In recent years, Istanbul was designated the European Capital of Culture for 2010, as well as Europe’s Best Destination in an international survey by www.europeanbestdestinations.org. Here are just a few examples of why it’s time to visit Istanbul.
1. Cutting-Edge Cuisine Meets Fabulous Traditional Fare. Sahlep, mokka, köfte, menemen, kanafe, and gözleme, to name just a few: the cuisine is brimming over with exotic tastes and fascinating culinary combinations. Istanbul’s vibrant restaurant scene offers a remarkable mix of traditional and global cuisines. Traditional local restaurants serve a marvelous array of authentic Turkish cuisine from around the country, alongside avant-garde Mediterranean fusion hotspots. Check out www.istanbuleats.com for more great foodie tips.
2. Cross the Waters that Both Separate and Unite Asia and Europe. Pass from one continent to the other in five minutes by car or boat, or sail down the Bosphorus, one of the world’s busiest waterways. Take a ride on the old-style ferry boats from Eminonu, where the Bosphorus begins, up to Anadolu Kavagi near its mouth to the Black Sea – the very spot where the famous Greek mythological heroes Jason and the Argonauts sailed in their ship, the Argo, past ominous rocks and crashing waves.
3. To Live the Energy of One of Europe’s Largest and Most Cosmopolitan Cities. Istanbul is a metropolis teeming with life, full of culture and surprises. No two visits are the same – whatever interests you, Istanbul is sure to oblige. Whether it is cuisine, music, history, architecture, nightlife, or just a good cafe where you can take in the sights and sounds, Istanbul has it in spades.
4. Visit breathtaking landmarks of architecture. Istanbul is home to architectural must-sees such as the Suleymaniye and Blue Mosques, and the Basilica Cistern “Sunken Palace”, to name just a few. And no visit to Istanbul is complete without visiting the Hagia Sophia, the exquisite domed Byzantine masterpiece that is considered to have changed the history of architecture.
5. A Market Experience Unlike Any Other. Istanbul is one of the most impressive shopping cities the world over. Don’t miss the frenetic Grand Bazaar, where you’ll find local stall owners selling their wares amidst a vibrant, chaotic and exciting scene of gorgeous rugs, cloth, jewelry and exotic homewares. Another essential shopping trip is to the Spice Markets, which offers endless rows of fragrant spices and delectable sweets piled high in handmade wooden baskets.
6. To witness the history of the Byzantine Empire. When the Roman Empire split up into eastern and western empires in 395, the Byzantine era burgeoned with Constantinople as its capital. For over a thousand years, the predominantly Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire witnessed dynasties and declines, renaissances and resurgences and cemented Istanbul as a world metropolis of culture.
7. To walk in the footsteps of Ottoman pashas and sultans. Trace the 600-year-long adventure of the Ottoman Empire’s most glorious times up to the founding of the modern republic – one of Europe’s most dynamic and varied countries.
8. Experience Old Europe at Reasonable Prices. Fortunately for budget travelers in particular, Istanbul is still a reasonably-priced destination. Bargains abound for those willing to get off the beaten path.
9. Amazing Nightlife. Istanbul’s nightlife scene capitalizes upon its dramatic city and harbor views. Many of the best bars are perched on soaring rooftops or along the Bosphorus waterfront.
10. There’s Simply Nowhere Like Istanbul. The city was the center of four great empires and witnessed the rise and fall of them all. Luxury and indulgence, mystery and romance: Istanbul is the home of the Ottoman sultans and the literal end of the line for the Orient Express – Sirkeci Station.
What are you waiting for? Istanbul awaits you! Contact the Hotel Büyük Keban to reserve your room now and discover Europe’s Best Destination in comfort and style.