Straddling both Europe and Asia, Istanbul is bisected by the Bosphorus Strait that separates the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. Istanbul was once Constantinople, and it was actually Byzantium even before that. Throughout its history Istanbul has been an important place, serving as the capital of the Byzantine Empire, and at one point it was the richest city in Europe. In 1453 the city was captured and made the new capital of the Ottoman Empire. It was during this period that this largely Christian city was transformed into an Islamic center. Contact our cruise experts for help planning a cruise to Istanbul, Turkey. Featured below are a few of our favorite experiences for the cruise port of Istanbul, Turkey:
- Visit the Grand Bazaar, a giant commercial shopping center with 4,000 shops, restaurants and teahouses, along with mosques and inns. Here you can find jewelry, rugs and locally-produced yarns.
- See the expansive porcelain collection, along with the throne room and clothing worn by the former Ottoman empires, when you visit Topkapi Palace. This palace built in the 15th century is brimming with riches.
- Attend a Dance of Colours Performance where you’ll be treated to 10 dances from different regions in Turkey, including the whirling dervishes and Sufi music.
- Explore the Haghia Sofia, once considered to be the greatest Christian church, which was built in 537. When the Ottomans took over, the church was converted to a mosque and now this famous landmark is a museum. Inside you’ll find intricate mosaics.
- Relax at a hamam, or Turkish bath, where you can choose to just enjoy the sauna or indulge in a massage. There are several hamam all over the city.