As Istanbul is a transcontinental city, it can be described as a delightful meeting place of the East and West. Several powerful kingdoms had fought for dominance over this city owing to its strategic location. Many of the merchants who travelled the Silk Road in the past also decided to settle down in the city and gave it a cosmopolitan environment. Some of the greatest architectural wonders built during the rule of the Byzantine Empire have stood the test of time and continue to draw a large number of visitors to Istanbul every year. Also worth exploring are the magnificent mosques built by the Ottoman rulers, which you’ll get to visit during your time spent in this majestic Turkish city.
One of the most famous mosques you can explore with your Istanbul holidays is Sultan Ahmed Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque. This mosque has been named after Sultan Ahmed I, the Turkish Sultan who ruled this region during the early 17th century and under whose reign it was constructed. Upon its completion, it had caused an angry reaction in the Muslim world as its number of minarets equalled that of the Great Mosque of Makkah. To stop the growing dissent, a seventh minaret was finally sent to Makkah. The Blue Mosque gets its name from the blue shades on the upper portions of its domes and minarets.
Yet another charming mosque you can visit while holidaying in this city is the Suleymaniye Mosque. It was built on the orders of the Turkish Sultan, Suleiman I, who is popularly known as Suleiman the Magnificent. The mosque was designed by the renowned imperial architect of those times, Mimar Sinan. Its construction began before 1550 and was completed in 1557. The awe-inspiring architecture of this mosque attracts many tourists every year and the mosque is also used by many worshippers to offer their prayers.
Don’t miss the Rustem Pasha Mosque during your Istanbul holidays. It is another fabulous work of architecture by Mimar Sinan and was completed in 1563. Located in the Fatih District, this mosque is home to some of the beautiful hand-painted blue, red, and green tiles. As the mosque is relatively less popular than the Blue Mosque, you’ll have lesser crowds during your visit and this would allow you to see all the intricate works closely. A visit to this mosque also gives you the chance to explore the Spice Bazaar located nearby.
The Fatih District is home to another beautiful mosque called the Fatih Mosque. It was built on the orders of Sultan Mehmed II, commonly known as Mehmed the Conqueror, between 1463 and 1470. The mosque was rebuilt using a different design in 1771 after the original structure was damaged about 5 years earlier in a devastating earthquake. This mosque is one of the shining examples of classic Turkish-Islamic architecture. The Sahn-i Seman Medrese, which was a part of this mosque, was in use until the early 20th century. It was an educational complex founded by Ali Qushji, a Turkish astronomer.
Istanbul is Turkey’s world-renowned city, which has been of great economic and cultural importance since ancient times. In the early years of its establishment, it was called ‘Byzantium’. In the following years, it came to be known as ‘Constantinople’ and was finally named ‘Istanbul’ when the region was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Considering the fact that it is a trans-continental city that spans parts of Europe and Asia, you can experience the cultural offerings of both sides. The recent increase in the number of tourists visiting this city can be attributed to the naming of this city as the ‘European Capital of Culture’ in 2010 by the European Union (EU).
You can plan your holidays to Istanbul for the winter season if you wish to grab some excellent deals on hotel stays. Winters in the city from the month of December to February are characterised by extremely cold weather with unpredictable rains. As many of the tourists don’t visit during this chilly climate, the hotels are quite forthcoming in offering unbelievable discounts on their room rates. If you wish to visit this part of Turkey during a more pleasant climate and also have cheaper accommodations, plan your holiday during the period between March and May or September and November.
From June to August, this city experiences a hot weather. However, if you assume that most of the tourists would stay away from this city owing to the heat and you can get cheap holidays to Istanbul during this time of the year, you’d be taken by surprise. Even in this hot climate, tourists continue to arrive in this Turkish city in large numbers. Istanbul has many historical sites and some magnificent structures that were built during the ancient times and rebuilt in the following years. They are among the major attractions that draw tourists from different parts of the globe every year to this majestic city.
One of the most famous ancient structures you can explore during your holidays to Istanbul is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which is popularly known as the ‘Blue Mosque’. It was constructed during the 17th century on the orders of the Ottoman ruler of those times, Sultan Ahmed I. This charming mosque has a wonderful architecture and looks fantastic with a bluish shade on its interior walls and domes. Located close to this mosque is another architectural marvel called Aya Sofya, also called ‘Hagia Sophia’ by many. It was inaugurated in the year 360 when the Roman Emperor Constantius II ruled this part of the world.
The Basilica Cistern is another interesting ancient structure you can visit during your time spent in the city. Constructed with 336 columns arranged in 12 rows, this fabulous structure still amazes tourists. It was built during the times when the region was ruled by the Byzantine emperors and was used as a source of water supply for them. While exploring the structure you’ll get to see the beautifully-lit columns and a delightful ambience that gives a magical appearance to the entire place.
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The economic and cultural hub of Turkey, Istanbul was known as Byzantium and Constantinople during the ancient times. It was given its present name when the Ottomans established their rule over the country during the 15th century. This transcontinental city spans the continents of Europe and Asia, linked by the Bosporus Strait. The historical and commercial centre of this city is in the European part and one-third of its population resides in the Asian part. It is owing to this unique feature that the city is considered as a bridge between the East and West.
Your cheap Istanbul holidays would give you the chance to explore the city’s most fabulous structures and many of them were built during the Ottoman era. The more ancient sites remind you of the rich history of this city, which can be traced back to 660 BC when the Greek settlers established it as Byzantium. It was followed by a short-lived rule by the Persians. The war between the Greeks and Persians later resulted in the recapture of Byzantium by the Greeks. After the 1st century, it prospered under the rule of the Roman Empire. The city came to be known as ‘Constantinople’, when it was ruled by the Roman Emperor, Constantine, also known as ‘Constantine the Great’.
During the Fourth Crusade in the early 13th century, the city was taken over by the Catholic crusaders and the Byzantine Empire was created. In the 15th century, the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople after a siege that lasted 8 weeks. It came under the rule of Sultan Mehmet II ‘The Conqueror’ and was declared the Ottoman Empire’s capital. The grand church, Hagia Sophia, was converted into an imperial mosque and came to be known as ‘Aya Sofya’. Your cheap holidays to Istanbul would give you the opportunity to explore this magnificent structure and its majestic surroundings.
Sultan Mehmet II created a cosmopolitan society by inviting people from various parts of Europe to settle in Constantinople. Tragedy struck years later when the epidemic of plague reduced the population of 500,000 residents to merely 1,800. Mehmet II later began a redevelopment process, which witnessed the construction of the Grand Bazaar and the Topkapi Palace. While getting around in the city during your cheap holiday to Istanbul, you can visit these fabulous attractions that have stood the test of time. Under the Ottomans, the city got transformed from a major centre of Christianity to a symbol of flourishing Islamic culture.
The rule of Suleiman the Magnificent was a golden period in the history of the Ottoman Empire. It saw the development of arts and the construction of several architectural wonders. By the end of 18th century, the population of the city grew to 570,000. The city was named ‘Istanbul’ and the rule of Sultan Mahmud II saw considerable political reforms and the introduction of new technology. The 19th and early-20th centuries saw a period of instability and wars, which ultimately ended with Turkey becoming a republic on the 29th of October, 1923.
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