Istanbul

I hope you had a great time the past week. I, for one, had a brilliant time travelling abroad to one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey: Istanbul.

Do you know anything about this city? It is the only city in the world divided between Europe and Asia, and has an impressive history.

When I travel, I love to get informed about the history and customs of the place I visit, so here is a little bit of history about this gorgeous place, which has been inhabited by many different peoples with different religions and customs.

What is now called Asian Istanbul was probably inhabited by people as early as 3000 BC. Later in the early 100’s BC, it became part of the Roman Empire and in 306 AD, Emperor Constantine the Great made Byzantium capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. From that point on, the city was known as Constantinople, and became the capital of the Byzatine Empire.

In 1453, when Constantinople was very weakened by almost constant invasions and battles, the Ottoman Turks led by Sultan Mehmet II were able to conquer the city. Renamed Istanbul, it became the third and last capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Ottoman rule continued until it was defeated in WWI and Istanbul was occupied by the allies. When the Republic of Turkey was born in 1923 after the War of Independence, Kemal Ataturk moved the capital to the city of Ankara.

It is indeed, a beautiful place where you can see the mixture of the different cultures which have lived here thoughout the centuries.

The most beautiful building (in my opinion) is the Blue Mosque, one of the most important mosques in the city, built in the 17th century, and Hagia Sofia, a religious building (now a museum) from the 4th century, which is considered the best example of Byzantine architecture.

Hagia Sophia

One of the most striking things is to hear the call for prayer from the mosques, and to see the mixture of people both in European and Islamic fashion, and the Bosphorus, the strait that separates Asian Istambul from European Istambul.

And the only bad thing about it was that it was really cold! Look at me in the picture below, it was freezing!

The new mosque

Here you have some more pictures of my trip:

Which is the place you’d like to visit some day?