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When Istanbul Treaty Was Signed: All You Need to Know About Istanbul Convention



The Istanbul Treaty is a convention that requires governments that have passed the convention through their parliaments to take a series of comprehensive measures to combat violence against women and all forms of domestic violence. Each article of the convention aims to prevent acts of violence from occurring, to assist victims, and to bring perpetrators to justice. The Convention requires criminalization of different forms of violence against women, such as domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, and psychological violence, and to impose legal sanctions against them.



The full name of the Istanbul Convention is “The Council of Europe Convention on Prevention of and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence”. It was opened for signature in Istanbul on May 11, 2011, and entered into force on August 1, 2014. It was named this way because it was opened for signature in Istanbul. In particular, violence against women and girls and bearing the characteristic of being the first European Convention on domestic violence targeted at the Convention so far has been approved by 34 countries including Turkey. Turkey signed the Convention was opened to the signature on 11 May 2011, it has confirmed March 14, 2012. Thus, Turkey became the first country to ratify the agreement.

What Is Istanbul Convention?


The draft law showing that the Council of Europe Convention relating to combating violence against women and domestic violence is appropriate has been enacted by the approval of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Parliament) in 2011. The first signatory country was Turkey in the Istanbul Convention which was named this because it is opened for signature in Istanbul. The contract defines the concepts of violence against women, domestic violence, and gender-based violence against women.

The convention, which is the first binding document on violence against women and domestic violence in the international arena, includes the following: The Istanbul Convention includes psychological violence, stalking, physical violence, rape, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, forced abortion, forced sterilization, sexual violence including rape and harassment. It covers all types of violence against women. Within the framework of the contract, domestic violence is based on the protection of women, including all kinds of acts of violence between their current or former spouse or partners, whether they live in the same house or not.



Positioning women does not require being a “family”, a marital union, or sharing the same house. Obligations brought by the contract are primarily directed at government officials. The state must ensure that its officials acting on its behalf fulfill the requirements of the Istanbul Convention. States’ responsibility is not limited to this. Regardless of whether the perpetrator of the violence is the woman’s lover, husband, father, or boss, the duty of preventing, investigating, punishing, and compensating the violence belongs to the state.

The four basic principles of the convention are the prevention of all forms of violence against women and domestic violence, protection of victims of violence, prosecution of crimes, the punishment of criminals, and finally, the implementation of holistic, coordinated, and effective cooperation policies in the field of combating violence against women. The Istanbul Convention, which is a human rights-based convention against violence against women, allows not only punishment or abolition of impunity, but also allows women to live without fear, safety, violence, and discrimination, and to be compensated for the violence they are subjected to.

Detailed Information About Istanbul Convention


First of all, it should be noted that the Istanbul Convention does not only cover women. All family members including men – especially children – are covered by these regulations and this is clearly stated in both the Istanbul Convention and law no 6284. Those who can benefit from the regulations are not women but ‘victims’ regardless of whether they are men or women. The experience gained from violent incidents in many societies has clearly shown that; Victims of violence, mostly women, hide their cases of violence for a long time, fearing the pressure of the perpetrator and mostly the social environment.

Referral to the police or other competent authority often occurs when the victim begins to fear life. Once the violence reaches this level, it works against the victim every minute. For this reason, in the case of an application for protection, the judge can order an injunction order in favor of the victim of violence as an acute measure, since the evidence will take time. This decision has nothing to do with the Criminal Procedure, nor does it mean detention in any way. The party against whom a cautionary decision has been taken is given the right to appeal against the injunction decision.



The injunction against the person who proves to the court that the alleged victimization has not occurred is immediately lifted. In addition, these measures are not considered to be in the register of individuals. It only aims at avoiding the danger of violence. As every law can be abused in some way, the abuse of this regulation results in the removal of a person from home. Although this is a grievance, on the other hand, if every report is not taken seriously, the injury and loss of life that may occur is incomparably critical.

Although the convention does not only cover women, it mostly applies to women. Because women are subjected to violence more than men (forced abortion, female genital mutilation, sexual harassment and rape, stalking, sexual harassment, domestic violence, forced marriage, forced sterilization, etc.). These types of violence stem from the unequal power relations between men and women and discrimination against women. However, men are also subjected to some forms of violence covered by the Convention, such as domestic violence and forced marriage, often to a lesser extent and often to milder forms of violence. By accepting this fact in the convention, the state parties to the convention are encouraged to apply the provisions of the convention to all victims of domestic violence, including men, children, and the elderly. States can decide whether to apply the Convention to those victims of domestic violence.

Istanbul Convention and LGBT


The Convention does not contain any provision to establish a third type or to establish or promote LGBT tendencies as legal norms. It does not set new standards regarding sexual orientation, including the legal recognition of same-sex couples. To claim that this convention causes the legitimacy of homosexual orientations is malevolent, to say the least. The concept of “sexual orientation” is only mentioned in Article 4 of the Convention. No discrimination against anyone in the fight against violence in the article; It was emphasized that violence based on gender and sexual orientation should not be accepted together with many factors such as religion, language, race, etc. The article does not contain any imposition. All people are covered by the matter. It is unthinkable to keep any person outside the umbrella of protection from violence.



The issue frequently expressed in society as “the statement of the woman” is actually the statement of the victim of violence. The victim of violence can be a woman or a man. In addition, this part is mentioned in the law numbered 6284, not in the Istanbul Convention. The basis for the statement of the victim is valid only in temporary injunctions in order to protect the victim from the threat of death and violence in accordance with Law No. 6284. Violence is an inhumane phenomenon and it is the most damaging situation for family unity. It is not possible to talk about healthy family unity in a house where continuous violence is applied. Families made up of individuals who respect each other and have love and affection are not covered by the law. In fact, the measures in question are protective or preventive measures that can be taken at the request of the person concerned when violence occurs. No contract, text of the law, or measure requires interfering with the privacy of the family unless it is needed.

Although the mediation practice is a very appropriate legal regulation in general, one of the fundamental issues is the availability of the case to the mediation process. The issue of domestic violence, in which there is an unequal balance of power, has not been considered suitable for mediation by law. Instead, family therapists and psychologists, from whom every family can easily reach and receive help, achieve very positive results in this process. Anyway, reconciling spouses is a mechanism that can often work before problems become violent. Once the violence happens, it recurs and increases greatly. Especially, a reconciliation table where women who are subjected to such constant violence will sit with the perpetrator is not a realistic ground for discussion and reconciliation.

The Concept of Gender in the Istanbul Convention


“Gender” is not homosexuality or de-sexualization. Nor does it mean denial or neglect of biological sex. The concept of gender is used to describe the roles and duties imposed by cultures and societies on men and women. Gender equality means giving equal opportunity to women and men. In other words, this phrase does not mean the third gender. As it is known, the distribution of roles and duties assigned to women and men in society may not always take place in a fair and dignified manner. The concept of gender equality comes into play as soon as these roles create victimization for a woman or a man and try to provide justice. What is aimed here is not complete equality, but an equal opportunity that will eliminate injustices. Ultimately, each country determines its own policies for this purpose.

