Every tourist destination has its attractions. However, because every tourist is different, these attractions have greater or lesser value. In this series Gary gives his reasons for traveling to a particular place. Hopefully some of his thoughts will entice you to consider adding this particular place to your itinerary. The entire series is being categorized under the heading, “Spotlights.” You may find more information about these locations in the archives of this website, under headings such as, “Great Places,” “Things to Do in,” “Best of,” “Top 10” and “Places of a Lifetime.” In addition, there may be “Walking Tours” of these places available for purchase on the website for the low price of $1.49 each.
Straddling two continents, Istanbul has long been a strategic location. It has served as a crossroad for commerce between the Far East and the West, blending elements of many cultures into a cosmopolitan whole. Istanbul should be a destination on every traveler’s must-see list for at least the following reasons:
1. Istanbul was formerly known as Constantinople and was a capital of the Roman Empire. Some elements of Roman origin are preserved within the city, in particular Hagia Sophia, the ancient church, turned mosque, turned museum.
2. Turkey is primarily Muslim today, so mosques are common and an important part of life in Istanbul. The Blue Mosque is one of only a few mosques in the world which are adorned with six (6) minarets.
3. The largest indoor shopping mall in the world is found at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
4. One of the world’s greatest palaces is Topkapi Palace, the primary residence of Turkish Sultans for many years. The palace is actually a huge complex of buildings which overlooks the Bosporus.