Istanbulis the largest city inTurkey,
constituting the country's economic, cultural and historical heart. With a
million, the city forms thelargest
urban agglomeration in Europe. Located
on both sides of theBosphorus,
the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, Istanbul bridgesAsiaandEuropeboth physically and culturally.
With its long history at the
center of empires, Istanbul offers a wealth of historic and religious places to
take in. The bulk of these ancient monuments, dating back to Roman, Byzantine,
and Ottoman periods, including theHagia
Mosque), andBasilica Cisternare located aroundSultanahmet Square, while some others are dispersed throughout the peninsula
ofold city, such asChurch
of St Savior in Chora(Kariye
Müzesi), entire inside of which is covered by mindblowing frescoes and
mosaics. An impressive section of mostly intactTheodosian walls, which mark the full
length of western boundary of the peninsula, is right next to this particular
church. North of the peninsula of old city, across the Golden Horn, isGalata,
crowned by theGalata Tower.Istanbul Modern, with its exhibitions
of contemporary Turkish art, is on the nearby waterfront of Karaköy. Another
sight of religious significance close by is theGalata Whirling Dervish Hallof SufiMevleviorder, just north of the Tower.
Further north is theIstiklal
Avenue, Istanbul's prominent pedestrian street running from near Galata Tower
to Taksim Square, the central square of whole city.