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Travel Guide to Istanbul

 ISTANBUL Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul... The three magic names that recall the Istanbul's glorious past. Few cities are so delightful to discover as Istanbul in the world. Istanbul hosts outstanding natural beauties both in daylight and under the glittering of night with its minarets soaring in the sky, its gilded domes, palaces, museums, parks & gardens and more... Istanbul is a magical composition of two continents, two Worlds, the East and the West... And especially the Bosphorus, Istanbul Strait will cheer up your hearts.Aside from being the largest and most popular city of Turkey, Istanbul is also the biggest cultural and financial centre of Turkey. Istanbul is considered to be the bridge that links Asia with Europe from a cultural and geographical standpoint. Istanbul is a huge metropolitan city with about 15 million residents that you can usually expect it to be busy whenever travelling there. One of the more popular and fantastic forms of entertainment on your Istanbul visit is the Classic Bosphorus Cruise. The cruise begins slightly to the east of the famous Galata Bridge and continues to Anadolu Kavagi which is the Bosphorus’ entrance to the Black Sea making numerous sightseeing stops along the strait. Entertainment in Istanbul revolves around many of the entertainment venues that the city has to offer. In recent years, nightlife in Istanbul has really come alive in recent years and the locals will all tell you that the nightlife spreads out in all directions throughout the city. On the European side of the Bosphorus, Istiklal Street between Taksim and Tunel offers the liveliest nightlife in Istanbul as it caters to college students and the younger crowd. The region is commonly alive with parties every night during the summer months and the locals are extremely friendly. If you’re looking for the more traditional Turkish entertainment, than Aksaray is the egion that you may go. Despite being situated near the “red light” district, it’s a great area to enjoy a lively evening out on the town. Another region for a great evening out is Kadikoy, located on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. With its numerous little bars, pubs, cafes, and restaurants, you can easily spend the night bouncing from one venue to the next. If you like football, nothing is more exciting than the rivalry between Fenerbahce and Galatasaray. This is Turkey’s most popular spectator sport and if you plan on attending one of these games, you need to get your tickets well in advance as the game always sells out.

Istanbul is a huge city with over 16 million people. Of course there is a huge concentration of cement especially in the city center but there are also many recreation areas and sports fields in the city, as well as parks and natural beauties. Young people in Istanbul are involved in many differents sports, being football (soccer) the most popular one. Out of 18, there are 5 Istanbul teams playing in the National Premiere League: Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, Besiktas, Kasimpasa, and Buyuksehir Belediye. Some of the major soccer stadiums in Istanbul are: Ataturk Olympics stadium, Fenerbahce Sukru Saracoglu Soccer stadium, Galatasaray Ali Sami Yen TT Arena Soccer stadium, Besiktas Vadafone Arenastadium. In 2013 the U-21 (under 21) World Cup was organized in Istanbul.

Basketball is another very popular sport in Istanbul, teams are playing in the national league and they participate to European championships. Abdi Ipekci Arena and the Sinan Erdem Arena are the major basketball venues in the city. In 2010, the World Basketball Championship was held in Istanbul and the Turkish national team played in the finals against the USA, becoming the world's second best team.

Motor sports is another popular one in Istanbul, many national and local on and off road rallies and international races such as the World Rally Championship (WRC) are organized in the province. Istanbul Park Racing Track was built in 2005 in order to host Formula 1 races, Moto GP and other international motor sports.

In 2006, Red Bull Air Acrobatics race was held for the first time in Istanbul, on the Golden Horn. This brought a record of almost 1 million spectators on the ground.

Istanbul is surrounded by water, especially Black sea, Marmara Sea, and Bosphorus are very busy with boat traffic. Every year, there are sailing races and off shore motorboat races in the Bosphorus and in the Sea of Marmara during the summer period. Several swimming races are organized too, such as the Bosphorus Cross-Continental swimming race organized every July. Diving is also possible off the Princess Islands.

Turkish people enjoy horse races as well. There is a big hippodrome in Zeytinburnu district which is filled up with people during every race in the season. Betting is also possible for these races. There are also several horse riding ranches near Istanbul.

Intercontinental Marathon public run 2007 - click to enlarge Istanbul hosts an international and intercontinental marathon every year since 1979. This Eurasia Marathon is the first and only of its kind in the world for tens of thousands of people crossing two continents over a suspension bridge. There are also several European championships or local athletic races in the city.

Istanbul has two golf courses, even though it's not a popular sport for local people it attracts especially foreigners and expats who live in the city. These 18 hole golf courses are in Kemerburgaz and Silivri neighborhoods.

There are several tennis facilities in Istanbul, since 2006 Istanbul Cup is held every year in the city and it's becoming popular for the young people.

Istanbul doesn't have high mountains for skiing but there are several in nearby cities to the east. Nearest skiing resorts are; Kartepe in Sapanca (about 150 km - 93 mi) or Uludag mountain in Bursa (about 240 km - 150 mi) or Kartalkaya in Bolu (about 270 km - 168 mi).

Belgrade forest is a huge forest to the north of the city and is very popular for picnikers and joggers, especially during the weekends. Besides Belgrade forest and Polonezköy town, several nice parks in the city attract local people to jog; Emirgan park, Yildiz park, Macka park, Gulhane, Camlica hill, etc.

In November 2010 Istanbul was designated as the "2012 European Capital of Sports" by the the European Capitals of Sport Association (ACES). In 2011 Valencia in Spain held this title.

Hope to see you soon in Istanbul.

   The culture of Istanbul is a fine blend of eastern and western cultures. The city has been a cultural capital of Turkey and has attracted artists from Europe and Middle East in the past. The district of Beyoğlu is the artistic centre of the city, being a platform for artists across the globe. There are several museums in Istanbul, some of which opened in the 21st century, while others, such as the Hagia Sophia, are historic religious centres converted into museums. The city has an emerging music scene, with the establishment of festivals such as Istanbul International Music Festival. Venues such as Atatürk Cultural Center, the Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theatre and Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall, host live shows and concerts regularly. A shopper’s paradise, Istanbul is a city where one can never get enough of shopping. From historic to modern, there are endless markets in the city, with Grand Bazaar being one of the oldest in the world. Turkish cuisine is influenced by both Europe and Middle East and the markets are lined with restaurants and stalls serving delicious food. The famous Turkish breakfast consists of marinated olives, eggs, sausage, honey, butter, jams, tomatoes, cucumbers, kaymak and menemen.

  Istanbul, the city that never sleeps. Nightlife in İstanbul is multifarious, ranging from some rooted establishments to hip clubs, from partying by the sea to underground rock cafes, from gigantic venues to cosy live music bars. All these nightli...

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