Istanbul embraces two continents, one arm reaching out to Asia, the other to Europe. Through the city's heart, the Bosphorus strait, courses the waters of the Sea of Marmara, the Black Sea and the Golden Horn.
Istanbul is truly one of the most glorious cities in the world. The former capital of three powerful empires - Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman, modern Istanbul fascinates its visitors with variety of attractions. The museums, churches, palaces, great mosques, bazaars and sights of natural beauty seem inexhaustible.
On a spot of land at the confluence of the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn and the Marmara Sea, stands Topkapi Palace, a maze of buildings at the center of the Ottoman Empire between the 15th and 19th centuries. In these opulent surroundings, the sultans and their court lived and governed. Topkapi Palace holds an exhibition of imperial costumes worn by the sultans and their families, the famous jewels of the treasury, priceless collections of miniatures from medieval manuscripts, imperial silver, Chinese porcelain and crystal.
Facing St.Sophia stands the supremely elegant, six-minaret, imperial Sultanahmet Mosque. Built between 1609 and 1616 by architect Mehmet, the building is more familiarly known as the Blue Mosque because its interior gleams with a magnificent paneling of blue and white tiles. Istanbul is an international art and cultural center. Operas, operettas, ballets, film, concerts, exhibitions and conferences all share the cultural palette of the city. Nightclubs provide splendid entertainment ranging from a selection of Turkish songs to the famous belly-dance. Istanbul is an international gambling city with many casinos. Alongside these are modern discos, cabarets, and jazz clubs in the Taksim-Harbiye district.
In Sultanahmet, there are a number of restaurants in restored Byzantine and Ottoman buildings which offer a unique setting for an evening out. Istanbul is also known for beautiful collection of high-end hotels successfully combining traditions of Asian and European hospitality and providing their guest with unique opportunity to "feel as a sultan" during the stay.
Luxury hotels: 3
A Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
B Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul
C The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul