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"If the world were one country, Istanbul would be its capital."
- Napolen Bonaparte

Istanbul’s unbeatable location at the official meeting point of two continents and two seas has guaranteed its importance and wealth since the Ancient Greeks established a colony there in 667 BC. Almost a millennium later, Constantinople became the capital of the Roman Empire and held that position for longer than Rome had. After the fall of the Byzantines, Istanbul became the capital of the Ottoman Empire for 500 years, bestowing on it tributes to Islamic architecture at its finest. 

Understanding the epic history of Istanbul helps make sense of the mystifying blend of cultures and peoples on display in every corner of the city. Have a look at our neighborhood-specific videos for history, transportation advice, and recommendations, or contact us to arrange an English-speaking guide to help you get the most out of this mysterious cradle of civilization.



The official ‘downtown’ of the Ottoman Empire has one of the world’s highest concentrations of historical buildings, the jewel of which is the Hagia Sophia, the biggest building in the world for 1000 years.


The downtown of contemporary Istanbul was historically a playground for foreign merchants, and today boasts Turkey’s top bar, restaurant, and shopping scenes.

The Bosphorus

Geographically, visually, historically, the Bosphorus is the heart of Istanbul, Turkey, and by some accounts the the Eurasian landmass. Book a boat. Really.


Windsurfing, hiking, fishing, shopping, canoeing, cooking courses, or street food tours... Istanbul has it all, and at very reasonable prices. Get in touch for a quote.


The core of Istanbul’s Islamic heritage, the neighborhood of Eyüp is packed with tombs, mosques, and relics, which together constitute Turkey’s top Muslim pilgrimage destination.