I've never had a layover in Istanbul but I just read about this program offered by Turkish Airlines. If you have a layover in Istanbul between 6 and 24 hours and are flying on Turkish Airlines, you can get a free tour of Istanbul with the TourIstanbul program.
The tours are everyday from 9:00 to 18:00, from 9:00 to 15:00 or from 12:00 to 18:00. Everything on the tour appears to be included, admission, food and the guide service.
Istanbul: Memories and the City, by Orhan Pamuk - translated from Turkish into many languages
Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924, by Philip Mansel
Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire, by Judith Herrin
I think that its time to help the visitors of Istanbul.
know already that, Istanbul is situated in two continents.Small portion on Asian side ...The most popular places of Asian side are Kadikoy,Uskudar,Beykoz,Maltepe,Bostanci,Tuzla,Pendik...
The European side is divided with a small bay which is called Golden Horn (Halic in Turkish)
The Old Town is situated in the left side ( west) of golden horn and famous places are called Eminonu,Sultanahmet,Fatih,Beyazit...
On the east side(east)of Golden Horn take place the modern site of Istanbul famous places are called Galata,Taksim,Beyoglu,Sisli,Levent,
Bosphorus is the channel between two continents and it links the Black sea with Marmara sea .There are also 2 bridges(Ataturk bridge,Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge) which links the Europe with Asia.
Even though the name of the movie is "From Russia With Love", this Sean Connery James Bond film was largely filmed in Istanbul. I watched the film after I returned from Istanbul, it was fun to pick out the places it was filmed, Hagia Sophia, the cisterns, along the Bosphorus, inside the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque.
Another James Bond movie, "Skyfall" with Daniel Craig was partially filmed in Istanbul but it wasn't as heavily featured as it was in "From Russia With Love"
"Topkapi Palace" and "Midnight Express"
In addition to having a valid passport, US visitors must obtain a visa for travel to Turkey. Unlike some of the ones you must get in advance, you can purchase the visa upon arrival to Turkey, currently it is $20 and you can use US currency. The visa is valid for 90 days.It's always advisable to check on the Embassy Website in case visa requirements change.
US citizens can apply for an e-visa in advance, according to the website the primary advantage is saving time in the queue upon arrival. The disadvantage is that if you change your travel plans and arrive earlier than anticipated or if you cancel your trip, you are out $20 x the number of travelers. If you arrive earlier than expected, you have to pay for another visa. Here's the website for the e-visa. The e-visa was processed within a couple of minutes so you don't need to get it more than a couple of days before traveling, If they are charging more than $20US, you may have gone to a visa service website, there is no need to do this.
If you get the e-visa, you don't get the visa stamp in your passport (it used to look like a postage stamp) and you should carry the e-visa printout every time you fly in Turkey or out of Turkey. We only showed ours on arrival.
Ataşehir as a county had been connected to İstanbul. After the annals, Ataşehir became a county of Ataşehir. In general, when considering to becoming county it may be connected to develop the area.
If we need to mention that change we must go down to history of the region. Changing of settlement in this region, the property belonged to the individual. Later the state confiscated the region and many different construction companies invested inputs by purchasing land in this area. As a result of these investments which are held with State support and encouragement the entire region has became a satellite town. These initiatives took place at the beginning of2000. However, the area maintains the distinction of being the most important investment field of construction companies.
After the district, Ataşehir , hasn’t searched for the development, has taken the ability to address to needs and tastes of people in almost every area. With luxury sites, it offers people a comfortable life. People who live there have places to face easily the needs. Previously even the non- settlement of this region from other areas people are now also begun to come and go. That’s why is the region has many brand in the world- famous. There are two shopping malls and we can say these malls help to development.
These are the general thoughts of people when saying Ataşehir, however in almost every district of İstanbul , there are a paradox of this county as well as socio- economic. For this reason, occurring changes in the perception of the general Ataşehir must be normally met.
Bağcılar (Vineyards or Vine growers) is located in European side of Istanbul and the county is known for the highest density of population in Istanbul. Also, the county is one of the first places known for the migration, generally from Eastern Anatolia Region.
Bağcılar was a town of Bakırköy. In 1992 it became a county of Istanbul. Bağcılar has an important history but there isn’t enough knowledge about history, perhaps it was not studied for details. The most important and precise information known is that there were much more Greek population and Greek villages. The county has feature of being one of Mahmutbey which is name given to the villages inhabited by Greeks. The name of the county was Cıfıtburgaz in that time.
