What Makes Istanbul So Special?

City Lights of Istanbul

Istanbul is truly a unique city that sits right on the dividing line between Asia and Europe. Istanbul is the only city on a continental divide and is considered transcontinental.

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As a Transcontinental city, Istanbul is a unique, and fantastic place. It is also an ancient city, an original home to the once-great Roman Empire. For a long time, the Ottoman empire controlled Istanbul as it was at the center of their empire. Istanbul is a city with a fantastic skyline that offers anyone visiting a lot of great things to do.

Here are 9 Top Reasons Why Istanbul is Unique and Special:

Transcontinental City

Istanbul is the only city where you can travel between two continents – Europe and Asia. Istanbul is a transcontinental city where you can go from one continental to another on the same day.

Istanbul is divided by the Bosphorus Strait, a primary shipping line to help goods get in and out of the Black Sea area and onto the world’s waterways. The Bosphorus strait is the dividing line between Asia and Europe.

If you want to be able to visit two continents in a day, Istanbul is the only city in the world sitting on two different continents.

Ancient City

Istanbul is an ancient city. Istanbul is a city that is about 2500 years old. In fact, at one time, the city was more influential and wealthier than Rome.

Istanbul is an ancient city filled with many things from the past and old years.

Capital Four Empires

Istanbul was the capital of four influential world empires; because of this, Istanbul has a rich history where you can still witness antiquites from its kingdoms. 

Here are the four Ancient Empires that Istanbul was the center of:

  • The Roman Empire – 300 to 395 A.D.
  • Byzantine Empire – 395 to 1204 A.D
  • Latin Empire – 1204 to 1251
  • Ottoman Empire – 1453 to 1922

These empires were powerful and influential empires for the time. For thousands of years, Istanbul was at the center of these empires and a major world city.

The Home of Emperor Constantine

Istanbul was the home of Emperor Constantine. He was the emperor of Roman from 306 to 337 AD; he called Istanbul his home for many years. He is buried on the site of the former Church of the Holy Apostles. 

When he died, the Church of the Holy Apostles was the main church in Constantinople. The church was eventually destroyed, so now, on the church’s spot is the Faith Mosque.

The Ottoman Empire

Istanbul is also home to the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire was one of the longest and most essential dynasties globally.

For more than 600 years, the Islamic Ottoman dynasty ruled large areas of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, North Africa. Many historians saw the Ottoman Empire as a source of regional stability and security; the Ottoman Empire was also known for its outstanding achievements in the arts, science, religion, and culture.

Ancient Center of Arts

Istanbul is recognized as one of the main artistic hubs for the Ottoman Empire.

The most famous art forms developed were calligraphy, painting, textiles, poetry, ceramics, carpet weaving, and music. All of these art forms were thriving and, in many cases, continue to succeed in the city of Istanbul.

Istanbul boasts some magnificent ancient architecture that includes beautiful mosques and other buildings. If you are a fan of ancient arts and architecture – Istanbul is the place.

A Mix of Modern and Ancient

Istanbul is the city of contrast. The modern world meets the ancient world and where the east meets the west. Istanbul’s unique location, history, and cultural melting pot make the city a special place.

In Istanbul, you will meet liberals and conservatives who peacefully live side-by-side, along with Christians, Muslims, and people of many different religious beliefs.

Next to the century-old town of Istanbul stands fantastic modern buildings and skyscrapers; you will also find mosques, churches, and synagogues side-by-side The old and new Instabul uniquely and beautifully mixes within the city lies on the line between western Asia and Europe.

Istanbul is a city that defies all odds as it truly is a mix between the ancient and modern that is infused with excellent Turkish hospitality.

The Exotic and Vibrant Mix Together

Istanbul is a Transcontinental city where the exotic and the vibrant mix all together. You can find many vibrant modern shopping centers or the authentic and exotic Grand Bazaar in the city.

Check out all the many kinds of exotic spices you can find in Istanbul; this was once a significant spice center. During the Ottoman empire, the trading of spices was essential, so it continues to be a necessary commodity in Istanbul today.

Never Run Out Of Things To Do And See

Istanbul is one of those unique cities where you will never run out of things to see and do. If you love ancient Rome, you can find something there. If you’re a fan of the Ottoman empire, you can find things there of interest.

Within Istanbul, you will find both Middle Eastern and European food. If you want to have nightlife, there is a nightlife there that rivals Europe and other places.

Istanbul is the kind of city, but you will never run out of something to do, something to see, a place to go, or something to buy. If you want to sit down and relax, get on one of the many boats on the waterways and watch the sunset as you see a magnificent city roll by – you can also do that.

If you are looking for a city where you can straddle between two continents and mix the modern with the ancient while learning about the Roman and Ottoman empires, then Istanbul is a city for you.

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Is Istanbul in Europe or Asia?

Istanbul has the famous Bosphorus Strait used as the dividing line between Europe and Asia. The city is divided almost right down the middle between the European and Asia Continents. 

You can learn more by reading Is Istanbul in Europe or Asia? by clicking here.

Why Was Constantinople Renamed To Istanbul?

The city of Constantinople was officially renamed Istanbul in the 1930s. Before this time, many people used the name Istanbul, but only part of the city was within the old city walls. Constantinople was named after the Roman Emperor Constantine, credited with bringing Christianity to the Roman Empire.

To learn more, you can read our blog on Why Was Constantinople Renamed To Istanbul? by clicking here.

Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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What Makes Istanbul So Special?