Istanbul City Breaks
So beguiling to outsiders she defies description, the beauty of the Bosphorus has attracted visitors for over two millenniums. Referred throughout history as Constantinople, the fall of the city in 1453 marked the end of the Middle Ages, and since then, the city has been known as Istanbul, which allegedly comes from the Greek expression eis ten polin meaning 'to the city'. With such a remarkable past, Istanbul is the only city in the world to have hosted Christian and Islamic empires and as a result the city has two distinctive themes. In some respects the city is remarkably European but these traditional leafy boulevards, shopping centres, theatres and cafes are scattered across various districts of Istanbul’s Old City.
What to see and do on an Istanbul city break
The Islamic section of the city feels like a Bible story and provides a distinctive Asian perspective to one of the world’s most important cities. With regular flights taking place across the year, a city break to Istanbul offers a casket of wonders to anyone booking through easyJet holidays.
Sultanahmet is the cultural centre of the city, and is home to the magnificent Aya Sofya, the former Byzantine church, and the Blue Mosque, which is the icon of the city across the world. Undeniably beautiful Sultanahment is where Istanbul’s most popular tourist attractions can be found. Conveniently situated between the Topkapi Palace and Sultanahmet Camii on the ancient acropolis, Aya Sofya - the Haghia Sophia - has been around for almost 1,000 years. Serving for almost 500 years as the principle mosque of Istanbul, the Aya Sofya has served as a divine model for other Ottoman models and is an unmissable sight on any Turkey holiday.
Not to be outdone and universally famous for its six slender minarets and cascading domes, the Blue Mosque dominates the skyline in Istanbul. Inside the mosque, the ceiling is lined with the 20,000 blue tiles that give the mosque its popular name. Close to the Blue Mosque are some of Istanbul’s famous sites and these include Topkai Palace, Haghia Sophia, Hippodrome, Bascilica Cistern and the Grand Bazaar, which has over 4,000 stalls in a series of secret labyrinth arcades. Sultanahmet is also home to some of Istanbul’s favourite museums such as the Archaeological Museum, Calligraphy Museum, Mosaic Museum and the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts.
Nightlife in Istanbul
As a child of Europe and Asia, the clubbing scene in Istanbul is truly phenomenal. One of the city’s most desirable bars is Cezayir, which is extremely popular amongst the city's literati crowd. Clubbers with a flamboyant streak will love the Babylon Performance Centre for its quality reggae and jazz tunes. And while the bar and clubbing scene is as vibrant and exciting as the city itself, those who love Turkish and Arabic cuisine will be their element on an Istanbul city break. Some of the culinary highlights include House of Medusa, Mosaik Restaurant and Rumeli Café.
A feast for innocent eyes, Istanbul is a fantastic city break when booking through easyJet holidays. With over two thousand years of worth of history, Istanbul is a glorious city brimming with lore, magic and profound religious beauty. A city quite unlike anywhere else in Europe, the former capital of Constantinople will remain a joy to behold for centuries to come. Check out easyJet holidays’ city break deals for some fantastic offers!