Interesting Facts about Istanbul That Will Make You Visit The City
It would take a book to compile all the intriguing facts about Istanbul. Given its iconic role as the most important city in Turkey, this is hardly surprising. It would be fair to say that the city exists in a different bubble from the rest of the country in terms of urban infrastructure, food, history, and population. It would also take a lifetime to fully comprehend the way the inhabitants live, their culture, and their heritage.
So, in order to introduce the city and give everyone a cause to visit, we have chosen a well-rounded bunch of information for this post. Let's mention a wildly incorrect assumption before we get started. You'd be surprised by how many people believe that Ankara, not Istanbul, is the capital of Turkey. This does not lessen its significance, however, as it is a well-known travel destination and the center of commerce, banking, education, and the arts.
9 Interesting Facts About Istanbul
1- It is the Only City on Two Continents
Istanbul is divided into two continents by the Bosphorus strait, which passes right through the city center. This explains why empires have waged wars for control over the straits for many ages. Along with Taksim and Beyoglu, which is known as New Istanbul and is the center of shopping and nightlife, the historical neighborhood of Sultanahmet is located on the European side of the city. However, the Asian side has gained a reputation as a unique and intriguing location to visit over the past 10 years as travelers have grown more autonomous and sought to venture off the main path. A sail around the Bosphorus is a fantastic chance to observe both continents.
2- Exiled Royalty and the Princes’ Islands
Exiled princes or princesses resided on the Princes Islands off the Asian coast during the Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Buyukada is currently the most well-known of the nine islands. Also banished there were five byzantine princesses. Nowadays, it serves more as a getaway than a prison, and many residents take the ferry to the island without cars. A lovely collection of antique Ottoman homes with their original wooden architecture can also be found by wandering the alleys.
3- Seven Hills of Istanbul
The Byzantine Empire ruled before the Ottomans took Constantinople, and in an effort to rival and surpass Rome, they also built Istanbul on seven hills. Due to the presence of the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace on the first hill, the majority of visitors don't realize they are touring it. The renowned Grand Bazaar can be found on the second hill, which leads to the Eminonu seashore.
4- Agatha Christie and the Mystery of Room 411
At the Pera Palas hotel, Agatha Christie penned her book, Murder on the Orient Express. The only one with power, it was where a lot of celebrities stayed. Agatha Christie's ghost allegedly spoke to a psychic in 1979 and told her that the Pera Palas hotel's room 411 held the solution to her enigmatic disappearance, which had occurred some fifty years before. She instructed me to look under the floorboards for a key and a box containing a secret journal. The hotel's management discovered only the key, not the box. Agatha haunts room 411, according to some, while others claim it was all a publicity gimmick. You can find out for yourself if you have 1600 Turkish lira available for a single night's lodging.
5- Mark Twain in Constantinople
Famous novelist Mark Twain entered the Golden Horn on the Quaker ship in 1867. He was off on one of the most important journeys of his life with a group of friends, and he wrote about it in his book, The Innocents Abroad. Mark Twain, though, wasn't really taken aback by what he witnessed.
Despite being a famous structure, Mark Twain referred to the Hagia Sophia as "the rustiest old barn in heathendom." He also referred to the Grand Bazaar, which was and still is among the largest markets in the world, as "a huge hive of small stores." Turkish coffee did not appeal to him, and he was unimpressed by the local ritual of taking a Turkish bath. The Innocents Abroad was the worst travel guide ever created for the magnificent city.
6- Istanbul’s 3113 Mosques
In Turkey, the call to prayer is sounded five times every day in mosques. Going to the top of Galata Tower's observation deck during this time will allow you to hear them ring out throughout Istanbul. Considering Istanbul has more than 3000 mosques, it is a loud sound. The Blue Mosque, built in the 17th century, is the most well-known and is located in Sultanahmet Square. The Suleymaniye Mosque, also built in the 17th century and listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is another spectacular structure and a must-see.
7- The Spoon Maker’s Diamond
According to an urban legend, a beggar discovered a stone in 1669 resting atop a pile of trash. He exchanged the stone for three wooden spoons from a local spoon maker, who then sold it to a jeweler for 10 cents. When two further jewelers saw the stone and acknowledged its magnificence, an argument broke out. After learning about the discussion, the noble Sultan Mehmed the sixth requested to view the stone. The 86 carat pear-shaped stone, which he came into possession of, is currently the fourth-largest diamond in the world and is still kept in its original location, the Topkapi Palace.
8- Aga Hamam – The Oldest Turkish Bath
The long-standing custom of Turkish baths is the last item on our list of fascinating Istanbul facts. Since it originated in the Roman baths, both locals and visitors enjoy this unwinding activity. While some hotels feature contemporary Turkish hammams that also serve as spa facilities, if you want to experience a bygone age, visit Istanbul's oldest Turkish bath, the 15th-century Aga Hamam. It has undergone considerable repairs and modifications over the years, yet guests still experience a sense of nostalgia as they move through the steam chamber and onto a massage. Mehmed the Conqueror once utilized it as a private Hammam.
9- Sacred Relics of Topkapi Palace
Within the walls of the Topkapi Palace, rare objects besides diamonds can also be found. The sacred relics, also known as the holy relics, are located in a small room off the third courtyard. The collection includes artifacts including Abraham's pot, Muhammad's sword, and Moses' staff. Muhammad's beard hair and a handwritten note are kept in a different room.
A mufti recite the Quran in the same area, and they always request that guests remain silent and show respect. Other exhibitions include the royal armoury, treasury, apparel, and personal objects from Ottoman monarchy in addition to this collection and the spoonmakers diamond. Topkapi Palace should therefore be on the itinerary for first-time tourists.
Istanbul is a destination that gives visitors a singular and unforgettable experience. Istanbul offers something for everyone, from its fascinating history and beautiful architecture to its delectable cuisine and welcoming people. Visitors are guaranteed to be enthralled by this exciting city and depart with lifelong memories.