As most of the districts in European side, the county was declared from Greeks and Greek population after established of the Republic. It is known that the Turks were brought from Salonika and Bulgaria and placed in Bağcılar. Approximately seventeen thousand acres of land which was called Yeşilbağ was given them, however, as a result of industrialization the green and viticulture were ended so the name was changed. The population provided economic development with viticulture until 1975 but as we mentioned above, the district grown up seriously unplanned because of migration from Anatolia. This is also reason that in 1990 Bağcılar was very crooked placements and hadn’t enough infrastructure. In 1992, economic development was started to correct and inadequate infrastructure was fixed largely. Today, the county continues to develop.
The county’s based sector is the textile now. Important commercial establishments are placed in Bağcılar and provide significant employments. Metal works, food and transportation sectors are developing in the county as well as textile. The agriculture is not made any more because industrialization is developed so greenery is reduced and natural appearance is lost.
Bahçelievler (houses with gardens) is a suburb which is established on 11 districts. There are no village and parish depending on the suburb. In 1950s, there were two villages one of which was Yenibosna and another one is Kocasinan.
Bahçelievler provided big improvements as a result that construction sectors invested in these regions. The architecture of the region is consistent with the general features of Istanbul, however, the suburb is faced with challenges as well as many other districts of Istanbul. Undoubtedly, the most important thing is irregularity of structures. There are good-looking apartment buildings, however, the squatter settlements are often seen. In recent years, numbers of shopping centers and sites have been increasing and the suburb has started to develop. The population in here began to increase especially after 1960. As all the suburbs of Istanbul, increasing population is much more in the European side especially the areas of Bahçelievler. Rapid growth of population has caused of many problems. Living standards are decreasing while numbers of people are increasing. The job opportunities and work force of the suburb are not the same, therefore, there are no development. Health services in Bahçelievler have started to be insufficient but in recent years it is mentioned an improvement of health services with the State Hospital, health centers and houses.
In Bahçelievler, there are the large and small commercial enterprises. The commercial organizations are established for the needs of people. Beside the commercial organizations, there are shopping centers located in the county for the needs of people too. Shopping centers have begun to be established in almost every district of Istanbul. In addition to these, because of close to Bakırköy, Bahçelievler has a chance to be near beaches.
We will promote a new suburb of Istanbul which is located in the European side. The suburb is Başakşehir. Başakşehir was a district of Küçükçekmece until 2008. After this date Başakşehir gained the status of a county and the county began to develop rapidly. The county has several neighbors which are the inner regions of the European side such as Arnavutköy, Eyüp, Sultangazi, Esenler, Bağcılar, Küçükçekmece and Avcılar. Başakşehir has not a coastline on the Black Sea or the Marmara Sea and it consists of three main regions, these are Başak (virgo) houses, Altınşehir and Bahçeşehir and these areas were located in the boundaries of Küçükçekmece and Büyükçekmece but after combined them, Başakşehir was established.
The county was established in an area which has a very old history. The name of this region was Azatlık during the Ottoman Era and gunpowder was manufactured in here, also the all requirements of gunpowder had been producing in this region. Later, the region became known as the Farm of Resneli. However, with the privatization and subdivision of farm lands it became to shape today’s Başakşehir. One of other features of the county is that Yarımburgaz Cave which was first settlement of Istanbul is placed in here. The cave is located on the way Kayabaşı in Altınşehir and is open to public as a cultural heritage. The cave, where can be found ruins of the Byzantine Empire, has been host to many films.
Another important feature that separates the county from other counties is that the largest artificial lake of Turkey is placed in here. In addition, if you search for social life areas, Sular Vadisi (Valley of Waters) and Başak Houses can be visited. Bahçeşehir is the most developed region and Altınşehir is the most problematic region in terms of infrastructure. Also, the largest stadium of Turkey was built in this county for enhancing the economic development, which name is the Atatürk Olympic Stadium but it has difficulty in transportation.
This was my district ....
When thought Beyoğlu, many elements are called such as historic buildings and places of entertainment. In fact, that is a natural condition. The most famous historical building is Galata Tower and it is known by everyone. We will talk about Galata Tower later.
Beyoğlu is located in the opposite of historical peninsula and Haliç which is known as Golden Horn. It is strange but the county’s border is moving on the inside and the inner parts of the Golden Horn are more developed then other inner parts. In ancient times, the name of the region was Pera meaning of which is against of the collar in the Greek language. After the conquest of Istanbul by Turks, the name of the region was changed as Beyoğlu. The name, Pera, was removed from the official correspondences in 1925s and the name, Beyoğlu, was begun to be used and still it is used.
