The predominance of beautiful mosques is what a guide to Istanbul city breaks usually talks about. But for the initiated, Istanbul is also a hip and happening modern city. You can dance the night away at one of its stylish bars, or shop until you drop at its traditional markets and contemporary boutiques. A boring moment just doesn't seem possible in the Turkish capital, and it makes the perfect city break for singles, couples and families.
Shopping in Istanbul
Shopping and barter are part of the culture in this unique world city. You can try on outfits emblazoned with Ottoman embroidery, or buy Uzbeki kaftans and Antolia garments in Istanbul’s bazaars. The Fatih Pazari and Sali Pazari are two of Istanbul's most famous market, and the clothes, antiques and souvenirs you can pick up at these markets are unbelievable.
It’s mainly Istanbul’s architecture that fills you with awe, however. The city has been a cultural and religious centre for hundreds of years, drawing visitors and settlers from across the world – so you’ll also find many churches and synagogues amongst the mosques. One of the best ways to experience the city is to take a guided tour with other holidaymakers, which can be booked with your hotel stay in an all-inclusive package.
You must check out the Maiden's Tower during yourIstanbul city break. It’s one of the renowned symbols of the city and was built by Greek general Alcibiades in 408 BC, to keep check on Persian ships trawling the Bosphorus Strait. It’s a classic example of Greek architecture. Then there are the Roman 'mementoes' to visit - the Column of Constantine, the Mazulkemer Aqueduct and the Column of the Goths.
Byzantine architectural sights include the Churches of Saint Sergius, Saint Bacchus and the Hagia Sophia. The latter is the most important example of Byzantine architecture in the world. Don’t miss the excavations at the Great Palace of Constantinople, which are fascinating too.