The Istanbul Convention and Law No. 6284 do not declare women as the superior gender. On the contrary, it is a protection for women against forms of violence to which women are subjected solely because they are women, such as humiliation, second-class human substitution, forced abortion, female genital mutilation, sexual harassment, and rape, stalking, domestic violence, forced marriage, forced sterilization, etc. These discrimination situations that women are exposed to due to unequal power relations with men are not compatible with human and moral values ​​and require special protection.



However, men are also exposed to some forms of violence covered by the Convention, such as domestic violence and forced marriage, and are able to benefit from Law No. Every citizen has an equal position in the implementation of laws. It is the greatest injustice to be made to the law of this country to claim that any law makes one oppress another, especially on the basis of gender.

It is not possible to turn family disputes into a public case. There is an act that constitutes a crime in the sense of the law in all cases that turn into public cases. Committing a crime is not an issue that can be left to the free will of individuals. For example, situations such as having disagreements, arguing, and making peace with a spouse are situations in which people act with their free will. However, situations such as beating, mutilating, or killing one’s spouse are not areas where they can act with their free will and are social issues, not within the family.

How Does the Istanbul Convention Protect Women?


According to the European Parliament, one in three women in European Union member states say they have been subjected to physical or sexual violence. In short, the Istanbul Convention aims to protect women from all kinds of violence and discrimination, to promote equality between women and men, to design a comprehensive framework, policies, and measures for these purposes, and to expand international cooperation on these issues. Taking into account that violence against women is an appearance of verifiably inconsistent force relations among genders and that these inconsistent force relations lead to the predominance of men over women, discrimination against women and the prevention of women’s full advancement, its acceptance in the union is recorded.

In order to ensure that the provisions of the convention are effectively implemented, a monitoring and supervision committee called the Group of Experts on Violence Against Women and Action Against Domestic Violence known as “GREVIO” is established. The convention which was opened for signature in Istanbul on May 11, 2011, and thus named the ‘Istanbul Convention’ refers to Violence against Women and Domestic Violence Prevention and the first country signed it became Turkey. It is stated that the convention will be valid both in peacetime and in situations of armed conflict.



The contract first talks about preventive measures. Create a society in which violence cannot dare. This is also an egalitarian society. Spread gender equality to the whole of society by all means, including education. Second, you may not be able to create such a society right away, violence is an old and deep-rooted problem, treating the contracting states with understanding. If you cannot create such a society right away, he says, if there is a threat, protect women effectively and actively. In other words, it says to apply the law numbered 6284 fully for us. In the third step, it says that you could not create a preventive society, you wanted to protect the woman, but you could not, if a woman was hurt, then at least make effective prosecution and an effective criminal system, ensure justice.

Finally, the contract is no longer savvy but demanding. Even if you are doing these things, it says show me how to empower women for the future. In the convention, the definition of “violence against women” includes all forms of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence, threats of violence, and discrimination, whether it occurs “in public or private life”.

It is stated that the convention can cover girls under the age of 18. The convention obliges the parties to take “necessary legal and other measures” to prevent all kinds of acts of violence and discrimination and calls for activities to strengthen women. With the convention, the parties are obliged to include the principle of equality of women and men in their national constitutions or other relevant legislation and to ensure the implementation of this principle, to prohibit discrimination against women, and to abolish laws and practices that discriminate against women.



While the provisions of the convention are being implemented, it is emphasized that discrimination cannot be made on the basis of “sexual orientation” as well as the identity characteristics of people. State officials and institutions are required to act in accordance with the obligations of the contract. The parties are asked to allocate the necessary financial and human resources to fulfill the provisions of the contract, as well as to support the work of non-governmental organizations that play an active role in the fight against women and to cooperate with these organizations.

The Convention expresses that gatherings will take measures to help change the cultural and social standards of conduct of men and women so as to destroy biases, traditions, customs, and different practices dependent on the conviction that women are mediocre or the socially stereotypical roles of both genders. The contract refers to the concept of “honor”, saying “The parties will ensure that concepts such as culture, custom, religion, tradition or so-called ‘honor’ are not used as a justification for any act of violence within the scope of this convention.”



In the convention, the parties are asked to encourage all members of society, especially youth and men, to actively contribute to the prevention of all forms of violence. It emphasizes the importance of education in order to prevent all kinds of violence. In the official curriculum, issues such as gender equality, gender roles free from social stereotypes, mutual respect, the non-violent resolution of conflicts in personal relationships, gender-based violence against women, and respect for personality integrity are required to be included in a way adapted to students’ learning capacities.

The convention obliges the parties to take the necessary measures for the dissemination of these principles in non-formal education as well as in sports, cultural and entertainment facilities, and media. The parties are also requested to establish training programs to prevent violence in the future, especially for those who attempt domestic violence to adopt acts that exclude violence. Similarly, training programs are requested for those who attempt sexual crimes.

State Level Claims of the Istanbul Convention


The Istanbul Convention stands out amongst the international texts accepted within the scope of combating violence against women. As of March 2019, the convention has been signed by 46 states and the European Union. This new convention of the Council of Europe on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence is an international agreement that deals with this problem, which constitutes a serious violation of human rights, in the most comprehensive way. It focuses on zero tolerance to bear this kind of violence and is a significant advance towards guaranteeing more secure living in Europe and a more extensive zone past its outskirts.

Preventing violence, protecting victims, and bringing perpetrators to justice are the cornerstones of this convention. Also, it means to change the soul and contemplations of people by welcoming each individual from the general public, particularly men and young men, to change their mentalities. Essentially, it is a re-call for greater equality between men and women; This is because the roots of violence against women are rooted in inequality between men and women in society and are sustained as a result of a culture of tolerance and denial. Here are the demands of the Istanbul Convention at the state level:



Prevention

  • Changing attitudes, gender roles, and stereotypes that cause acceptance of violence against women;
  • Training of professional staff working on victims;
  • Bringing issues to light of various sorts of viciousness and their traumatic features;
  • Counting issues tending to balance in the educational program at all degrees of instruction;
  • Cooperating with NGOs, media, and the private sector in order to reach the public.

Protection

  • Of all measures, ensuring that the greatest attention is paid to the needs and safety of victims;
  • Organizing specialized support services that provide medical assistance as well as psychological and legal advice to victims and their children;
  • Provide an adequate number of shelters and free telephone helplines available around the clock.

