Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and the 5th largest city in the world. With a population of around 14 plus million, Istanbul is located on the “Bosphorus” strait connected by three picturesque bridges. Istanbul is the only metropolis in the world situated on two continents. As well as being the heart of the country’s economy, Istanbul is also a culture and finance centre.
Being one of the oldest cities in the world, Istanbul is unquestionably one of the most beautiful. Land and sea forming formidable views from any of the city’s 7 hills extending on the European and Asian sides and further up towards the Black Sea. Fittingly, the city has also been named “The City of Seven Hills” as the old town was built on seven hills, each of which bearing a historic mosque giving the city its famous skyline.
In its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital city of the Roman Empire, the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire, the Latin Empire and the Ottoman Empire. The historic areas of Istanbul were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985. Throughout its long history, Istanbul has acquired a reputation for being a cultural and ethnic melting pot. There are numerous historical mosques, churches, synagogues, palaces, castles and towers to visit in the city. Some of these historical landmarks which draw millions to the city every year, reflect the heart and soul of Istanbul.
A vibrant city, renowned for its scenic beauty and cosmopolitan lifestyle supported by dynamic trade, Istanbul offers delegates the chance to experience the high life at a fast pace. From fine dining at the fish restaurants on the Bosphorus or the restaurants on top of the hills of fashionable “Ulus” district to the historic old town which habitats the “Grand Bazaar”, the magnificent “Hagia Sophia”, the “Blue Mosque” and “Basilica Cistern”, the city buzzes with beauty, culture and history. The stunning “Topkapı Palace” is nearby, displaying the glorious treasures of the Ottoman culture, the palace is one of the most visited tourist sights in the world. Adjacent to Topkapı Palace stands “Istanbul Archaeology Museum”, established in 1881. It is one of the largest museums of its kind in the world, containing more than 1,000,000 archaeological pieces from the Mediterranean, the Balkans, the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.
Beyond the district of Beşiktaş lies modern Istanbul, with high rise buildings of Levent and Maslak business districts. Nearby, fashionable residential Etiler, Levent and Ulus districts host several top class restaurants, cafés, clubs, and modern shopping centres such as the “Zorlu Center” as well as “Kanyon”, “Özdilek”, “Akmerkez” and “Istinye Park”. Istanbul has more Shopping Centres than any major European city. And when it comes to shopping, Istanbul’s most celebrated and upscale shopping neighbourhood Nişantaşı is home to Turkey’s leading fashion stores. Reminiscence of London’s New Bond Street, New York’s Fifth Avenue and Milan’s Via Monte Napoleone, the heart of the neighbourhood is fashionable Abdi İpekçi Caddesi, lined with prestigious fashion boutiques and cafes.
Istanbul located at the edge of Silk Road and the junction of Europe and Asia, has been a great location of trade and shopping through the centuries. Starting with the Geneosian Colonies in Istanbul and following Greeks, Jews and Turks carried out a rush trade activity in Istanbul which made it one of the most popular business, fair, congress and trade centers in the world today. All these trade affairs in the city crowned with unique places of shopping such as Grand Bazaar, Egyptian Market, Arasta Bazaar, Sahaflar Bazaar (Old Book Market) and traditional local markets which all are alive today.
Istanbul has also become a centre for modern art in the last 10 years with “Istanbul Modern”, “SantralIstanbul”, “Sakıp Sabancı”, “Pera” and “Rahmi M. Koç” museums whıch attract cultural visitors from all over the world. Considered a gateway to Europe by ancient civilisations of Asia and the Middle East, Istanbul is a must place to attend a conference, for especially first time visitors.
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