Istanbul, Turkey

Local Reading

Istanbul Food
The best blog we've found on Istanbul's distinctive cuisine and where to try it....

"Inauguration Anthem of Hagia Sophia"
on This excellent article includes a translation of Romanus the Melodist's inauguratio...

Islamic Prayer Times
Visit Get up-to-date times for the five-daily prayer sessions....

For Kids

Classic Myths to Read Aloud
A collection of Greek and Roman myths specially designed to be read aloud to children aged five to ...
Built to Last
 An insightful, highly-visual book that profiles the architecture of castles, cathedrals and mosque...
Read More about Istanbul, Turkey



Turkey’s largest city is both European and Asian and has been part of many empires. As a result, Istanbul is modern and traditional, familiar and exotic.

It is Istanbul’s unique blend of Western and Eastern heritage and culture that attracts tourists from all over the world. Experience the comforts of modern Turkey in its malls, galleries and clubs, and the delights of traditional Turkish bazaars, palaces, taverns and mosques. Istanbul’s natural beauty, with pleasant Mediterranean climate, completes its glorious appeal.

Located on the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul has the Sea of Marmara to the south and the Black Sea to the north. Istanbul connects Europe with Asia and this strategic position evoked many power struggles. Under its previous names of Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul served as the capital of the Roman, the Byzantine, the Latin and the Ottoman empires and was once also the capital of Islam. The Turks started to call it Istanbul, a name that was made official when the Turkish Republic was proclaimed in 1923.

The Sultanahmet peninsula, which is home to the Old City, reflects Istanbul’s diverse political and religious past, particularly in the architecture. The iconic Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), for example, was once a Christian cathedral and later a mosque. Visit the nearby Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı), Hippodrome (Hipodrom) and Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) and save some of your liras for the souvenirs in the Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı). Get a bird’s-eye view of it all from the top of the 14th-century Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi) or visit nearby Miniatürk to see miniature versions of all these buildings. Cool off in the underground Basilica Cistern.

Cross the Galata Bridge, spanning the Golden Horn, to visit Taksim Square and the New City. Enjoy modern skyscrapers, nightclubs and shopping malls and watch hip youngsters mingle with businessmen.

Travel Tips

We can arrange a variety of transportation options throughout Europe to make your Europe vacation truly spectacular. Whether you simply need transportation between the airport and hotel, or you want to charter a private yacht or jet, we offer you choice and will manage the important details.

While traveling in the Turkey we recommend :

  • Private transfers at time of booking - All transfers include a meet-and-greet by English-speaking drivers, luggage assistance, and bottled water in modern vehicles to and from all points of entry as well as between cities.
Entry Requirements
  • To enter and leave Europe, all U.S. citizens must carry a valid passport.
  • It is the traveler’s responsibility to obtain the proper documents.
  • The Turkish Lira is the official currency. Exchange rates vary by currency and economic seasonality.

Tipping Etiquette

  • Restaurants: In general 10% if no service charge
  • Porters: $1
  • Taxi's: Round up
Time Difference
  • Turkey is GMT + 2

Europe spans three time zones:

  • Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) which is 5 hours ahead of Eastern standard Time.
  • Central Standard Time which is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
  • Eastern European Time which is 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Local Influencers

Twitter: Jennifer Hattam
Follow @TheTurkishLife Freelance journalist based in Istanbul, Turkey, writing about the environment, urban issues, art, culture, food, travel, and mo...

Twitter: Turkish Embassy
Follow @turkishembassy Official Twitter Account of The Embassy of The Republic of Turkey in Washington DC....