Trial

  • Guaranteeing that brutality against women is condemned and that the essential punishments are forced;
  • Guaranteeing that the grounds of the convention, custom, religion, or honor are not acknowledged as a reason for any demonstration of savagery;
  • Guaranteeing that victims profit by unique protection measures during the examination and preliminary cycle;
  • Ensuring that law enforcement officials can immediately go to help seekers and respond competently in dangerous situations.


Holistic policies

Ensure that all the above measures are part of comprehensive and coordinated policies, and ensure a holistic response to violence against women. The convention obliges the states parties to impose criminal or other legal sanctions for the following behaviors:

  • domestic violence (physical, sexual, psychological, or economic)
  • stalking;
  • sexual violence, including rape;
  • sexual harassment;
  • forced marriage;
  • circumcision of women;
  • forced abortion and forced sterilization.

The clear message here is that violence against women and domestic violence are not the issues to be hidden in private life. Despite what might be expected, if the casualty is the companion, accomplice, or relative of the culprit, that individual’s punishment can be additionally aggravated to emphasize the particularly traumatic effect of crimes committed within the family.

F.A.Q About Istanbul Convention


The official name of the Istanbul Convention, which was opened for signature at the Council of Ministers meeting of the Council of Europe held in Istanbul on 11 May 2011, is the Council of Europe Convention on Prevention of Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence and Combating Them. The convention, which aims to prevent violence against women and domestic violence in general, is the first international document to be legally binding on this issue.

The Istanbul Convention defines the concept of “gender” and draws attention to the existence of roles that society assigns to individuals based on gender, and structural violence against women. The convention underlines that psychological and economic violence against women is also a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination. It gives state parties responsibilities such as preventing gender-based violence, effectively investigating and prosecuting these cases of violence, adhering to the principle of equality. It sees violence as a result of inequality and reminds that policies that will ensure gender equality should be developed.



  • Does the convention disrupt the traditional family structure?

There is no definition of “family” in the contract, nor is there a regulation that encourages a certain family form or environment. The convention is to keep the initiatives to prevent violence against women and domestic violence as inclusive as possible and to ensure that measures and protection mechanisms can be used by women who are subjected to violence in all kinds such as physical, sexual, emotional, economic, whether married or not, in the home or in the public sphere.

  • Does the convention encourage homosexuality, LGBTI + marriages?

These allegations stem from the expression “sexual orientation” in the fourth article of the contract. With this article, the state parties are given the duty to implement the provisions of the convention by considering the principle of equality and without any discrimination; Naturally, this includes protecting the rights of the victim of domestic violence regardless of sexual orientation. However, the contract does not contain any phrase “encouraging homosexuality”. In addition, the convention does not impose an obligation on the state parties to support same-sex marriages.

  • Since femicide has increased since the contract was signed, can the convention be considered insufficient to protect women?

With the presence of the women’s rights struggle and binding texts such as the Istanbul Convention, it is evident that domestic violence is more visible and a strong public opinion is formed around the issue. Regardless of the political and sociological reasons behind the increase in murder cases, it is far from a realistic inference to establish causality between the signing of a contract and the increase in numbers. In a scenario where the convention and the values ​​it aims to protect cannot be internalized, the stipulated mechanisms cannot be implemented, the positive obligations imposed on the state parties are not fulfilled, it would not be the right approach to present the convention as responsible for the increasing violence against women.



  • Does the convention make men a victim based on the statement of the woman in any case?

According to Law No. 6284 on the Protection of Family and Prevention of Violence Against Women, which entered into force pursuant to the contract, the statement of the woman is taken as a basis for applying measures, not to establish a provision. The presumption of innocence remains valid during the trial. Saying “the statement of the woman is essential” means that the woman who declares that she is under the threat of violence is included in the protection mechanisms without seeking additional evidence. In other words, the statement of the woman is not a verdict, but a basis for taking protective measures and initiating an investigation.

  • Does the convention give women indefinite maintenance and victimization of men?

There is no regulation in the Istanbul Agreement regarding alimony. The provision on poverty alimony, which can be decided to be indefinite, is in Article 175 of the Civil Code. The poverty alimony that the party falling into poverty due to the divorce may demand is not a right granted to women, but poverty alimony can be awarded on the condition that it provides the conditions for men.

  • Is the convention driving men away from home and causing families to break up?

The convention imposes the obligation on the state parties to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of women, which should be guaranteed by international conventions, in particular the right to life. It reminds us that the violation of these rights is a crime and that this crime should not be excused by the importance attributed to the family institution, social values ​​, or honor discourses, and that all forms of violence should be prevented in all cases. Men who commit violence, not men, are removed from the home if deemed necessary, as the security of other members of the household cannot be ignored.

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Will Istanbul Have Another Earthquake: Expected Great Istanbul Earthquake



A growing concern: The Great Istanbul Earthquake. One of the most devastating earthquakes in history is expected to happen in Istanbul. An earthquake is expected that will stab like a dagger in the heart of almost the whole economy of a country that can be considered large, and perhaps guarantee that nothing will be the same. As the TV channels make the earthquake subject get over the ratings, the scientific side of the work is ignored as usual. An earthquake, possibly a “mega earthquake,” is presented as if it were magazine news. In this article, we will try to show you the scientific sides of the subject and explain why experts expect a major earthquake in Istanbul.



The expectation of scientists for this great Istanbul earthquake is a natural process that is completely based on scientific foundations, which can be explained with basic geology knowledge, in which no man-made product can directly interfere. Like all earthquakes that have existed so far, the expected major Istanbul earthquake will be an extremely natural event. In this article, we will show you all the details. The fact that the constant magnitude of this earthquake is mentioned is not due to the fact that Istanbul is a metropolis or that waiting for an earthquake in Istanbul is a more popular topic. It is due to the fact that the expected big earthquake will indeed be in Istanbul.

The Science of Earthquakes: Plates and Fault Lines in Istanbul


First of all, it is necessary to explain what the earthquake and fault line means. The only reason for all tectonic activity on Earth is that the Earth is a melted ball of fire. As we know, even if the Earth is a planet, it can be called a “ball of fire” due to its internal structure. However, the reason why we do not feel this is because the outer layer of the Earth is colder than inside, and the thin, “shell” on the outermost part of it, which we walk on, has cooled.

All the continents and oceans we know of are located on this thin crust. But don’t be fooled by this “solid” view of the Earth: The crust layer is 5-10 kilometers under the oceans and 30-50 kilometers under the continents; however, the radius of our planet is 6371 kilometers! In other words, the crust we are on is in the word “nothing” compared to the rest of the Earth. Let us explain it this way: When we consider the Earth, the ratio of the cooled part and the uncooled part is even less than the ratio of the peel of an orange to the fruit part we eat! So our planet has a very thin crust! Magma under the crust is a solid substance (plasma) close to liquid.



