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. 

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Mosques on the banks of the Bosphorus in Istanbul`s Sultanahmet district
Hagia Sophia cathedral was built in 537 and remained the largest Church in the world for more than 1100 years
The main nave of Hagia Sophia is surrounded by galleries that support 107 columns from malachite and Egyptian porphyry
The altar part of the Cathedral of Ayia Sofia, where now instead of the iconostasis are the Minbar and the mihrab
The mosque of Sultan Ahmed (Blue mosque) was built in 1616
The interior of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul
Cistern Yerebatan (translated as the Sunken Palace) was built by the Emperor Justinian in 532 to store water
The most famous columns in the Yerebatan Cistern - with face Medusa the Gorgon. From no they ancient temple - is unknown
Cannon gate - the main symbol of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul
Fountain of Sultan Ahmed III in front of the Imperial gate, where you can enter the Topkapi Palace
The interior of the harem in the Topkapi Palace was decorated Iznik tiles
South the main entrance to the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul
The Ceremonial hall of Dolmabahce Palace rises significantly above other buildings of the Palace
The main Gate of the Treasure in the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul
Bosphorus gate, which visitors could use in case of coming to Dolmabahce Palace by ship
Suleymaniye mosque is higher than Blue mosque. The height of the dome is 53 meters and the diameter is 27 meters.
The interior of the Suleymaniye mosque in Istanbul
The complex of the Grand Bazaar, which occupy several blocks, was built in 1461
Quarter in the Grand Bazaar, where carpets and textiles are sold
The district of Galata on the opposite shore of the Golden horn from the Sultanahmet district
Dolmabahce mosque on the banks of the Bosphorus in Istanbul
The Archaeological Museum is located in the yard of the Janissaries of Topkapi Palace, on a hill above Gulhane Park
Marble sarcophagus of Alexander the great from the necropolis in Sidon (4th century BC) in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul