The magnificent city of Istanbul is placed in the northwest part of Turkey, in the Bosphorus Strait; and being there makes it the only city in the world present in 2 different continents at the same time: Europe and Asia. The first settlements in the area are dated in the Copper Age Period, thus is impossible to determine the exact date, but the artifacts found there are dated about 5500–3500 BC. Currently, it’s the most populated city in Europe and one of the most populated in the world, with about 11.4 million inhabitants in an area of 1,830 km².
Now, going away from the facts and stating my personal opinion… I really must say that I loved this city, but only as a tourist, because living there must be completely stressful, at least for me. The city is enormous and overpopulated, so much that you can find the streets full of people almost 24 hours a day.
But it’s also amazingly beautiful, so much that it’s almost impossible to describe it with words, as almost everywhere you go there are nice things to see, like the uncountable amount of Mosques, gardens, the Golden Horn, Galata Tower, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Maiden’s Tower, Basilica Cistern… too many marvelous things to get to see, unless you live there for a whole lifetime.
And what to say about the transport in the city. For the public transportation you can use boats, buses, trams, the subway, funiculars, and for the private, everything you can imagine. But here is where I saw one of the main drawbacks, as they have really huge traffic jams… so huge that I even saw people selling kebabs in the middle of a 5 roads highway. That’s it, not on the side of the highway, but in the middle of it!
Now that I mention the food, I can say that I really liked it a lot, and that in 10 days, I barely ate the same thing twice, except the typical simits, of course, which you can find everywhere. But for the rest… Alexander (Iskender) kebab, Dürüm, Adana, Sish Kebab… all of them delicious, even more if you take into account that I’ve been living in Sweden for the past 8 months, haha.
The nightlife is unbelievable, with thousands of pubs and discos, much of them opening everyday and until really late (or soon, it depends if you’re going to sleep or waking up, hehe), with different kinds of music and, of course, plenty of people.
But you can also enjoy a relaxing evening with your friends in places like Tophane or the Ortaköy Mosque where you can smoke nargile and drink Turkish black tea while playing backgammon, okey or some other games of the like.
And the best thing is that there, almost everything is incredibly cheap. If the prices where in EUR instead of YTL, and keeping the same figure, everything would be slightly cheaper that in countries like Spain, but taking into account that these days the exchange rate is almost 2 to 1, everything there looks like a bargain.
So, Istanbul is a fascinating city, and I encourage everyone to pay it a visit at least once, because it’s really worth it. I think that right now it’s my favorite city, and I really love it, but as I previously said, just for visiting, not for living there.
I hope you enjoyed the post ^_^