How could I ever give a short summary of Istanbul?
What a city…
What a history…
For about 2000 years the city was called Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire and the largest city of Europe.
Until half of the 15th century, when Sultan Mehmed II invaded the area, renamed the city to Istanbul and made it the capital of the Ottoman empire.
Together with a change of power came a change of religion. The best example of this is Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, once and important cathedral for the Byzantines, later restored into an important Mosque for the Ottomans.
Istanbul has always been a gateway to the East, based strategically on the silk route it was a very popular place for anyone who wanted to sell or buy something.
And this is still visible in Istanbul today.
The Turks are true salesmen, and they know the tricks for how to sell you… well… everything.
Many people had warned me for this, saying that I was going to be harassed and ripped off, but this is not how I experienced it.
To me people seemed very friendly. Of course they wanted my money, but they were very open about it. One guy in the spice market asked me: “Excuse me sir, please tell me how I can get your money”.
And they will try small talk, probably using some words in your language.
And they will start with a ridiculous price, but also with a smile that says: “We both know this is way too much, but that’s just how we do things here”.
And they will give you tea or sweets or anything that could make you feel sorry for not buying anything.
But in the end, they understand a “No” and they will wish you the best for your further visit.
This gallery will take you on a tour through Istanbul, where Europe meets Asia, where Christianity meets Islam, where east meets west.