Istanbul: the world’s hippest city?

June 23, 2011   Filed under Travel Destination

Istanbul is the largest city of Turkey, and is the cultural and economic centre of it as well. In the northwest of the country, the city sits on the Bosphorus strait and includes the natural harbour the Golden Horn. It is so large that it extends on the European and Asian side of the Bosphorus strait, meaning that it is the only metropolitan area to be transcontinental.

The city has a long and colourful history that spans many different civilisations. It was taken as a seat of the eastern Roman Empire after being home to the Greeks. This was how it got its name Constantinople. Then after much contesting, the city was taken over by the Ottoman Turks and it was they that gave it the name it bears today. Throughout all these occupations the city has become collection of cultural artefacts, architecture and practices that make it a fascinating and vibrant place to live.

It is not just ancient history that makes Istanbul the place it is, however, for in the last hundred years it has slowly become a centre for modern culture as well, making it an alluring place for the young and hip. The food in the city for example has expanded far beyond its Turkish base, and now includes many high quality restaurants of cuisines from all over the world.

There are world renowned artists from Turkey that regularly play at the stadiums of the city, but there are also more high brow things such as opera, ballet and theatre. There are also massively popular seasonal music and arts festivals, featuring world famous jazz artists or classical orchestras. Add to this the bustling night life of clubs and discotheques, and the gorgeous open air bars for summer and you’re beginning to see what a centre of activity the city is.

Newsweek magazine was so impressed with everything that Istanbul had to offer that it dubbed the city ‘the hippest city in Europe’, and affectionately referred to it as the ‘Turkish delight’. The fact that the city is only growing ever bigger and more colourful means that in the future we may well be calling it the hippest city on the planet.

Enjoy Turkey and stay at Istanbul hotels that are a bit more traditional.


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