There is a large amount of heat in the hot part of the center of the Earth. This high thermal energy even causes magnetic fields and electric currents to occur! The mainland is not one piece and consists of a large number of plates (we’ll get back to this shortly). What you need to know here is that the land under our feet “floats” on this molten structure. The melt flows called convection currents caused by the molten material in the mantle cause the parts of the shell (plates) just above it to move in different directions. Convection currents are the cyclic/circular motion of magma under plates. With the movement of plates containing oceans and lands, everything on these plates also moves slowly. For example, the Anatolian plate (or the Eurasian plate in general) also is pushed from the south by the Arabian plate and the African plate.

The Tethys Ocean is the name of the ocean formed in the triangular, large, and narrowing space between the continents Laurasia and Gondwana, which formed after the disintegration of the Pangea Supercontinent. Anatolia emerged from within this ocean, and this uplift process has traditionally been studied in two stages: Paleo-Tetyan Phase and Neo-Tetyan Phase. During the latter, approximately two oceans form and begin to diverge: Bitlis Ocean and Zagros Ocean (sometimes known as Bitlis-Zagros Ocean).

Movement of the Anatolian Plate and Bitlis Ocean


This ocean disappeared between 5 and 11 million years ago, when the Arabian Plate, which broke off from Africa in the Late Miocene, moved upward, to the north, and closed this ocean. When this plate could not find a place to go, this time it started to swell and formed the mountain ranges in today’s Southeastern Anatolia. Already, the formation of mountains occurs with the breaks and twists that occur as a result of the plates colliding with each other. We see another example as a result of the northward movement of the African plate: this movement formed the Taurus Mountains. After the movement of the Arabian plate for a certain period caused the closure of the Bitlis Ocean and the formation of mountain ranges, this time it started to push Anatolia to the west.

Meanwhile, Anatolia broke off and gained a movement in the west direction. This movement, which lasted for 4 million years, divided Anatolia into two in an east-west direction. This fracture, which starts from Bingöl and reaches the Aegean Sea, is called the North Anatolian Fault Line. The phenomenon named fault line is the rupture of the earth’s crust, as we have just mentioned. These lines are “fractures” that occur in the earth’s crust as we know it! Since these fractures are empty, water fills into it, the water goes down to the hot rocks with magma, becomes hot and as it warms up again, it gushes up like hot water vapor from the teapot. We also call them hot springs. There are hot springs in all cities where the North Anatolian fault passes: Erzincan, Reşadiye, Havza, Adapazarı.



Turkey moves westward average of 20 millimeters each year. Of course, because both surfaces of the fault line are rough, sometimes they get interlocked and cannot go the way it should go. For example, if the fault, which has to advance 4 meters in 200 years on average, cannot progress, and if the installed indentations and protrusions cannot withstand 200 years of accumulation, it will break in an instant and this causes tremors. Earthquake is exactly that; When the 4-meter movement that should have been in 200 years occurs within a few seconds, we call it an earthquake. Because this extremely fast movement, although still extremely slow for the earth’s crust, creates shocking effects for the organisms that live on it. We perceive these shocks as earthquakes.

In other words, earthquakes cannot be produced by technological means; It is formed as a result of massive movements of huge lands, such as your fingernails getting caught on your clothes and breaking suddenly as a result of your application of force. No technology produced by man can give direction or shape to this. The upper part of the North Anatolian Fault Line is the Eurasian plate, the lower part is the Anatolian plate. Recall that the fault lines are the regions between these plates. The upper part is more geologically stable and much more difficult to move. For this reason, the Anatolian plate is under great stress due to intense pressure from the south and moves westward.

As we mentioned, sometimes the fault line gets stuck and the plate that needs to move cannot move because it is pushed. The pressure increases and suddenly the interlocking surface of the fault breaks and the fault “throws itself forward” 2-5 meters. In other words, the plate takes the 2-meter path, which must travel slowly in 100 years, in 30 seconds, and this causes great jolts. This is exactly what happened at 03:02 on the night of August 17, 1999. The throw was about 4-5 meters and this movement took about 45 seconds. Just as snow accumulates on the branch of a tree, it accumulates, it accumulates. Then it breaks suddenly to crack and shakes the tree very hard. And the earthquake is the geological version of this.

Earthquakes Coming Rapidly to Istanbul from the East of Anatolia


Don’t be fooled by this title. The word “rapidly” is often used a little differently from everyday life in sciences such as geology, evolution, climate, and paleontology. Normally, an event can be “fast” for a few seconds, minutes, hours, or even days. However, in such sciences, “fast” is meant for a few decades, centuries, or millennia (thousand years). Sometimes events that take place over millions of years can be referred to as “rapid”, as they normally occur much faster than the course of that event. Therefore, it is useful to pay attention to how the word “fast” is used when talking about earthquakes and earth science.

This brings us to the main point. Coaxial earthquakes of logarithmic magnitude sometimes occur on a fault line (not every earthquake series has to be this way!). It can be said that these earthquakes occur periodically. In other words, a major earthquake happens at one end of a fault line. After a few decades, big earthquakes occur again a little ahead, then a little further, then a little further. This process goes on like this and it is seen that the earthquake moves like a train along a fault line at certain intervals. One of the most obvious examples of this kind of progress used in textbooks is seen on the North Anatolian Fault Line. Another famous example is the California Fault Line.



Therefore, those who maintained that technology is a product of the earthquake in Turkey and the United States holds responsible for this technology, as the country itself should explain exactly why that same earthquake sequence. But of course, this is a completely different matter of discussion. We want to make an important caveat here: Fault lines should not be considered as a single whole! Like nothing else in the Universe, fault lines are not perfect structures. Fault lines are like matchsticks spliced ​​end to end. They are piecemeal; however, those parts constitute the whole of the fault line. Each piece that forms the fault line like a “matchstick” is called a segment.

When an earthquake occurs, only one segment breaks, but not the entire fault. One of the clearest examples of this is the 17 August 1999 earthquake. In this earthquake, only the Izmit segment of the Anatolian Fault Line was broken. Since one end of the segment is in Yalova and the other is in Adapazarı, the quartet Yalova – Gölcük – İzmit – Adapazarı experienced the real shock in the earthquake. It is precisely for this reason that the 17 August earthquake is known as both Gölcük, Yalova, İzmit and Adapazarı Earthquakes.

History of Earthquakes in the North Anatolian Fault Line


As for the earthquakes on the North Anatolian Fault. In fact, we need to talk about a large number of earthquakes; However, compared to what we will examine, earthquakes over 7 will be handled in this process in order to make the subject short. Examining the earthquake history of the North Anatolian Fault Line will clearly reveal why a giant earthquake is expected in Istanbul.

