Istanbul’s combination of religious history and vibrant, cultural influences make it a dream destination for the most experienced travelers. Throughout its history, many empires have ruled in Turkey. The influences of Roman, Egyptian, Byzantine, and more remain apparent in the city’s architecture, art, and traditions. Straddling the Bosphorous Strait, the narrow passage that joins the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, Istanbul has connected trade and culture between Europe and Asia for millennia.
You will want to stop at the Grand Bazaar to get a true feel for the present-day culture of the city. Filled with merchants, artisans, and authentic wares, the bazaar provides a vibrant backdrop for a little holiday shopping. The rush of locals haggling back and forth to get the best prices will sweep you up in the energy of the people and make you want to join in.
For the traveler that wants an intimate experience with Istanbul’s traditions, a visit to a hamam, the famous Turkish baths, fits the criteria. The city has transformed the historically Roman baths into spa-like sites for the modern explorer’s needs. Structures crafted from shining marble give these baths a classic look and feel with contemporary amenities, bringing together the best of both past and present.
Some of the most beautiful architecture in Istanbul is found in the mosques. These sacred spaces filled with centuries of religious history inspire awe with their colorful paintings and intricate patterns throughout the interiors. Their grand appearances from the outside also create a striking view when roaming the bustling streets of the city.