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Istanbul Time



The capital of empires… The city that dominated continents… The cradle of civilisation… The meeting point of cultures and civilisations… These are some of the thousands of phrases that describe İstanbul. Yet neither words nor any amount of reading or listening are sufficient to truly describe and become familiar with the city. Only when you walk along its historic streets, when you see with your own eyes the architectural masterpieces of Byzantine and Ottoman Empires in their original setting, when you enjoy the panoramic vistas of its unique location, and when you start to explore its mystical beauties – only then will you begin to discover, and to fall in love with İstanbul.

İstanbul is the most developed and largest city of Turkey, and the latest discoveries indicate that the history of human habitation goes back 400,000 years ago. The Megarians settled and founded the city of Byzantium that later lent its name to the Byzantine Empire. However, the first settlers in the region established their city Chalcedon (Kadıköy), on ‘the land of blind people’ which was strategically less important. And the Megarians, led by an Oracle, became aware of the beauty of Seraglio Point (Sarayburnu), and they established their city there on the opposite side of the Chalcedon.

Where to go?

Camlica Hill

Church of St. Savior in Chora

Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque

Hamams of Istanbul


Theodosian Walls Walk

How can I get there?


Most planes arrive at Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IATA: IST), 20 km west of the city centre. From the airport, there are various options for getting into Istanbul: you can take a taxi (about 35-40 TL to Taksim. There is no night fare in Istanbul anymore – the price would be the same at midnight or midday. About the same to Sultanahmet), the express bus service run by the local airport service called “Havataş”, which departs half-hourly between 4AM-midnight and costs 10 TL to Taksim and Aksaray and Kozyatağı), the public bus (line №96T) run by İETT costing 5 TL (3.5 with İstanbulKart), which has fewer departure times now, due to Havatas, which is also a municipality engaged bus service.


Traffic in Istanbul can be manic; expect a stressful drive because you will be cut off and honked at constantly. The city currently holds more than 1,500,000 automobiles and there is a strong demand for building of new or alternate highways. If you’ve arrived in Istanbul by car, and you’re not familiar with the streets, it’s better to park your car in a safe place and take public transportation to get around.


International trains to Sirkeci

  • Daily overnight train Balkan Express from Belgrade (Serbia) via Sofia (Bulgaria).
  • Daily overnight Bosphorus Express from Bucharest (Romania)
  • Trains from Budapest and Thessaloniki are cancelled since 2011.

International trains to Haydarpasa

  • Schedule and price list of railway trips can be gathered from TCDD (Turkish Republic State Railways). Weekly trains to Aleppo (Syria) – taken out of service in 2008; it is unknown whether and when this service will resume.
  • Weekly train to Teheran (Iran) (from Haydarpasa station) every Wednesday 10:55PM, costing 105 Turkish lira.


Most buses and coaches terminate at the colossal Esenler district named Otogar in Turkish the main intercity bus station, about 10 km west of the city center, located on the European side. The station can be easily reached via the Otogar stop on the M1. Companies may also have courtesy minibuses or taxis which will allow you to easily access the center of the city.


İstanbul is the largest cruiser port of Turkey, and it is on the regular routes of cruises and yachts. The Salıpazarı (Tuesday Market) Cruiser Port of İstanbul is one of the ten most frequented ports in Europe.