Monday, April 20, 2009


Istanbul is the capital and cultural center of Turkey. It surrounds the Golden Horn Harbor and the Bosphorous Strait in the northwest corner of the country. That same harbor is also one of the boundaries between Europe and Asia. Istanbul is actually the only major metropolis that is situated within two continents. During the long history of this city it has been the capital city of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. This history adds a lot to the culture and architecture of the city.

The religion in the city is mostly is Islam, with the minorities being Christians and Jews. There are nearly 2,700 active mosques in Istanbul, 123 churches and 26 synagogues. This religious diversity has added a lot to the culture of the city and the acceptance of different people.

The transportation in the city is actually one of the highlights. First site is the Bosphorous Bridge. This bridge connects Asia and Europe and cannot be missed at night. It is always beautifully decorated with lights at night. Next is the different types of boats that can be seen. There are the gigantic cruise ships that stop at the port as well as the little fairies, the day-cruise boats, the fishing boats, the cargo ships, and the seabuses. The final main type of transportation is railway. There are trams all over the place including older, slower, nostalgic trams as well as faster, modern trams. These are always open to the public and a lot of fun to ride. Besides the trams, one can also take the metro, the trains, or the light rail.

Besides these things, there is also the spectacular buildings with their diverse styles of architecture. There are still ruins all over the city of the past empires that ruled there. One would never really expect to see Roman ruins, but statues can be found scattered about the city. Besides all of the old architecture, there are modern buildings springing up all over that are spectacular. The financial district is as modern as any other city, but within these buildings one can find a magnificent mosque or some Roman statues setting this city apart from others.

Istanbul has had a long and mostly prosperous history. This can be seen in the different types of architecture as well as the way the people embrace different cultures. The city welcomes visitors of all kinds and is a place where one can learn a lot about culture and acceptance.


  1. Istanbul~ Every time that I think about that place I think of the song by They Might be Giants. You know, that one that goes something like "...Istanbul not Constantinople..." blah blah blah, I don't remember the lyrics. My father visited Istanbul years and years ago and he loved it. He said someday he's going to take me there. :)

  2. You might call Istanbul the cultural center of Turkey. But it for sure is not the capital of Turkey... Ankara is!