Istanbul is a city in Turkey that straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait. One part of Istanbul lies in Europe and the other part lies in Asia. Istanbul’s European part is separated from its Asian part by the Bosphorus strait, a 31-km-long waterway that connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, and forms a natural boundary between the two continents. Two suspension bridges across the Bosporus - the Bosporus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, also called Bosporus Bridge II, connect the two sides, yet many tourist prefer to visit the European side of Istanbul because of its historical significance. The European side is also the city’s commercial center with banks, stores and corporations and two-third of its population. The Asian side feels more relaxed, with wide boulevards, residential neighborhoods and fewer hotels and tourist attractions. The Old City reflects cultural influences of the many empires that once ruled here. In the Sultanahmet district, the open-air, Roman-era Hippodrome was for centuries the site of chariot races, and Egyptian obelisks remain. The iconic Byzantine Hagia Sophia features a soaring dome and Christian mosaics.
Approximately 12.56 million foreign visitors arrived in Istanbul in 2015, five years after it was named a European Capital of Culture, making the city the world's fifth most popular tourist destination. Present-day Istanbul is a flourishing city, with a constantly growing skyline which is one of the most prominent in all of Europe and Western Asia. New developments are constantly being implemented including new metro lines, residential buildings and underground transportation projects such as the Marmaray Tunnel which is the deepest underground tunnel in the world.
Turkish Culture and Food
It is said that three major kinds of cuisine exist in the world; Turkish, Chinese, and French. Fully justifying its reputation, Turkish Cuisine is always a pleasant surprise for the visitor.
Kebabs are dishes of plain or marinated meat either stewed or grilled. Almost every district of Antolia has its own kebap specialty. Lamb is the basic meat of Turkish kitchen. Pieces of lamb threaded on a skewer and grilled over charcoal form the famous Sis Kebab, now known in many countries of the world.
Soups are coming in a wide variety. These may be light, or rich and substantial. They are generally based on meat stock and served at the start of the meal. Lentil soup is the most common and best loved variety, but there are other preferred soups such as yayla , tarhana, asiran and guli soups.
A delicious Turkish specialty is known as pilav, which is a rice dish which is difficult for the inexperienced cook to prepare. In the Black sea region of Turkey they make a great dish with rice and small fish called hamsili piliav. Another interesting dish from the same region is known as Miroloto.
If you like alcohol you can try Raki made of anise, it is called the "lions drink" because you must be strong as a lion to drink it.