When it comes to Turkey we cannot ignore their current emblematic city, Istanbul. The city itself has become a tourist destination by its own. Its bustling streets crowded with merchants make it a lively city in which to discover the customs, rituals and ways of understanding the life of the Turks.
This particular part of the world is known for its colourful and stressful business world that surrounds the markets and squares of Istanbul. Its more than nine million people, predominantly Muslims, live their religion as something more than a simple cultural aspect, so it is amazing how they respond to the call to prayer that is made five times a day, running from one place to another to pray when they hear the sound of various mosques in the city at the same time. You can visit several monuments in the city, mosques, squares and markets that will show their customs, very different from the Western ones, something worth seeing.
The Grand Bazaar is one of the most visited places, some curious facts reveal the reason: it has more than 58 streets and 4,000 shops and it receives about 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. Hence, it is recognized as one of the world's major bazaars. Although it is very difficult to see it completely, it is a place you cannot miss, its colours and fragances, thanks to the abundant spice shops, give a special atmosphere to this area of the city. Mainly in the Grand Bazaar we will find jewelry stores, goldsmithing, silversmithing, carpets and other essentials of any kind. We have to remember that in this bazaar they have an unusual ability to draw the attention of tourists and negotiate with them, so it is recommended to look for good prices before buying, because the differences in prices between several shops are evident.
Another tourist attraction is the Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Mosque, it is an imposing building that is impressive in the outside, and the sumptuousness of the interior leaves no doubt, it is one of the greatest works of art in Istanbul. The construction of the mosque began in August 1609. The sultan's intention was the Blue Mosque be the first mosque of his empire, hence the luxury and grandeur of this building. The exterior is mostly made of stone and marble, thus it appears to be newly constructed despite its hundreds of years. Inside there are more than 20,000 blue glazed tiles adorning the dome and the top of the mosque. There is a great natural light thanks to its 200 stained glass windows.
There is no doubt that Istanbul is one of the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan cities of Asia, a place to know the culture and traditions of an ancient people. Turkey still holds more surprises, we will soon talk more about this unique country.