HISTORICALLY DYNAMIC ISTANBUL. WHY ISTANBUL?.
Istanbul is a city of unparalleled historical and cultural richness that is as fascinating and historical as it is dynamic and modern. Serving as the capital of three mighty empires and set squarely between two continents, Istanbul has cultures and traditions that blend East with West and Mediterranean with Anatolian. Each civilization that has made its home in Istanbul has left its mark in some way, and the result we see today is a city that could only have come about after thousands of years of diverse cultures each adding a little something. With one foot in Europe and another in Asia, and a vibrant atmosphere rooted in history while facing toward the future, Istanbul is truly as much a crossroads of ideas and cultures today as ever. Come see it for yourself! Add your footsteps to those of the millions who have walked along the Bosphorus for millennia and sampled all that Istanbul has to offer.
Istanbul, which has long captured the imagination of artists, writers and travelers with its rich classical, Byzantine and Ottoman heritage, has been selected as the European Capital of Culture in 2010.Seven-member jury including representatives from European Parliament, European Commission, European Council and Committee of Regions selected Istanbul as the European Capital of Culture.
The Istanbul bid is based on the four elements of ancient Greek philosophy -- earth, air, fire and water -- and embrace scores of events, lectures, exhibitions, concerts, plays and shows.
Designed to "contribute to bringing the peoples of Europe together", the European City of Culture project was launched, at the initiative of Melina Mercouri, by the Council of Ministers in 1985. It has become ever more popular with the citizens of Europe and has seen its cultural and socio-economic influence grow through the many visitors it has attracted.
Istanbul has always been a meeting place, a crosspoint, and a destination. Now, with the construction of the new Ataturk Istanbul International Airport completed in 2000, getting to and from Istanbul has never been easier. With a capacity of over 14 million travelers per year, soon to be expanded to over 20 million, Istanbul is surprisingly within reach-infact, it's less than a three-hour flight from most European cities. Located at the crossroads of East and West, Istanbul offers easy air connections to hundreds of cities around the world. The new airport is modern and designed with passenger ease in mind from the 64 passport control checkpoints so that customs lines stay short and hassle-free, to the state-of-the-art security system that consistently receives top ratings from America's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In addition to Ataturk International, Istanbul has a second airport located on the Asian side of the city, Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, which is an important arrival point especially for charter and cargo flights and special events. Sabiha Gokcen is an ideal alternative to Ataturk International that shows great foresight by those preparing for Istanbul's future growth.
There are numerous options for getting around Istanbul. Besides taxi, reliable and affordable public buses, fast, clean and convenient trams and the subway, the enjoyable ferry system and unique to Istanbul, dolmus, or shared taxis are also great ways to travel in the city.
Do you start with ancient history and artifacts, or do you start with the Roman, Byzantine or Ottoman Empires? Istanbul was capital of all three. Few cities in the world have such an amazing array of treasures. Istanbul is a natural gateway, offering a friendly welcome and genuine hospitality. It is a metropolis proud of its rich history and unrivaled natural beauty spread on two continents, Europe and Asia, divided by the Bosphrous. It is attractive both for the beauty of the surrounding landscape and for its historical treasures.
Istanbul’s unique character is well represented in its cultural life. Here you will find significant examples of Islamic Art, masterpieces of ceramic art as well as modern art at the recently opened Istanbul Modern Art Museum. Sabancı Museum's collection of precious manuscripts and extensive collection of 19th and 20th century paintings are on permanent exhibition. The museum also hosts national and foreign exhibitions. It hosted an unique Picasso and Rodin Exhibitions recently. Istanbul also hosts the Istanbul Biennial, which is a themed month-long event meant to encourage stimulating artistic dialogue and understanding between artists from different fields and different cultures. There's so much to do, from theatres and exhibitions to museums, historic and architectural tours and cruises.
Istanbul Biennal 2004 Poster
From the ubiquitous sounds of live, traditional Turkish music and dancing in restaurants throughout the city to cultural and artistic events, international festivals, and glitzy clubs and bars on the Bosphorus, Istanbul is a city that knows how to entertain, and it knows how to party.
Whether you're looking for family entertainment, educational events, or just looking for a night out that would make Dionysus proud, Istanbul's got it all, from the water-front clubs with internationally-recognized DJs to five-star dining and even sushi on the Bosphorus!
Nightlife in Istanbul is a way of life, and few cities in the world have such a variety of world-class clubs and bars.
