s ancient, yet modern. Intimidating, yet mellow. There is nothing quite like this city – vibrant, captivating and has a very unique personality. It is never short of interesting history and amazing culture. And the food, oh the mouthwatering foods!
For many years, the city was known as Constantinople, named after Constantine The Great before it officially became ‘Istanbul’ in the early 1900s. It is the only transcontinental city in the world that straddles two continents, Europe and Asia.
One of the locals’ favourite pastimes is playing backgammon or “tavla” in Turkish. They love to play it on the streets, parks and in front of shops and cafes.
Fishing along the Galata Bridge is apparently another local favourite. Fresh fish goes right straight into the grill for a delicious fish sandwich or “balik ekmek.”
Known as Hagia Sophia in Greek, Sancta Sophia in Latin and the Church of the Divine Wisdom in English, Aya Sofya is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful icons famous for its par excellence architecture, incredible art and rich history. Before it became a museum in 1934 under the order of Atatürk, Turkey’s first president, Aya Sofya was a church built between 532-537 by Emperor Justinian. Then in 1453, it was converted into a mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror.
More reasons to fall in love with Istanbul in the next few posts. Get ready to be dazzled.