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Istanbul
If Ankara can be called the heart of Turkey, Istanbul is definitely its soul. Once the capital of the Byzantine Empire, it has preserved the beauty of ancient architecture which is harmoniously combined with modern buildings. Istanbul is often called the museum city with so many tourist attractions.

Museums and historical attractions of ancient Istanbul are equivalent to half of all historical treasures and relics available in Turkey. Istanbul is a city where East meets West, Asia joins Europe, and Islam neighbors Christianity. This is the city where different cultures and religions are intertwined into a single entity. From the standpoint of historical and cultural values, ??Istanbul can be equivalent to Rome.

There are more than 400 fountains in Istanbul, with the fountain of Sultan Ahmed III as one of the most beautiful. This architectural masterpiece adorns the Yuskyudar area and is built in the Ottoman Baroque style emphasizing European influence on the classical Ottoman architecture. The fountain is located in front of the gate to the Imperial Topkapi Palace. It was built in 1728 and is known for its extraordinary beauty.

Ataturk Bridge is another prominent sight of Istanbul. The bridge over the Bosporus is linking the European and Asian shores of Turkey and has become one of the symbols of the whole country. The opening of the bridge took place in 1973 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. It is the fourth bridge in the world with the length of 1.560 m. Most of the beautiful buildings of the city are located on the shore of the Bosphorus. A visit to the city is definitely incomplete without seeing one of the most beautiful sea straits.

Belgrade Forest is the largest park in Istanbul. It is located in the European part of the city at some distance from the Black Sea. In the Ottoman era, Belgrade Forest which runs to the foothills of Istrandzha, occupied an area of about 13.000 hectares, but today it is almost three times smaller. This is a deciduous forest where oaks predominate. In addition to these mighty giants, one can find the eastern beech, hornbeam, and Anatolian chestnuts here. The park is home to dozens of species of birds and mammals. It is widely known for its underground springs which formerly played an important role in the city's water supply. The Belgrade forest has turned into a popular holiday destination, where the inhabitants of Istanbul tend to spend their weekends.

One of the most luxurious buildings of Istanbul is the Dolmabahce Palace, built in the middle of the 19th century. Its facade stretches for 600 meters along the European shore of the Bosphorus. The palace was built as the residence of the last Ottoman Sultans.

The richness of internal decoration is evidenced by the fact that the furnishing and decoration of rooms required 14 tons of gold and 40 tons of silver. The Dolmabahce Mosque is located in the southern part of the Dolmabahce Palace, on the shores of the Bosphorus. This is one of the most sumptuously decorated mosques in the Baroque style. Its unique round windows resemble a peacock's tail, and its two minarets dominate the area.

Another memorable attration is the Sultan's Palace which has been the power center of the Ottoman Empire. The palace consists of several houses and buildings surrounded by a magnificent garden. The city is proud of its ancient temple of Hagia Sophia, a magnificent creation of mankind. Some of the most famous mosques include the Blue Mosque, the world's only mosque with six minarets, and the Suleymaniye Mosque, one of the most beautiful of all mosques of Istanbul. Istanbul's other attractions include the Covered Market (Kapali bazaar), the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Byzantine mosaics, the 15th-century fortress Rumeli Hisar, the ancient Hippodrome, and the Maiden Tower which is one of the most romantic symbols of Istanbul.






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