  • 1939 Erzincan Earthquake – Magnitude: 7.9

In 1939, the Erzincan earthquake occurred at the tip of the North Anatolian Fault. The magnitude of the earthquake was 7.9. As Erzincan became the center of the earthquake, most of the energy in the Erzincan segment was drained. Where did this energy go? Some of this energy was transformed into vibration, making the earth vibrate and scattered into space. Some of them were deposited in the segment just to the west, as the fault line was twisted in an east-west direction. This meant disaster for the west of Erzincan. In short, it transferred the energy on the segment to the segment just to the west, just like a relay race.



  • 1942 Niksar Earthquake – Magnitude: 7.0

3.5 years had passed since the energy transferred from the Erzincan segment emerged in the Niksar segment in the west. The year was 1942, Niksar was destroyed by a 7.0 earthquake. Of course, the Niksar segment continued with the same flag game and gave its energy to the Tosya-Ladik segment just west.

  • 1943 Tosya-Ladik Earthquake – Magnitude: 7.2

A year had passed since the Niksar earthquake, the year was 1943. Tosya-Ladik was shaken by a 7.2 earthquake. The energy in this segment was also transferred to the Gerede-Bolu segment to its west.

  • 1944 Bolu-Gerede Earthquake – Magnitude: 7.2

In 1944, Bolu-Gerede shook with a 7.2 earthquake. Energy again fled westward as usual. Because the Arabian plate was constantly pushing the beautiful Anatolia to the west.

  • 1957 Bolu-Abant Earthquake – Magnitude: 7.1

It had been 13 years that the Bolu-Abant segment, adjacent to the Bolu-Gerede segment, was broken in 1957 by an earthquake of 7.1 magnitudes.



  • 1967 Adapazarı Earthquake – Magnitude: 7.2

When the calendars showed the year 1967, the chain of earthquakes that progressed like a tsunami reappeared in Adapazarı. Adapazarı was destroyed by a 7.2 earthquake.

  • 1999 Izmit Earthquake – Magnitude: 7.4

Again, there was no earthquake for many years. The earthquake destroyed the Izmit segment in 1999 with an earthquake of 7.4.

Why Istanbul? Why now? Why Great Earthquake?


The energy released after each earthquake is modeled and mapped by geophysical engineers. There is no energy left in the earthquake segment, and there will be no major earthquakes in that segment for many years again. Of course, the earthquake is not something that ends, as plate movements continue; But big stutters and breaks, once they happen, are not repeated for a long time. But each time most of the energy is shifted to the neighboring segments of the broken segment.

The reason experts are waiting for a big earthquake in Istanbul is that these earthquakes are over 7. The reason we are so sure that a big earthquake will hit Istanbul is that the series has not surprised scientists once since the 1900s. The reason is that Istanbul is located in the next segment. No geophysical modeling done shows that these fault diffractions will turn east again. On the contrary, the point where almost all analyzes meet is common: Currently, stress is accumulating exponentially in Istanbul, and this stress becomes more and more with each passing year.



Approximately 12 bars of energy accumulated in Düzce migrated to the east with the Düzce earthquake. And where is the energy accumulated in Gebze? That energy is in the segment of Istanbul. Unfortunately, we have to face the reality: It doesn’t have much life left, there will be an earthquake soon. It is no use deceiving or consoling ourselves, we should start looking for solutions, we are even late. For example, we can say this clearly: we do not expect a serious earthquake, at least geophysically, in Izmit, Adapazarı, and Yalova in the next few centuries; However, we strongly remind you that predicting earthquakes (especially in the near term) is almost impossible and therefore people living there should never let go of caution.

But we can say that Istanbul and its immediate surroundings are on the edge of a knife and are the most dangerous areas; therefore, the risk factor of other regions is smaller next to Istanbul. The Istanbul segment has no salvation. Many experts expect this earthquake between 2019-2021. Even according to the loosest calculations, this period will not be after 2029-2031. Therefore, our advice to the people living there is to get away from the Marmara coasts. Especially those living on the coasts of Pendik, Maltepe, Kartal, and those living on the shores of Zeytinburnu, Bakırköy, and Avcılar should migrate further north if they will live in Istanbul.

In the 17 August earthquake, Avcılar suffered more, although it was farther from Zeytinburnu, Kadıköy, and Bakırköy, to the focal point of the earthquake. The reason is not that the Avcılar’s ground is not solid, as some reports have claimed; It was the collision of the reflected and refracted earthquake waves in Avcılar completely by chance. In other words, it is not clear and unpredictable where the waves will collide. However, statistically, this meeting is more likely to take place on the coast. For this reason, it is useful to stay away from the coasts.

The Difficulties of Interpreting the Expected Great Istanbul Earthquake


We mentioned that the North Anatolian Fault Line starts from Bingöl, crosses Istanbul, and reaches the Aegean Sea (Saros Bay). We have said that there are dozens of segments along this line. An interesting fact is that only two of these segments have not been broken in the last century: One is the Yedisu segment, the other is the East Marmara segment, which we are currently discussing, just below the islands.

As the author of this article, I have brought together many independent studies, including those I mentioned in this article in my thesis about the expected Istanbul earthquake. I cannot say that I came up with something new as a result of my research; however, in independent studies, I discovered that some previously unrelated pieces fit together like a puzzle. We’ll talk about this a little bit now and provide examples of a deeper analysis. There are two difficult aspects of interpreting Istanbul’s earthquake hazard, let’s talk about this first:



The first is that the fault that will affect Istanbul is under the Sea of ​​Marmara. It was not known where the fault under the Sea of ​​Marmara passed until 1999! Its discovery was made after the 1999 earthquake. In fact, the North Anatolian Fault splits into three branches after Adapazarı. The northern branch goes from Izmit Gulf, the Islands, and Florya offshore and reaches Tekirdağ. This branch is the structure that creates the Islands and the Gulf of Izmit … The middle branch passes through the Edremit gulf and goes to the Dardanelles via Bandırma. These two fault branches are the faults that make up the Marmara Sea. In other words, as the north and the middle arm move away from each other, there is a collapse in between and the sea is formed by filling with water. Today we know this sea as the Marmara Sea.

The second difficult part stems from the inability to access the sources about the old Istanbul earthquakes. There are actually resources. But because of the alphabet change and even the change of language over time, these ancient records are difficult to understand. For example, during my thesis, I found a Turkish source (a report prepared by the rulers of the time) on the 1884 Istanbul earthquake. However, this report, written 130 years ago, cannot be understood today without an interpreter. Since many researchers do not bother to have these translations done and do not know the language, it is very difficult to know where and how to access these sources; Accordingly, many findings that may guide the studies can be ignored. It is a fact that we need more translations in this field and transfer of old data to the digital environment and to make it available to the public.