Although Beyoğlu has an important history based on the first ages, there were not too many residential areas until the 16th century. Later, foreigners came to the area and settled in here and today’s Istiklal Street was a residential area of European. After this event, a different ethnic group began to occur in Istanbul. Structures and settlements were built the nearest of the Tunnel- Galatasaray Street in 1700. Then, Beyoğlu has grown with the settlements.
The most important school in the county is undoubtedly Galatasaray High School which has great training and great history. The county contains many historical buildings, especially there are a lot of museums exhibited historical artifacts. Historical Galatasaray Hamam (Turkish Bath), the Atatürk Cultural Centre, the Dolmabahçe Mosque, the German Palace, Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque and Aynalı Kavak Pavilion are only a few historical structures in this county.
If we talk about Galata Tower, we should start with its history. At first during the Byzantine Era, Galata Tower was built as a lighthouse and during 4th crusade this tower was damaged widely. In the next period, it was reconstructed by Genoese as the name of “Jesus Tower”. After that, Galata Tower has become the largest building of Beyoğlu. Another important feature of this tower is that Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi had flied to Üsküdar from the tower with wings made specially from wooden in the period of 4th Murat.
Büyükçekmece is located in the European side and the western coastal strip of Istanbul and the county is among the largest counties in terms of surface area. Also, Büyükçekmece is known as a cottage town so it is preferred for swimming in summer because it has clean and beautiful beaches. In addition this, the county has a long coastline, shopping centers, historical monuments, theaters, quality hotels, gyms and water parks. Briefly the county is developed. If we share with you very interesting statistical information, the county has the highest TV tower of Turkey and the third highest TV tower of Europe. In addition, the largest exhibition space of Turkey which is made by TÜYAP is located in Büyükçekmece and is in great demand.
Büyükçekmece is highly developed in terms of education and delivered to the desired level. There are 128 schools including kindergarten and also three campuses of private universities. Beside them, the county has a large public hospital and there are two private hospitals.
The county has lots of historical structures, we can list some of them,
1) Bridge of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent)
2) Kurşunlu Khan
3) Sokullu Mehmet Paşa Mosque
4) Imaret Mosque
5) Fountain of Kanuni Sultan Suleyman (Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent)
In Büyükçekmece, various festivals and events are organized, even the world’s third largest festival is held in here. This festival’s name is Büyükçekmece Culture and Art Festival and the festival have been organized in here since 2000, in every year on the second week of July. This festival is carried out the Republican Square of the county and starts and ends with huge fireworks. Until now, all artists whom you can guess have performed on the festival. You can come and enjoy.
Esenler is a county of Istanbul located in the European side and is neighbor of Bayrampaşa on the North. Total surface area of Esenler is 5.227 hectares.
The county’s population is occurred of people who came from Anatolia as in almost every county of Istanbul. Esenler is divided in a way from other surrounding counties and it is a feature for Esenler. Neighbors of the county are focused the industry in general, for example, Zeytinburnu is famous for especially leather weaving workshops. Another neighbor, Bayrampaşa, is famous for industry and trade. These counties have shown important developments in terms of industry and trade, however, Esenler has a different position because it is a residential area, therefore, there are apartments and houses in general. For the same reason, the population of the county is slightly greater than the surrounding counties. Of course, the county has many negative results because of more populated and one of which is urbanization. The people who migrated from Anatolia carry the village life to the city. The problem is continuing to create onerous and there are no step for solution.
Esenler is an old settlement unlike known and there are many historical remains. When you hear, you can be shocked but it is true. It is known that the first settlement in this county was made in the Byzantine Era. The evidences for the information can be found in many historical sources. Also, the Greeks are said to be the first people who set up settlements in this region. People who were living in villages dealt with agriculture and animal husbandry. The ethnic structures of villages of Greek settlements changed after the agreement of Lausanne and the citizens of Greek origins migrated to Greece so this area was discharged. Later, Turks from Balkans were placed in the area. Finally, we should say that Esenler was a county at the end of 1993, before the date the county is a district of Bakırköy.
Fatih is located in the European side of Istanbul but the county covers the region where was founded Istanbul called as the historical peninsula. In other words, in ancient times this region was known as the real Istanbul or Constantine, so Fatih has lots of heritages.