The Istanbul festival season generally runs from April to November, with several great events planned for that period. The largest and most important festivals are organized and promoted by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, founded in 1973. With international festivals for Film, Theatre, Music, and Jazz, Istanbul attracts big names and large crowds, always with a truly international artistic flair. Istanbul's festivals are generally city-wide events, with showings taking place at any number of interesting venues across the city.
Turkish cuisine is among the most varied and extensive in the world, and fine restaurants offering the classics of Turkish cuisine as well as modern interpretations of classic favorites dot the Istanbul culinary landscape. Istanbul, with a restaurant almost literally at every turn, is a real culinary treat, and a snacker's paradise. Whether you try the variations of Kebabs, or the fresh fish from the Bosphorus or the numerous kinds of fresh vegetables, you are guaranteed the delicious dining experience. Turkey is also home to a burgeoning wine industry, which is just now beginning to gain some international acclaim. The Bogazkere, Okuzgozu, and Kalecikkarasi grape varieties yield excellent vintages and are definitely worth a try. With vinyards all across western Anatolia between the age-old lunar landscapes of Cappadocia, the Euphates Valley, Thrace and the Aegean, there is no shortage of excellent choices of wines.
If you're looking for a taste of the world, international cuisine is available at enticing locations across Istanbul, historic and modern, many with breathtaking views of the Bosphorus.
As they always say, cosmopolitan Istanbul is a meeting place of cultures, and has been for centuries. And that also means it's also a meeting-place of foods and cuisines. So come to Turkey, experiment a little, and as the Turks say, "Afiyet olsun.," or "Bon appetit."
Istanbul is one of the world's most exciting conference destinations and is an increasingly popular choice for the world's leading international associations, and meeting planners. Istanbul is home to numerous members of the ICCA, the International Congress and Convention Association, which is the most extensive and prominent meetings organization in the world.Istanbul's outstanding infrastructure, including modern, luxurious accommodations, state-of-the-art conference and exhibition venues and experienced conference professionals, makes it a logical choice for organizers. And, when combined with the city's fabulous history and stunning natural beauty, not to mention cultural riches, exciting shopping, sophisticated nightlife and world-class dining, it's not hard to figure out why top associations choose Istanbul, and enjoy exceptionally high attendance when they do! So, when you can offer your guests luxury accommodations, organize your conference from the plenary session to the closing ceremonies in facilities equipped with the latest technology and able to accommodate over 3,500 for a banquet, plus give them Istanbul's 3,500 years of history to discover and the beauty of the Bosphorus, you can naturally expect to create an outstanding event.
Grand Cevahir Hotel has the biggest ballroom in Europe,
Grand Cevahir Hotel & Convention Center, has been specially
designed to cater to every need from business meetings
to conventions, product launches to large social events.
Grand Cevahir Hotel offers superior accomodation in luxury.
There is air-conditioning with 4 settings, mini bar, internet access,
satellite TV, voice mail system, direct telephone, alarm, music broadcast,
electronic door key system, private safe, bath phone, bath emergency call,
24 hour room service and dry-cleaning service .
There are 22 acoustically designed and high ceiling meeting
rooms including the largest ballroom in Turkey are offered
combined with the latest technology at the of the Grand Cevahir Hotel
and Convention Center.
Grand Cevahir Hotel is located approximately 20 km from
Atatürk International Airport, and at the city centre of İstanbul.
*Whirling Dervishes Performances
*Interactive Percussion Shows
*Folkloric Dance Shows
*Various Music Bands/Groups
*Various Dance Company Performances
*Traditional Turkish/Ottoman Nights
Number of different & interesting tours available through these extraordinary sites, museums, mosques and palaces;
Full-day or half day tours in the old city.
Special shopping trips
Historical cruises visiting palaces along the Bosphorus
Day excursions to near by islands or outdoor activities/games
Special trips to historical Turkish Baths
Coffee/Tea Breaks or luncheons in historical tea houses or cafes
Art Museum visits
Sunset Cruises on the Bosphorus or in the Golden Horn with Sultan Kayıks*
Hagia (St.) Sophia: This magnificient architecture was built by Constantine the great and considered as the masterpiece of Byzantine art. Its first construction dates back to the end of the 4th century. Considered as “The Eight Wonder of the World”, this brilliant historical site is a must see in Istanbul.
Topkapi Palace: Another must see in Istanbul. This palace was the imperial residence of the Ottoman sultans and it is the most extensive and fascinating monument of Turkish civil architecture in existence. It also houses extraordinary collections of porcelain, armour, fabrics, jewelery, miniatures, calligraphy and many other precious objects that once belonged to the sultans and their court.
