At Global Alliance, we take the “Worldwide” in our company name very seriously. We pride ourselves in offering premium limousine services to our clientele not only in our home base of Toronto but around the globe. Through our sophisticated network of trusted worldwide affiliates, Global Alliance can provide professional chauffeured services in hundreds of international cities. We will discuss many of the major worldwide destinations served via our affiliate network on this blog. In this edition, we will talk about the historic city that spans the gap between two continents, Istanbul, Turkey.
A sprawling metropolis of 15 million people and the largest city in Turkey, Istanbul spreads out from the west and east shores of the Bosphorus Strait, traditionally considered an important point of division between the continents of Europe and Asia. From its commanding position at the south end of the Bosphorus on the Sea of Marmara, on the waterway connection of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, Istanbul has been a key strategic centre and trade port for centuries.
A small Greek settlement then called Byzantium rose to great prominence in the 4th Century, when the Emperor Constantine the Great made it the eastern capital of the newly Christianized Roman Empire. The renamed Constantinople expanded through many years of ambitious imperial building schemes, with a massive Hippodrome for chariot races and other events and the enormous 6th Century church of Hagia Sophia highlighting the old city at the confluence of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn.
Constantinople was the capital of the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire and the centre of the Eastern Orthodox Church until the mid-15th Century, when it was conquered by the Turks and became Istanbul, the grand capital of the Ottoman Empire until the early 20th Century and the establishment of the Turkish Republic. Still a major world city and tourist destination, Istanbul is today a vibrant, diverse metropolis with an incredibly rich history.
That history has left Istanbul with many remarkable landmarks. Hagia Sophia, now a museum with its great dome, towering minarets from its period as a mosque, and interior treasures, is perhaps the most remarkable. The cityscape is dotted by domed mosques of a similar design, many of them built by the Ottomans and some, like the Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque facing its model Hagia Sophia, approaching it in sheer magnificence. Not far from these monuments is the rambling Topkapi Palace, seat of the Ottoman sultans and government for centuries. The bustling historic markets of the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar are also centrally located. All of these sites and more in the historic centre of Istanbul are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Modern Istanbul is vibrant as well, with its entertainment, cultural, and shopping core centred on the Beyoglu and Taksim Square area across the Golden Horn from the tourist-geared historic centre. The modern business centre of the city is nearby as well, at Levent in Besitkas. The Asian shore of the Bosphorus is also made up of lively, active neighbourhoods and worthy sights.
Istanbul is a transport hub for its region, served well by rail, road, and waterborne transport, with ferries and even cruise ships to and from nearby destinations. The city has two international airports, the larger Istanbul Ataturk (which handles over 50 million travellers a year) nearer to the city centre on the European side, and Sabiha Gokcen International on the eastern, Asian side of the city.
Please feel free to contact Global Alliance Worldwide Chauffeured Services for all of your transportation needs in Istanbul, Turkey.