Analysis of Ancient Earthquakes


As we mentioned above, the fault map under the Marmara Sea has just been made. We compile earthquakes from history books and compare them with today’s fault map, and by looking at the damage and impact area of ​​that day, we determine which earthquake is on which branch. We have six chapters on the Marmara Sea fault map. To give an example from the analysis, it can be said that a chain of thought has been passed through:

This or that earthquake happened in these six parts. For example, the earthquake that took place in 1719 affected Istanbul, but it had a greater effect on Kocaeli than Istanbul. In other words, this earthquake has only been in the gulf segment. There were people who died in Istanbul in the 1766 earthquake, but the earthquake caused more damage in Edirne. This means that the earthquake is in the western Marmara segment. Here we list all the earthquakes of these six regions (segments) in a tabular form. Then we enter the dates in these lists and find these pieces broken every few years. Considering more than 7 earthquakes:



In the bay segment; Earthquakes occurred with an interval of 189, 235, 321, 202, 221, 280 years. In other words, it was not broken for 280 years before 99 earthquakes. 14 years have passed. The bay piece will likely remain unbroken for another 200 years. In other words, the gulf period is around 200 years on average and yet in its 14th year. This means the area is currently safe from danger. From there, we come to the Adalar segment. Between the earthquakes, there are 432 years, 520 years, and 504 years. As it is now in its 504th year, it is in the last stages of its cycle. That is why the Adalar fault is very dangerous today! It has a load on it that has accumulated over a very long time. Even if we ignore the energy that the Körfez fault loaded on the Adalar fault after the 99′ earthquake, it has already reached the end of its period. So anyway, a break from this benefit is expected. This break will cause great destruction.

Similarly, the average period of the fault off Florya is 250 years and today this fault is in its 259th year. In other words, this region is also broken, in a situation that will break. The other fault branch off Silivri, that is, the period in which the fault made a northward curve in the Marmara Sea, is about 250 years and that is today in its 246th year. In the West Marmara fault, the period is 250 years and the current period is 246 years. Finally, the period of the part around Gaziköy is around 270 years. But it’s calm there. It is in the 101st year of its period because it was last broken in the 1912 earthquake. In other words, it is a piece that does not require us to wait for an earthquake anymore. There is an average of 170 years ahead of it.

The four parts running from the Islands to Gaziköy have either filled their period or are about to fill. As we mentioned in particular, the Adalar fault is in a very dangerous process. If we had known the fault network beneath the Marmara Sea in more detail, we could have done a much better analysis. Still, the point reached today is considered very good compared to 10 years ago.

Richter and Gutenberg Analysis of the Great Istanbul Earthquake


The above section was just a study. It was the combination and interpretation of the science of history and geophysics. Also, when we use the logarithmic formulas developed by Gutenberg and Richter to take the exact data related to only geophysics and give the periods and repetition numbers of earthquakes, we obtain data that exactly corresponds to the above results. Likewise, in this completely independent study, the Adalar fault, Middle Marmara and Northern branch, and West Marmara carry a high earthquake risk. To give the exact numbers, it’s 0.04 percent in the bay for 2017. So it’s close to the impossible. 79 percent in Adalar, 63 percent in Central Marmara, 66 percent in North Bend, 65 percent in West Marmara, and 0.002 percent in Gaziköy. When we examine the historical data separately, the four parts in the middle seem very dangerous, and Körfez and Gaziköy seem safe.

Putting this aside and using the relationship of Richter and Gutenberg, the inventor of the Richter scale, we make calculations on the completely new generation, precise, instrumented earthquakes, and again we see that the Körfez and Gaziköy faults are safe and the other four faults in the middle are very dangerous. While the risk analyzes for 2017 gives this result, when we consider this for 2025, the risk in the island’s fault is 85 percent. The other three dangerous pieces are increasing at the same rate. There are many small fragments between these two faults. Since 484 AD, 34 earthquakes have caused damage in Istanbul. In order to make an accurate analysis, we need to know which of these earthquakes occurred in which branch or in which parts between these two branches.



If we could examine the bottom of the Sea of ​​Marmara meter by meter, our job would be very easy. This is the first difficult part of the job. We don’t have the technology to do this. It cannot be said that we are in cooperation with countries that have the technology. Fortunately, these analyzes are taken seriously as danger bells start to ring. It is precisely for this reason that American, French, German, and Italian teams, which you hear on the news, dive into the Sea of ​​Marmara and make analyzes. They take samples from the fault line, make measurements, examine the line, and determine possible risk factors. In this way, they hope that we can make it easier for us to predict the earthquake and reduce the loss of life and property.

When we try to predict new earthquakes by using a functional relation called “Student T-Test”, which is generally used in statistics science, which is independent of these two studies, even geophysical, we reach the same percentage results for these six regions. In other words, in these three studies, risk points to the same points equally. The area that gives a red alarm is the Adalar fault. If we add to this that the 99′ earthquake directly loading the Adalar fault, the result looks even more grave.

But the worst part of the job is that when the Adalar fault is broken, its energy has already filled its rupture period, it comes to the brink of breaking and will give its energy to the middle Marmara fault. It also broke in a short time and gave its energy to the north bend, and again to the west Marmara fault after a short time. This means that there will be at least 4 major earthquakes in Istanbul that will affect all Marmara shores in the next 100 years at most!

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Who Founded Istanbul: The Establishment of Istanbul



Two centers that stand out with the historical-cultural background of the Mediterranean Basin civilizations are Rome and Istanbul. However, there are some features that make Istanbul different from Rome: While great states have been ruled from continental capitals since ancient times, Istanbul has preserved its privilege of being the only empire capital intertwined with the sea for centuries. So, do you know who found Istanbul?



Istanbul was founded in 667 BC. It is estimated that it was first established in today’s Sarayburnu, an area smaller than Topkapı Palace (approximately 10 km2). King Byzas of Megara founded Istanbul. Although the city is engaged in fishing and agriculture, it has become one of the most important trade centers in the region in a short time. Historians have found traces that it was ruled by democracy after the 5th century BC. The name Byzantion was used until it was included in the Roman Empire in AD 196.

Foundation and Brief History of Istanbul


Istanbul has had three different names throughout its history: Byzantion as a Greek colony, Constantinople as a Roman city, and Istanbul since the late Ottoman period. For many years, the Ottomans did not mind using the name Konstantiniyye, which is the Turkish version of Constantinople. Istanbul, shortly after 330 when it became the Roman capital, became the world’s most populous commercial city and has preserved its place for centuries. Faced with a disaster like the Latin Invasion in 1204, the city fell into decline. However, it became the capital of an emerging empire during the Ottoman period.

  • Ancient Greek Period

To talk about the founding date of Istanbul, we need to go back to the 600s BC, that is, the Ancient Greek period. Our story begins with the king named Byzas, who decided to emigrate from the ancient Greek city of Megara and consulted the oracle of the Temple of Apollo, as was customary at that time. The priest advises them to go east and settle in front of the Land of the Blind. Of course, Byzas and his companions do not understand anything at first.