Blue Mosque: Facing Hagia Sophia, famous with its blue Iznik tiles and unique with 6 minarets, was built in the name of Sultan Ahmet. It is almost the symbol of Istanbul. The blue and white of more than 20.000 İznik tiles are in a perfect harmony with golden manuscripts of Koran and the red of the carpets.
Hippodrome: “Hippodrome” was constructed with the order of the Roman Emperor Septimus and then reconstructed as the hippodrome during the reign of Constantine the Great. The center of social life for Byzantium and Ottoman Empire could host 100,000 spectators. It was the scene of countless political and military events during the long life of this city. The Eygptian Obelisk is one of the three monuments decorating the
Hippodrome. This 3500-year-old monument was brought to Constantinople by Emperor Theodosius in 390 AD.
Underground Basillica Cistern: It is one the most breathtaking historical sites in Istanbul. Here one discovers the grandiose nature of the past while touring through Istanbul’s largest and most magnificient underground Cistern. It was built by the Emperor Justinian in the 6th century to supply water to the near by palace complex. The cistern has 336 decorated
columns. Two spectacular Medusa head carvings were discovered
during the restoration works.
Chora (Kariye) Museum: It is also known as the mosaic museum and is located within the city walls of Edirne Kapı. The mosaics and frescoes were designed and executed between 1315 and 1321. Chora Museum is originally formed the center of a Byzantine monestry complex. Only the church section, which was dedicated to Jesus Christ the Savior, has survived. After the arrival of Ottomons in Istanbul, this building was converted to a mosque. In 1948, it was converted into a museum leaving no Islamic element in the building.
Suleymaniye Mosque: A spectacular architectural artwork of the Great Architect Sinan and a best example of Ottoman architecture. Standing in the courtyard of the mosque gives one the chills and make one appreciate this breathtaking artwork..
Grand Bazaar: Time for shopping through 4400 shops in the famous Grand Bazaar, the oldest covered shopping area in the world! One will explore the mysterious atmosphere and numberless side streets with gold and diamond shops, leather and textile shops as well as beautiful handcrafts of Turkey.
Spice Market: Opportunity to shop and smell the
finest herbs and Turkish delicates! Spice Market
is one of Istanbul’s most exciting and colorful bazaars
with its cosy atmosphere offering the mystery of
Oriental cuisine through extraordinary spices
and herbs in thousands of sacks.
*Sultan Kayıks: Sail and relax with joy like the Sultans did!
During the Ottoman Empire, the Sultans’ favorite personal pleasure was to sail on the Bosphorus with a special wooden boat called “Kayık”. These boats had a gondola-like design, made from special kind of wood, interiors covered in velvet with silk cushions, rowed by trained oarsmen. Now, these “kayıks” are back are used for special tours. Guests can have drinks and music on board. Capacity is 30 pax per boat.
Dolmabahce Palace- This impressive building represent contemporary and unique architecture in Ottoman Empire. The palace was built by Sultan Abdulmecit as the outcome of his Westernization influences between the years 1844 and 1853. It houses one of the finest materials used in Ottoman Empire such as very expensive chandeliers, crystals, glasses and furniture. It served as the residence of late Ottoman Emperors and Ataturk, the founder of Turkey. The tour of this palace is certainly worthwhile.
Princess Islands Tours - Consisting of nine islands in the Sea of Marmara, the Princes' Islands are just a short ferry ride from Istanbul, yet has a very different feel than the
city. These peaceful and relaxed islands are great
to have fish, walk around, ride
with horse carriages and see the
colorful historical places such as
churhes and old mansions and
enjoy the beautiful view of the
Marmara Sea and Istanbul
from a distance.
Klassis Golf & Country Club
Klassis Golf & Country Club is one of the leading clubs of Europe
at international standards. At the first international-standard
course of Turkey, where international tournaments are held, which
is built on an impressive area of 1,500,000 m2 at the
Klassis Golf & Country Club, in the midst of nature, you can
enjoy playing golf, which is one of the most prestigious sports
of the world. In addition to golf courses, Klassis Golf & Country Club
offers an ideal atmosphere with its indoor and outdoor
arenas and for long trail riding in the forest, for horseback riding.
Kemer Country Golf Club
KG&CC Golf Club is without question Istanbul's most impressive golf club. The course is 6,300 meters long, with 18 holes on a 73 par. Set amongst the rolling hills of the Belgrad Forest, the Club offers a championship golf course of rare beauty and challenge, a stunning wind through the hilly forests of Kemer, featuring lush green fairways and artfully contoured bunkers designed by internationally renown courses designer Joan Dudok Van Heel and set among lakes and streams.