History & Culture in Istanbul

In a nutshell, present day Istanbul was ruled by the Greeks, Romans, Venetians and finally the Ottomans, who stayed. In the many historical monuments that adorn the city, one can see the churches and palaces with mosaics and frescoes, courtesy of the Byzantines. Until then, conquerors believed in plundering and ruining. The Ottomans built ambitiously – the royal mosques impart a beautiful skyline the city. History has it that as the Silk Road linked Asia with Europe, many merchants who traveled here liked it so much that they also decided to stay put. Modern and impressive galleries, museums and festivals with a contemporary touch blend with ancient monuments to create a great experience for enthusiasts of history and culture. Istanbul’s cuisine is also diverse – while you may get all kinds of Asian and European delicacies, it is the local, lip-smacking mezes, kebabs, seafood and dondurama (Turkish ice-cream) that one must try. Signature drinks of Istanbul include the raki (aniseed brandy) and locally produced wine. The people here have zest for life and are very welcoming – ensure that you engage in conversation with locals as you explore the city cafes and travel in vintage trams.  

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