At the end of their journey from Greece to the East, they come to the fortified position we know today as Sarayburnu (Seraglio Point). This is the nose of the Istanbul Historic Peninsula that intersects with the Bosphorus in the east. Overlooking the beautiful view of the Bosphorus from this hill, Byzas and his staff see a settlement on the Asian side of the Bosphorus in a place known today as Kadıköy. Those on the opposite shore are none other than the Greek colony that came there a few years ago. Since they did not choose the strategic point where Byzas stood, although they came first, it is concluded that the people of Chalcedon (Kadıköy) are prophetic blind people. The newly established city becomes known as Byzantion, after its founder Byzas.

Byzantion has existed for many years as a free city-state. Although it was under the protection of the Persians for a short period, it will exist for about 800 years. In 195 AD, a Roman emperor named Septimus Severus besieged the city and took it. Septimus entered Byzantion in rage and devastated it. The reason is that Byzantion supported Pescennius Niger, his rival in the fight for the throne. However, the emperor soon realizes his mistake. It is impossible not to notice the unique location of Istanbul. He reconstructs the city and builds the first known Hippodrome Square (for horse-drawn races) and Roman structures. After Septimus left the city, the Romans did not attach much importance to Byzantion for many years. Meanwhile, the name of the city, which was under Roman influence, became Byzantium with Latin influence.

  • Roman Empire Period

In order for Byzantium to be seen again on the stage of history, it will be necessary to wait until the time of Emperor Constantine’s struggle for the throne (AD 324). Because a war broke out between Constantine and Licinius, emperors of the Tetrarchy Period (quadruple rule), to become the sole leader (See: Chrysopolis War). We think that Constantine understood the importance of Istanbul in this war. He noticed that this peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water, provided a perfect defense and that the Golden Horn to its north functioned as a stagnant harbor. When solid walls were built on the western wing, which was the only side open to attack from the land, the city was almost impassable.



After Constantine (Constantine the Great) seized power alone, he decided to move the center of his empire to the safer eastern provinces. In the discovery he made for this purpose, he chose Byzantium because of his excellent position. This decision was met with great surprise in Rome. Because Byzantium was definitely not one of the most important cities of the empire at that time. However, Constantine showed his vision at this point and predicted that Istanbul would be an important crossroads in the future.

He orders his architects to overhaul the city throughout and build a majestic Roman city on seven hills. Within six years, the walls of the city were expanded six floors and various Roman structures were built. Among them are structures such as the Hippodrome, the Grand Palace, and the Constantine Forum. The city opens in 330 under the name Nova Roma (New Rome). Emperor Constantine made the city co-capital of the Empire with Rome and gave it his own name. However, the Roman Empire was divided into two with the death of Emperor Theodosius the Great in 395.

  • Byzantine Empire Period

When the Roman Empire splits in two, the city of Constantinople remains the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Western Roman Empire, on the other hand, collapsed only 81 years after this separation, that is, in 476, due to the barbarian invasion, and the ancient capital Rome fell into the hands of the Goths. Eastern Rome lost its twin brother in the history scene and was left alone. The kings of Eastern Rome perceived themselves as Caesar and the people as Romans. The reason why this civilization is called the Byzantine Empire in today’s history books is the name given by modern-time historians by deriving from the city’s first name (Byzantium).



Eastern Rome (i.e. Byzantium) had a deep-rooted Greek culture and Roman administrative structure. That’s why it lived for so many years. The peak of imperial history was the reign of Emperor Justinian, who built Hagia Sophia. Justinian’s great conquests in the west brought Byzantium almost to the Roman borders before the division. But the emperors that followed could not keep these borders for various reasons.

Byzantium was defeated by the Great Seljuk State, the first Turks from the East (See: Battle of Malazgirt), and lost a lot of lands. They recaptured some of the lands in the First Crusades but were occupied by the Crusaders themselves during the IV Crusade. After the Latin invasion of 1204-1261, Byzantium entered a 200-year period of collapse and could not recover again. Finally, in 1453, the Ottomans captured Constantinople, the last fortress of Byzantium, and made the city, which was in collapse, an imperial center again.

  • Ottoman Empire Period

Fatih Sultan Mehmet, who was the first Ottoman Sultan to enter the city, was a very well-educated statesman. Since he knew Byzantine history well, he wanted to see Hagia Sophia first. Since the city was not repaired in the late Byzantine period, its old buildings were not in very good condition. For this reason, it is rumored that Sultan Mehmet, who could not find the splendor he expected, was very sad. The Sultan recommends that Hagia Sophia be urgently restored and converted into a mosque. Then he starts the business of building a palace for himself. This palace is the Topkapi Palace in Sultanahmet today. The palace is built on the ancient ruins of the ancient Greek city Byzantion. The elegant columns of various sizes in the palace are taken from the ancient city.



The Ottoman Empire enters a long period of ascension that will last from 1453 to 1700. So much so that the lands of the Empire spread over three continents and became the largest and most powerful state of its time. The name of the city did not change immediately, it was called Constantinople for centuries. Fatih Sultan Mehmet also used the title of Roman Emperor (Kayser-i Rum) for political reasons and was justifiably proud of having conquered the capital of Eastern Rome.

It was a natural process for Istanbul’s name to emerge and it developed in folk language. The names of many cities in Anatolia today remind them of their ancient times. Thus, Istanbul became the capital of an empire for the third time since its foundation. That is why the famous Istanbul historian Stefanos Yerasimos named his book on the history of Istanbul as the Capital of Empires. In addition, as the precious historians said, the decisions taken at the Divan-ı Humayun, located in the second courtyard of the Topkapı Palace, affected world politics.

  • Period of the Republic of Turkey

With the Karlowitz Treaty signed in 1699, the Ottoman Empire goes into a decline that will last for more than two centuries. Some Sultans want to make reforms and regulate the army, social life, laws and bring them to the developing European level, but their efforts are insufficient. Since the Ottoman Empire fell behind technologically during this period, more and more people and equity were lost in order to preserve their lands. In the 1800s, it entered a period of economic collapse, and the struggle in World War I consumed the tired empire completely.



We all know from the history books or the history of revolution lessons. While Istanbul was under the occupation of the enemy, the national struggle was carried out by the TBMM established in Ankara and was organized by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his comrades in arms. With the victory of the War of Independence and Ankara becoming the capital, Istanbul lost its feature of being the capital for the first time after 1600 years. However, Istanbul has not lost anything of its social, cultural, and geopolitical importance.

The Ottoman left a great cultural and artistic legacy, especially to the city of Istanbul. The most imposing and beautiful examples of these are the Blue Mosque and Süleymaniye Mosque, Topkapı Palace, and Dolmabahçe Palace. In addition to these, countless Palaces, Pavilions, Turkish Baths, Mosques, Madrasas, and Tombs add beauty to the beauty of Istanbul.

