Istanbul is the soul of Turkey; a city with a population of about 15 million people that is always awake and busy and has a friendly, warm, and bustling atmosphere. Just as Paris is the beating heart of France, it can be said that Istanbul is also the beating heart of Turkey.
This city, which dates back roughly 2500 years, is one of the most important, authentic, and old towns in the world, having seen several historical events. In the ancient world, Istanbul was known as Constantinople, and it has a turbulent past that has made it appealing in terms of architecture and culture. To the point where some consider Istanbul to be Europe’s cultural capital.
On the other hand, because of the Bosphorus Strait or Boğaz Bridge, which connects the two continents of Asia and Europe, Istanbul has become a city between two continents with the culture, history, architecture, and even lifestyle of both. Every year, it attracts many tourists from the whole world, including Iran.
An Introduction and History of Istanbul City, Turkey
The city of Istanbul has passed through three important and fundamental stages during its history, the first stage of which is related to the Eastern Roman Empire. Also, in 330 ADS, the Eastern Roman Empire officially choose Constantinople (now Istanbul) as its capital due to the extraordinary location of the Bosphorus Strait.
In fact, the importance of controlling the Bosphorus strait was because it controlled the waterway between Asia and Europe. At the same time, Constantinople was considered the largest city in continental Europe as well as the cultural center for Greek civilization and followers of the Orthodox Church. Among its achievements, we can mention the construction of the great and magnificent Hagia Sophia church.
Constantinople was in the hands of Eastern Rome for many years until, in 1453, Sultan Mehmed II, the Ottoman ruler, was able to take Istanbul after a blockade lasting 53 days. In the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul was regarded as its third capital. One of the actions of Sultan Mehmed II was to convert the important and key church of Hagia Sophia into Hagia Sophia Mosque.
After the conquest of the city by order of Sultan Mehmed II, extensive construction was carried out, and 5 thousand families from all over the country migrated to the city of Constantinople and started their lives.
The geographical location of Istanbul
Istanbul’s geographical location and proximity to the sea have resulted in a unique climate in this metropolis. Istanbul is situated in the northwest of Turkey, near the Sea of Marmara. It is limited from the south by the Marmara Sea and from the north by the Black Sea. In terms of climate, this has resulted in hot and humid summers and cold and rainy winters.
Istanbul has very important commercial and cultural centers in its European part, but the Asian part is more populated, and the Asian section of Istanbul is home to around one-third of the city’s population. It is situated in Istanbul’s western (European) and eastern (Asian) parts, respectively.
Culture and Customs of Istanbul People
The culture of a nation originates from their history and the time they have passed, and their efforts to keep up with the times. Istanbul is also the same; Despite historical ups and downs, many wars, and many destructions, every time this city was rebuilt and every time it was better than before.
Turks are incredibly warm and friendly people, which is immediately apparent when you arrive in Istanbul. You will observe numerous festivities, parties, and gatherings in Istanbul that will send you the message: you are in your own home.
On the other hand, adherence to traditions and customs is very strong among the people of Istanbul. Although this loyalty to the customs is weaker among the young generation, like everywhere in the world, in any case, you can see these customs very clearly among the people of Istanbul.
One of these intriguing customs is the coffee house custom. There are coffee shops all around Turkey and Istanbul where guys sit and discuss the events of the day while drinking tea or coffee. Women are rarely seen at these coffee shops, and their presence is unusual even in the twenty-first century. These coffee shops are also seen to be locations where men may express and analyze their political and social problems.
The climate in Turkey varies. Because every section of Turkey has access to the sea, mountains, and woods, the weather is unpredictable. However, in general, Istanbul is a more moderate metropolis than other Turkish cities.
- Spring in Istanbul: During this season, Istanbul gets hot days and calm, moderate, and wonderful weather at night, and sometimes spring rain begins to fall, making the city more colorful and livelier than at any other time of year. Its average temperature in this season is between 18 to 27 degrees Celsius.
