Istanbul is arguably the most important city in Turkey, housing almost 20 million people (making it one of the most heavily populated cities in the world) and representing enormous historical significance. Whilst Ankara may be the capital of the country, Istanbul is often mistaken as the capital due to its size, importance, and popularity among tourists. Istanbul is an extraordinary city, perhaps almost by default due to its location, lying along the banks of the Bosphorous, which links the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea, and thus acting as a symbolic (and physical) bridge between Asia and Europe. Historically, this has meant that Istanbul holds enormous importance for trade, and thus it has been the heart of several huge empires (in particular the late Roman empire, the Byzantine empire, and lastly the Ottoman empire). This importance has led it to become one of the most interesting cities in the world from a cultural perspective, with a rich history that dates back thousands of years. It is for these reasons that so many tourists choose to visit Istanbul, either as part of a longer holiday to one of Turkey's many beach resorts, or as a lengthy trip to explore one of the world's great cities.
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Popular Tourist Destinations and Landmarks in Istanbul
Perhaps the first thing you'll want to do when you start exploring Istanbul is to take in some of the historical monuments that dominate areas of the city. In particular, head to the area of Sultanahmet Square, where you'll find famous monuments such as the Topkapi palace and the Basilica Cistern. A walk around the old city is also a must, with stunning architecture and beautiful monuments scattered around the area. You can combine a trip to the Church of St Savior in the old city with a trip to the impressive Theodosian walls, which acted as the first line of defence in the late Roman empire, and remain in excellent condition. ... Read the rest