Istanbul has a rich history as a city that was the capital of three empires and uniquely sits across two continents – Asia and Europe. In 2012 there were approximately 11.6 million foreign visitors to Istanbul, making it the world’s fifth most popular tourist destination, welcoming visitors from around the world. As one of the largest cities in Europe there is plenty to see and do.
For culture, you can visit many historical places of interest such as the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia museum or Topkapi Palace. You can see where Florence Nightingale nursed troops in the 19th century or admire the Turkish carpet display at the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. You can visit Istanbul’s many art galleries, or take part in one of the numerous cultural events and festivals that take place in the city each year.
Taking a break from your studies you can explore the historic bazaars, including the Grand Bazaar, which, having opened in 1461, is the world’s oldest and largest covered market. You can browse the shopping centres and try the local cuisine at the numerous restaurants across the city or sample the local Turkish Delight. There are plenty of bars, night clubs and Turkish taverns, as well as cinemas, concert halls and theatres.
To unwind you can relax and enjoy one of the many traditional Turkish baths, such as the Cemberlitas Baths, one of the oldest dating back to the 1500s, or enjoy some time out in one of the parks or outdoor spaces that Istanbul offers.
The currency used in Istanbul is Turkish Lira ‘TRY’, you should familiarise yourself with the exchange rates ahead of travelling.
You can find out more about Istanbul but visiting the Istanbul Tourist Board.