It is said that Istanbul, in Turkey, is a city which straddles the two continents of Europe and Asia. An ancient city of Byzantine origin, it was also called Constantinople in the past. Visit Aya Sofya, which was converted from a church into a mosque by the Ottoman invaders. Currently it is a museum of great interest and a popular landmark. Tour the Topkapi Palace to view its quarters and grand courtyards. The Blue Mosque is considered the finest specimen of Ottoman architecture and is lined with iznik tiles. A visit to the underground hall of Basilica Cistern will reveal that it is supported by carved columns. When in Istanbul, visit the Dolmabahce Palace. It has been influenced by the European aesthetics of design and decoration. The gardens here are scattered with fountains and flower-beds.
Some Useful Tips for Tourists flying to Istanbul
Where to Shop
No visit to Istanbul is complete without a tour of the Grand Bazaar. It is often regarded as the world’s first shopping mall! The shops and stalls here sell everything under the sun, from Turkish souvenirs to handicraft items. It is a covered market with a maze of vaulted-ceiling laneways. The Spice Bazaar sells fruits, nuts, spices and herbs. Visit Istiklal Caddesi - a pedestrian thoroughfare teeming with shoppers. The Bagdat Caddesi and Abdi Ipekci Caddesi have a host of luxury upscale stores. Akmerkez is a mall on the Nispetiye Caddesi. For carpets, jewelry and antiques head to the pedestrian boulevard of Nuruosmaniye Caddesi.
What to Eat
The sheer variety and tantalizing array of food at Istanbul will leave you spellbound. Try the borek. It comes with cheese between layers of dough. The durum is a wrap with any filling of your choice. The Turkish pizza or lahmacun is available at every street corner. It has a thin crust with meat toppings. Locals will tell you that the simit is absolutely divine. They are baked from dough, dipped in molasses and encrusted with sesame seeds. The tavuk pilav is a preparation of rice and chicken, which will leave you asking for more. Remember to sample the Turkish Delights in Istanbul, to indulge your sweet-tooth.
A Few Turkish Words
The locals in Istanbul speak Turkish. Here is a list of a few phrases in Turkish you could learn before landing in Istanbul.
• Thank You:
• Where is the toilet?:
• Where can I find a taxi?:
• How much does it cost?:
Fiyati ne kadar?
Dos and Don’ts
• Remove your shoes before entering a mosque.
• Do not make the hand gesture of ‘okay’ with your thumb and forefinger. It is considered rude in Turkey.
• The Turkish people are well-mannered. Be courteous and polite.
Emergency contact numbers
• Emergency Services: 0205274503
• 24-hour Chemist: There are 24-hour pharmacies in very neighborhood. For example, 2125286869 is the number of a 24-Hour Pharmacy at Sirkeci.
• Fire: 110
• Police: 155
• Ambulance: 112
• Which airlines offer cheap air tickets to Istanbul?
The airlines offering cheap air tickets to Istanbul is Air Fiji.
• What is the time zone used in Turkey?
The time zone of Turkey is GMT + 3h.
• What are the most popular airlines flying from London to Istanbul?
From London to Istanbul, the most popular airlines are Lufthansa
, British Airways
and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
• What is the shortest time for a London to Istanbul flight?
The shortest time for a direct London to Istanbul flight is 3 hours and 55 minutes.
• What are the top tourist destinations of Istanbul?
Some of the must-visit tourist destinations in Istanbul are the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Aya Sofya, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern and the Suleymaniye Mosque.
• What is the currency of Turkey?
The currency of Istanbul is the Turkish Lira.
Book cheap air tickets
from London to Turkey with Yatra. Use the web check-in
option to avoid airport queues. Bon Voyage to you!