About Istanbul, Turkey
Situated at the crossroads of the East and West, Istanbul is a vibrant city where history meets resplendence. Istanbul is home to 14.4 million people of diverse heritages, as well as stunning examples of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. Its strategic location along the Silk Road has positioned it as a commercial and cultural hub in the Middle East, and it remains one of the fastest growing cities in the world today. Having been nominated as a European Capital of Culture in 2010, Istanbul draws over 11 million visitors a year, and is one of the world’s top five most sought after travel destinations.
Popular Destinations in Istanbul
Having served as the imperial capital for some of the largest empires in the history of the world, Istanbul offers a large selection of historical attractions and architectural marvels. Some of the most famous attractions of Istanbul include:
The Grand Bazaar: Stretching over 61 covered streets and home to over 3,000 stalls, the Grand Bazaar is one of the world’s largest meeting places for merchandise and trade. Commissioned by Mehmet the Conqueror in the 1450s, the Grand Bazaar is situated deep in the Old City of Istanbul. The Grand Bazaar is made up of a complex labyrinth of laneways and hans, or commercial buildings, that are home to numerous craftsmen and artisans, as well as priceless treasures from the region. Today, the Grand Bazaar sees over 300,000 visitors a day and is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions.
Hagia Sophia: Hagia Sophia, or the Church of the Holy Wisdom, is a domed cathedral that served as a striking symbol for the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Once a church and then a mosque, Hagia Sophia is today a museum under the charge of the Turkish Ministry of Culture. Constructed in 537, Hagia Sophia was once the world’s largest cathedral and the focal point of the beginnings of the Great Schism. Hagia Sophia is most famous for its huge dome, which towers over 180 feet above the ground, as well as the mosaics and calligraphy in its interior.
Basilica Cistern: The Basilica Cistern, also known as the “Sunken Palace” or the “Sunken Cistern”, is a massive subterranean structure that is situated beneath Istanbul. The Cistern was intended to provide water filtration for the Great Palace of Constantinople, and was later used to serve the Topkapi Palace of the Ottoman rulers. Today, the Cistern is popular for its imposing columns and symmetric construction. Most notably, the Cistern was featured prominently in the James Bond film From Russia with Love in 1963.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque: Also known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles in its interiors, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque was built in the early 1600s by Sultan Ahmed I following the Peace of Zsitvatorok between the Ottomans and the House of Habsburg in 1606. The mosque was intended to symbolize a re-assertion of Ottoman power and influence in the region, and was built to complement the neighboring Hagia Sophia. The magnificent proportions of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque and its courtyard will most certainly amaze and impress new visitors.
Luxury Lodging in Istanbul
Some of the most luxurious hotels in Istanbul include:
- Byotell Asia Istanbul
- Ceylan InterContinental Hotel Istanbul
- Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul
- Elite World Hotel
- Eresin Crown Hotel Istanbul
- Four Seasons Istanbul at Bosphorus
- Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet
- Hilton Istanbul
- Moevenpick Hotel Istanbul
- Point Hotel Barbaros
- Sultanhan Hotel Istanbul
- Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul
- The House Hotel Bosphorus
- The House Hotel Nisantasi
- The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul
Airports In or Nearby Istanbul
In need of a private aircraft charter to Istanbul, Turkey? There are quite a number of airports in Istanbul and its surrounding regions that you can use to arrive or depart from Istanbul with your private jet. This includes:
- Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST): This airport was opened in 1924 and it is currently the largest and busiest airport in Turkey. It is situated approximately 15 miles from the central business district of Istanbul. In 2013, this airport served nearly 51 million passengers, making it the 10th busiest airport in the world. It features 3 asphalt/concrete runways and 4 terminals. Travelers are able to use the subway service, an airport shuttle service or the municipality buses to travel to and from Istanbul Atatürk Airport.
- Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW): Located approximately 22 miles from Istanbul, this airport was named after the first Turkish female combat pilot. The airport is capable of handling approximately 25 million passengers every year and it features 2 concrete runways. Another runway will be finished in 2017.
- Tekirdağ Çorlu Airport (TEQ): This is a joint civil-military use airport located in Corlu, a city in Turkey. It was opened in 1998, featuring a single asphalt paved runway. This airport is 77 miles away from Istanbul, and it is situated approximately 7 miles away from Corlu.
- Eskişehir Anadolu Airport (AOE): This airport serves the Eskişehir city in Turkey and it is a small international airport with one asphalt paved runway. The Turkish Airlines fly to and fro Brussels from this airport on a seasonal basis.
- Cengiz Topel Naval Air Station (KCO): Also known simply as Topel Airport, this is a joint civil and military use airport located near Izmit, a city in Turkey. This airport is 73 miles away from Istanbul. The airport was opened for public air traffic in 2011 and it features one asphalt paved runway.
- Balıkesir Koca Seyit Airport (EDO): Formerly known as Balıkesir Edremit Körfez Airport, this airport is situated near the city of Edremit, Turkey. The Turkish Government changed the name of this airport in July 2012. It features one concrete runway.
- Antalya Airport (AYT): One of the major airports for the Southwest of Turkey, this airport is located approximately 8 miles from the city of Antalya, a prime holiday destination in Turkey. In 2011, it was used by nearly 25 million passengers. It currently features 3 asphalt/concrete runways and 3 terminals.
- Esenboğa International Airport (ESB): Located 17 miles northeast of Ankara, the capital of Turkey, this airport has been operating since 1955. It features 2 asphalt paved runways. In 2014, more than 11 million passengers used this airport.
- Balıkesir Airport (BZI): Used for both military and public purposes, Balıkesir Airport is situated in the city of Balıkesir (192 miles away from Istanbul) and it features one asphalt paved runway. This airport is also served by one commercial airline.
Interested in a Private Jet Charter to Istanbul?