Istanbul is the most populous city in Turkey. Historically known as
Constantinople and Byzantium, it is the centre of Turkish economy, culture,
and history. This city falls in both Europe and Asia because it is a
transcontinental city along the Bosphorus strait between the two major
continents. Ever since it was founded in 1000 BC, Istanbul was contested by
nearly all major superpowers until last century. The city was the epicentre
of the Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Empires. Istanbul had played a crucial
role in both the World Wars and was evenly contested by the warring
Things to do in Istanbul
Formerly known as Hagia Sophia and hallmarked by its two massive domes, Aya
Sofia is a former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica and a
former imperial mosque that now works as a museum in Istanbul. It was
constructed in 537 AD and has alternated between being a mosque and a
church, until it was secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.
Topkapı Sarayı (Topkapı Palace)
The Tokapi palace doubles up as a stunning example of 15th
century Turkish architecture and the seat of power of Ottoman Empire until
19th century. It is a remarkable example Islamic art and
features many ornately decorated courtyards that depict the triumph of that
period’s hand-painted tile-work. You should take out time to see its Harem,
the Second Court, and the Imperial Council Chamber.
Yerebatan Sarnıçı (Basilica Cistern)
The Basilica Cistern is one of Istanbul's hallmarks and most famous tourist
attractions. It is a grand, palatial underground hall that is supported by
336 columns across 12 rows. It was used as a place to store water for royal
members for the Byzantine Empire. The hall features top-class decorative
carvings and a host of ornate carvings.
Best Time to Visit Istanbul
Summer season, the months from June to August are the best to book your
flights from Los Angeles to Istanbul. Book your flights from LAX to IST
during summers to enjoy famous cultural events like Istanbul Music Festival
and Istanbul Jazz Festival. It is advised to book Istanbul flights in
advance to avoid paying more during peak season.