ISTANBUL: THE BORDER BETWEEN TWO WORLDS
Istanbul is a mix of civilizations, religions, cultures, races, smells and tastes, that meets its perfect symbolic synthesis in the lively and endless indoor market of the “Grand Bazaar”.
If you cannot rest at Istanbul, that’s not only due to its metropolitan dimension. Every corner of this megalopolis hides treasures of knowledge or more simply, pearls of curiosity. A delicious nourishment for the tourist hungry of traveling emotions.
The memory of Byzantium and Constantinople is just enough to make you feel part of that history, that made you dream through the school books since childhood. Then you feel a thrill along your spine when walking along the Theodosian wall, that triggers your imagination.
The history is everywhere.
Sultanhamet, is the ancient heart of the city, a miscellaneous of civilizations.
In the Cistern Basilica (Yerebatan Sarayi or Sarnici) you can find the remains of the roman age. This underground art work, whose thirty columns, provided with different styled capitols, are mirroring on the water creating wonderful light and shadow games, thanks to the bottom-up lightening. A high suggestive show. An immersion in the history, with the complicity of the isolation from the exterior.
As soon as raised up you can enter the heart of the Moorish art of the Blue Mosque (Sultanhamet Camii), that keeps your sight upward to admire the beauty of the ceramic walls, the columns and the interior side of the dome.
Nearby you can find the majestic Saint Sophie (Hagia Sophia). In the origin it was a Christian Basilica. Now it’s a mosque, but unholy then used as a museum. This impressive monument is one of the most clear examples of the mix of the Moorish and the Christian arts, where it’s possible to see the absolute beauty of a plenty of byzantine mosaics. Istanbul is not only art and history. It can suck you inside its indoor markets. Authentic blenders of colors, sounds, smells and tastes.
The Grand Bazaar is an endless labyrinth, filled with goods of any kind and origin, well shown and displayed in every available space. Shops are obtained from the niches displayed along the countless corridors, crowded at any time of any race and origin of people flowing like a river. It may happen to hear the metallic voice of the Imam on duty, coming from the loudspeakers to call the faithfuls to pray, giving to the scene even a more exotic atmosphere. The Egyptian Market (also known as Spices’ Market; Misir Carsisi), is smaller but not less provided with surprises and curiosities. A festival of colors.
Also in the kitchen Istanbul achieves the meeting between East and West. The range of restaurants is very wide, from the international cuisine to the Turkish and eastern ones.
The boat restaurants docked along the quay of the Golden Horn (Halic), the channel in between the old and the modern sides of the town, are very picturesque. They cook fish at any time swaying on the water. But the food is eaten on the land.
Often you may meet street food or drink makers. The mix of orange and pomegranate is very typical.
The peculiarity of Istanbul is its function of connection between two continents, performed by the Bosporus Bridge, that links the two sides of the city, the European one in the Thrace region and the Asian one in the Anatolia peninsula. That bridge is lightened in the night time with variable colored lights. The ancient tower of Galata may offer a wonderful sight at night over that bridge and the European side of the city, provided with countless mosques well lighted and the explosion of colors mirrored on the waters of the Golden Horn.
Due to the connection with the Black Sea through the Bosporus, Istanbul is very cold during the winter time, despite its latitude, because the cold winds coming from Russia can reach easily the city. The excursions on the Bosporus, either on the ferry and on the bus, require to wear warm clothes to protect against the sudden iced wind blasts.
Istanbul is an appointment not to be missed for those who love to travel.
Istanbul is one of the best places to feel citizen of the world.