Eminönü participated in the boundaries of Fatih in 2008 and the importance of Fatih increased. The municipality of Fatih expanded significantly after involved in Eminönü. Can you think that there are 57 districts in the boundaries of Fatih? After the participation of Eminönü, Fatih has gained a single view which is covering the whole historical peninsula.
As a result of expanding the state, many historical areas bound to the municipality of Fatih. Numerous historical mosques and churches are located in the county. There are almost no rural residential areas but there are lots of developed areas in terms of economically. Of course these areas are around the historical values. Foreign tourists visit these regions in every year, for example, Hagia Sophia and Sultan Ahmet Mosque are only two of the great important structures. Beside these, the University of Istanbul which was founded in 1453 is located in this county.
Tourism is most important thing in terms of economy as we said. But beside tourism, the region is an important point in terms of export. Workshops and stores working for abroad are located in Beyazıt and Laleli. To sum up, this region is the hearth of Istanbul’s foreign trade. Also the region can be considered a major point for improvement of this area. Especially, the Grand Bazaar in Beyazıt is the world’s oldest and largest bazaar. The rush hours during the day, you can see half a million people in the bazaar. In ancient times, there were many different shops but today the Grand Bazaar is a center of gold and jewelry.
Also, in the county Çemberlitaş, Gülhane Square, Beyazıt Square and Beyazıt Tower, the Monastery of Hora, Basilica Cistern, Sultan Ahmet Square are historical values visited by tourists as much as Grand Bazaar, Hajia Sophia, Sultan Ahmet Mosque.
Gaziosmanpaşa is one of the late period settlements of Istanbul. The county has completed the development after the 1950s. Traffic problem that is one of the general problems of Istanbul are much more than other counties, but after Topkapı Habibler tram lines have been opened, the suburb has modern transport network. For this reason the people who migrate from Anatolia prefer Gaziosmanpaşa.
Gaziosmanpaşa has 16 districts. The suburb has been the most populous county of Istanbul until recent years, however, this has changed because some regions was shifted borders of other counties. According to the census in 1990, the county had very young population, even half of the total population was occurred people who were under 20 years old.
Formerly, the area of Gaziosmanpaşa was included in the boundaries of Eyüp and Çatalca. The center of the county was full of fields until 1950 today there are lots of buildings. Gaziosmanpaşa was rocky and unproductive land which was area of Eyüp. Then, workshops which were industrial types were established by family living there. In 1950s, the Turkish families from the Balkans were placed in these regions and lots of houses were built in here for the families, so a residential area was composed where called Taşlıtarla. After the area had been expanded, today’s county was composed. So Taşlıtarla was the basic of the today’s Gaziosmanpaşa.
Taşlıtarla was called as the slum area until recent time and unplanned construction caused such a bad showing. The population increased rapidly because of the migrations from Anatolia and people tried to live like a village so built some slums. However, in recent years, developing technology is shown around and in the area and innumerous plazas which are constructed in here are evidences the changes.
Kağıthane is one of the counties of Istanbul placed in the European side and it is surrounded by other counties, Beşiktaş is located in the east, Eyüp is in the west and Şişli is in the north and south. Kağıthane has short coastline of the Golden Horn where Kağıthane Creek finishes. The county is uneven in general. As a natural result of the bumps the county includes the rivers and valleys. However, these areas are used as residential areas because of the rapidly increasing population of Istanbul.
Kağıthane Creek is located in Kağıthane as it is understood and the old name of it was “Barbios” used in the Byzantine period. Although it is not known exactly, it is said that the name of county comes from a paper mill which was located in here. Also it is claimed that there were flour mills in ancient times. In addition, the sport of javelin activities are said to be organized in the flat areas of the county. People are known to fill the region with cars and boats in ancient times especially in the entertainment time of county, in spring. Beside them, the region was a place to host of the Patron Halil Rebellion and this caused big damages. Although Sultans made the county repaired, it was never built as the former. The Çağlayan (waterfall) Pavilion with many parts were destroyed during the Second World War, so there are little historical ruins in Kağıthane.
Although the county was destroyed and has such debris regions, it has shown important improvement in recent years. Industrial and entertainment centers of the county are seen to be collected in the southern of the county. The main reason for this is one of neighbor, Şişli because level of income and living standards are higher than the other neighbors of Kağıthane.
The population of Kağıthane consists of people who migrated to work from Anatolia as nearly entire counties of Istanbul.
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