The capitals of ancient empires have always been very attractive for tourists. Here belongs Istanbul (former Constantinople), which is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Istanbul is located on both sides of the Bosporus Strait – one part of the city is in Europe and the other part is in Asia. A large prospering city just couldn`t but appear in this place. Due to its geographical location, for centuries the city had been the main link in the trade between Europe and Asia.
The city witnessed many historic events. It survived the rise and fall of two great empires – the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. The Byzantine and Ottoman empires were the cradles of Christianity and Islam, respectively. The intersection of the East and the West, Europe and Asia, Islam and Christianity create a special atmosphere in the city.
All main historic sights are within the old part of the city, also known the Sultanhmet. From one side Istanbul are washed by the Marble Sea, and from the other side it is washed by the waters of the Golden Horn. The great works of ancient architects, the Hagia Sophia Cathedral and the magnificent Blue Mosque, face each other as the witnesses of the competition of two world cultures - Christianity and Islam. Nearby is a huge territory of the sultan`s palace – the Topkapi; you must visit these places.
The rulers of all empires have always tried to outstrip what was done before them. Originally, the rulers of the so-called Eastern Roman Empire tried to outdo what was built in Rome. Then the rulers of the independent Byzantine Empire tried to surpass their predecessors. The Turks, having captured Constantinople, tried in their turn to outdo what was created by the Christians. Such competition resulted in the creation of the impressive architectural monuments.
Also, you should visit the Suleiman mosque and the market area, as well as have an evening walk on the shore of the Golden Horn. There are a lot of restaurants there. From the opposite shore, from the Galata Tower you can have a very picturesque view of the historic part of the city.