Visual Adventure: Istanbul

Gary Arndt August 6, 2014 2

As an amateur student of history, I was excited by the idea of visiting Istanbul – a city richer in history than most others. Formerly known as Constaninople, Istanbul has been a cultural, religious, or political centre (and sometimes all three) for thousands of years.

People have lived in the area since as far back as 7,000 BC, but it was the formal establishment of the Greek town of Byzantium around 660 BC that ushered the city into its periods of great development. By 330 AD, Roman Emperor Constantine created a new city on the site and named it after himself, calling it Constantinople.

While the Roman Empire in the west collapsed, the eastern half of the empire (based out of Constantinople) would remain for an additional thousand years. This would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire, and Constantinople would continue to serve as its capital until 1453, when the city fell to the Ottoman Turks, (who in turn would make the city their own capital of the Ottoman Empire.) This new empire would rule most of the Middle East from Constantinople for almost 500 years, until the end of World War I in 1918.

Today in Istanbul, you can still see the remnants of all the cities and capitals it’s been in its storied past. From the Hagia Sophia, to the Ottoman Topkapi Palace and modern Turkish architecture, history can be found everywhere you look in this place. It’s no wonder Istanbul is consistently one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.

The view of the dome and stupas from Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

The view of the dome and stupas from Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

Looking down on the interior of Hagia Sophia.

Looking down on the interior of Hagia Sophia.

Islamic writings inside Hagia Sophia

Islamic writings inside Hagia Sophia.

Kababs over a grill.

Kababs over a grill.

Ancient scribbles on a tablet.

Ancient scribbles on a tablet.

A tower against a blue sky.

A tower against a blue sky.

Waves splashing beneath the Bosphorus Bridge.

Waves splashing beneath the Bosphorus Bridge.

The water surface glistens in the sunlight

The water surface glistens in the sunlight


Getting There

G Adventures runs a number of departures to Turkey encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater for different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this gorgeous country— check out our small group trips here.

2 Comments »

  1. Seth August 8, 2014 at 5:27 am - Reply

    Are you still there? If you have some time, go and explore the city walls. An all-you-can-see buffet of Istanbul’s history, peppered with plenty of contemporary local flavors =) I followed this walking tour and was quite honestly blown away by how different Istanbul sounds, looks, and feels there!

    http://www.theguideistanbul.com/news/view/1374/istanbuls-old-city-walls/

  2. Marie-France (a.k.a. BigTravelNut) August 8, 2014 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    Nice historical summary. I’m hoping to go after TBEX Athens this fall!

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