- Summer in Istanbul: Summer days in Istanbul are hot and humid, despite the fact that most of the city’s residents go to surrounding islands and beaches to escape the heat, but most of them pick summer to visit Istanbul. As a result, most venues and attractions will have a significant number of tourists and long lines. In this season of the year, you will see an average temperature of 28 to 30 degrees Celsius.
- Autumn in Istanbul: Autumn season in Istanbul is very pleasant and attractive. Autumn days in Istanbul are sometimes rainy, sometimes hot and dry, and sometimes very cool. In this season of the year, you will see an average temperature of 15 to 23 degrees Celsius.
- Winter in Istanbul: Winter days in Istanbul are chilly and snowy, with an average daily temperature of 8 to 12 degrees and frequent light snowfall; therefore, the ideal times to visit Istanbul are spring and autumn, when the weather conditions are excellent. It awaits you away from the scorching heat and freezing cold.
Security in Istanbul
One of the most crucial elements to consider while visiting or staying in a location is its security.
In any event, whether you are a visitor or a resident, you should learn about the city’s security before confirming your location.
Istanbul is a city, and metropolises across the world have varying levels of security that vary from area to neighborhood.
On the other hand, it is one of the most tourist-friendly places in the world, and this makes many people travel to this city.
However, the Turkish police, particularly in Istanbul, have made every effort to preserve Istanbul’s security by increasing their numbers, mastering several living languages of the world, installing surveillance cameras, and marking them green as a secure zone.
Istanbul is a safe city in which to visit or reside, and all of its districts are entirely safe thanks to the army, police, and rigorous restrictions. However, when visiting Istanbul, it is important to consider the following concerns in mind:
- Never bring all of your money with you; instead, leave some in the hotel safe deposit box.
- Do not walk alone in the city’s most isolated and dark areas.
- In case of a problem, first, discuss the problem with the police.
Famous sights of Istanbul
The most visited part of the city of Istanbul is its historical center, which is also registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since there is a wide range of sights in front of you in Istanbul, here we name only a few best sights:
- Hagia Sophia
- Topkapi Palace
- Sultan Ahmed Mosque
- Basilica Cistern
- Dolmabahce Palace
- Grand Bazaar
- Galata Tower
- Forum Istanbul
Airports in Istanbul
The big city of Istanbul has three airports, which we will learn about briefly as well as how to get to them:
The newest and biggest airport in Turkey is Istanbul International Airport, which is situated in the city’s Arnavutköy neighborhood. The renowned Atatürk Airport was replaced by this airport after April 6, 2019, and it presently takes all flights out of Istanbul. It’s fascinating to note that, while still under construction, this airport can now accommodate 150 million passengers annually. In addition, Istanbul Airport’s capacity will increase to 200 million passengers annually with the completion of the second phase.
Access: To access the city center from Istanbul Airport, you can use Havaist buses, city buses, airport taxis, and online taxis. The metro line of Istanbul is going to be extended to this new airport soon.
International Airport Sabiha Gökçen
Sabiha Gökçen Airport, abbreviated as SAW, is located 50 kilometers southeast of the center of Istanbul and in the Asian part of the city. Sabiha Gokcen is the name of the first female Turkish fighter pilot who was assigned to this airport.
Access: Although there is limited access to Istanbul city center from Sabiha Gökçen Airport, you can use public transportation like taxis and buses.
Airport Atatürk in Istanbul
Ataturk Airport was, up until April 6, 2019, Turkey’s biggest airport in terms of travelers, flights, and travel destinations. However, this airport no longer serves its original purpose and is currently primarily utilized for air taxis, shipping goods, diplomatic flights, technical flights, etc.
Public Transportation in Istanbul
Istanbul is a large and vast city with an efficient and useful transportation system that makes it easy for anyone to reach far and near places in the city. When we talk about public transportation in Istanbul, it means that you can use different means such as metro, tram, bus, yellow taxis, online taxis, and all kinds of boats and ferries to move around the city.