The History of Istanbul
Istanbul oftentimes the city is described as the place where east meets west, or Europe meets Asia. Istanbul is the only city in the world to lie on two continents. Beyond its interesting geography, Istanbul full of ancient history. The city today stands upon layers and layers of past civilizations. Emerging out of its past is a rapidly growing, modern, and massive urban metropolis. Istanbul’s mix of east and west, and old and new make it an appealing city to visit.
With its cloudy skies and ancient buildings, my first impression of Istanbul was that of a sleepy town on the edges of both Europe and Asia. However, within a few hours of exploring the city’s bustling streets, my impression quickly changed. Istanbul has a unique energy that is impossible to find anywhere else. The city is one of the world’s largest, holding over 20 million people. In the mornings you see these people filling ferries, buses, subways, and cars on their way to work, while in the evenings they walk Istanbul’s winding avenues, and populate its restaurants, cafe, and bars. People are everywhere, but that’s not a bad thing. People in Istanbul tend to be friendly and polite, and are from all walks of life. Muslims, Jews, Christians, Europeans, Asians, Americans, Africans, and many more all call Istanbul home. The diversity and energy of the city’s inhabitants contribute to a lively and exciting atmosphere. Whether you are interested in simply people-watching, or jumping into the action, you will certainly be encompassed in the buzz of the city.
The city’ diversity however, does not end with its people. As the capital of ancient empires, and historical trading point. One could get lost in exploring the city’s old Ottoman palaces, mosques, churches, and other historic sites. Although old in age, Istanbul has a young spirit. High-rise buildings reach from the ancient ground into the city’s cloudy sky, while trendy new restaurants, cafes, and nightlife make the city among the world’s most modern. Old Ottoman architecture stands next to rising skyscrapers, churches, and mosques. The city is where the east has met west for thousands of years, and continues to do so today.
Istanbul is perhaps best described as a contradiction. It is both old and new, crowded and calm and eastern and western. One can easily lose themselves within the awing diversity and witness a blending of cultures, philosophies, and time periods unlike anywhere else in the world. It is a small piece of the world that includes nearly every part of it, and has something to offer for anyone who might visit.