Turkey's largest city is not only an intoxicating mix of East and West, it really is where the continents of Europe and Asia meet. This sprawling city with its spires and minarets is separated into two by the Bosphorus River. It's an exciting place to visit, full of medieval palaces and ancient mosques, which create its distinct skyline.
In Istanbul, ancient traditions and modern culture live harmoniously and you'll find dusty donkey carts riding alongside modern motorcars in the city streets, and people dressed in everything from designer fashion to traditional attire that has been the norm for generations.
Istanbul's Asian side of the river is full of typically Western suburbs, while in the Eastern side of this city you'll feel as if you've entered a time warp - this is where the old part of Istanbul is located, and it's an Oriental paradise, with many mosques, crowded bazaars and sumptuous palaces.
The famous Topkapi Palace, first built in the 15th Century, is located in Old Istanbul, and just outside is one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture, the Hagia Sophia, which is also one of the world's most beautiful buildings. It was built in 532AD as a church and became a mosque under the Ottomans; it's exquisite gold mosaics and decorations had been plastered over, but they have been restored, and, along with the magnificent interior, is well worth exploring.
Nearby is the 17th Century Blue Mosque, built on the site of Constantinople's Grand Palace, with its landmark blue tiled walls and the exquisite dome with its six pointed minarets. And then there's the Grand Bazaar, or Kapali Carsi, which comprises 60 covered streets and alleys, all full of vendors selling their carpets, jewellery, ceramics and other treasures.
- İstanbul Atatürk Airport, LTBA
- Bandırma Airport, LTBG
- Cengiz Topel Airport, LTBQ
- Bursa Yenişehir Airport, LTBR
- Tekirdağ Çorlu Airport, LTBU
- Anadolu Airport, LTBY
- Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, LTFJ
- İstanbul Airport, LTFM