Important Eras of the History of Istanbul


Nobody can stay indifferent to Istanbul. It has been a unique city throughout history with its 7 hills, the sea passing through it, and the Golden Horn which is a natural harbor. The history of Istanbul is also rich in the splendor of the city. Its story is impressive since its founding legends: Byzas, who set out from Megara in Greece, wants to establish a new city. He goes to the Delphi oracle about the location. The prophet says that he will establish his city against “Land of the Blind”. While Byzas was walking around in a confused manner, looking at Khalkedon (Kadıköy) from today’s Sarayburnu, he said, “Why did these blind people set up their city in that barren place when this beautiful place was standing?. And of course, the words of Delphi oracle came to his mind. He found where to establish Istanbul.

The name, “Istanbul” was not given to the city by the Ottomans as it can be thought. It is way older. It is mentioned as a human name in the work called Fütuh’üş-Şam in the 9th century. Constantine, who replaces the city, completes and names it. In the 10th century book Tenbih it is referred to as Istinbolin. There is much other information about the name of Istanbul, some of which conflict with each other. In addition, Istanbul has been called by dozens of names such as Byzantion, Constantinople, Konstantiniyye, Darülhilafe, Dersaadet for thousands of years.



The historical backdrop of Istanbul goes back 300,000 years ago. It is thought that Neolithic and Chalcolithic people lived around Küçükçekmece Lake. Near Dudullu, tools of Lower Paleolithic Age were found, and near Ağaçlı, tools of the Middle Paleolithic Age and Upper Paleolithic Age were discovered. In 2008, during the Marmaray tube passage excavations, the remains belonging to the Polished Stone Age (6500 BC), the Copper Age (5500-3500 BC) in the excavations made in Fikirtepe were found.

Byzantion was founded in 667 BC, when King Byzas, whose legend we told above, ruled. When the Roman Empire dominated the city, Septimius Severus named the city his son Augusta Antonina for a short time. During the rule of Emperor Constantine I, the city has been proclaimed the capital of the Roman Empire. Meanwhile, the name of the city, which was changed to Nova Roma, is adopted. And in 337, with the death of Emperor Constantine I, it was turned into Constantinople.

It is between the years 324 – 1453. During this period, Istanbul turned into the managerial focus of eastern Rome. In this period; With a new architectural structure, the city has expanded and developed in every aspect. Notwithstanding a 100,000-man hippodrome (Sultanahmet Square), water facilities and ports were built. Constantine, who founded Hagia Sophia, the world’s largest cathedral, in 360; Thus, it changed the religion of the Roman Empire to Christianity and the first break with the West, which believed in the Pagan Roman religion, was in this period.



When Western Rome collapsed in 476, most of the Romans in the Western Roman Empire immigrated here. The plague epidemic in 543 killed half the population. Emperor Justinian I rebuilds the city from the beginning. Istanbul, which was attacked many times, was plundered and turned into rubble in 1204 during the 4th Crusade. The Latin era ends in 1261. Byzantine, which gradually shrank after this period, began to be surrounded by the Ottoman Empire after 1391.

The triumph of Istanbul occurred on May 29, 1453. This date, in fact, characterizes the finish of the Middle Ages. Istanbul developed rapidly during the Ottoman period. Hundreds of palaces, bazaars, mosques, schools, and baths were opened, and within 50 years Istanbul has become one of the largest cities in the world where Jews, Christians, and Muslims live in harmony. It has become a modern city with many innovations such as a bridge over the Golden Horn, a tunnel to Karaköy, railways, sea transportation in the city, the establishment of municipal organizations and hospitals.

The 2500-year capital period of Istanbul ends on October 29, 1923, with the Republic. However, from this date on, it will take firm steps towards becoming the most populous, economically, and culturally active city in the world. The share of young population in Turkey’s modernization falling more than enough space adventure Istanbul, a city that today has become integrated with many areas of the world. It is the first metropolis that comes to mind when it comes to a qualified workforce, culture, and entertainment tourism. Today, Istanbul has a total of 39 districts. 25 of these districts are on the European Side and 14 of them are on the Anatolian Side. It is one of the largest metropolises in the world in terms of economy and population with a population of 14,160,467.

The Establishment of Istanbul: Constantinus I


The city of Byzantion, which was established as a Greek colonial settlement in Sarayburnu in the 7th century BC, was connected to the Roman Empire in the 2nd century BC. However, the fate of this small Roman city changed completely when it was chosen by the Roman Emperor Constantine I (324-337) as the new capital of the empire in 330; Known as Constantinople after its founder, the city became the center of the Late Antique world. Constantinople is a capital that was founded not by a natural development process, but by conscious choice and will.

Known as Constantinople after its founder, the city became the center of the Late Antique world. This event is a turning point in the history of the city of Istanbul, which is today a world megalopolis. The city, which was the capital of the Roman Empire for 1123 years, which will be called Byzantine by modern historians after this date, was the capital of the Ottoman Empire for 470 years from 1453 to 1923. If this small Roman city at the entrance of the Bosphorus had not been the capital of these two great empires of the Mediterranean, it would not have developed in the process and become one of today’s important world cities. Roman Emperor Diocletianus (225-305) noticed the difficulties of ruling the empire from Rome as early as in the 3rd century and created a quadruple government called “Tetrarchism” by virtually separating the empire into east and west.



According to this, there would be an emperor (Augustus) in the west and east, and these emperors would rule the empire together by taking a Caesar as their side. In the first Tetrarch, the Augustus of the East was Diocletian and the Augustus of the West was Maximian; Diocletian took Galerius with them as Caesar, and Maximian took Constantius with them. Diocletian built a palace in Nicomedia (Izmit) as Augustus of the East and ruled the empire from here to a large extent. Tetrarch sculptures showing four rulers together as a sign of the rule of the Tetrarchy were made and erected in important cities. In Byzantion, this statue was standing in the square between today’s Laleli-Vezneciler.

Made of porphyry marble, this statue was built in 1204 by IV, which captured Constantinople. It was kidnapped by the Crusader Armies. The statue is today located in San Marco square in Venice. Two Augustus and two Caesars depicted as embracing each other represent the unity of the Tetrarch. Constantine I, also known as “Constantine the Great”, was born on February 27, 272 in the province of Illyricum (northwestern Balkans) as the son of Constantius, an emperor guard. Constantius was later included in the Tetrarch, as Caesar, next to Maximian, who was Augustus of the West. Constantius ensured that his son received a good education, and the young Constantinus learned Latin, Greek, and Philosophy. He spent his youth with the tetrarchs of the East, Diocletian and Galerius, at the request of his father, participated in expeditions with them, traveled all the way to Egypt, gained military experience.

The young Constantine was mainly brought up in Diocletian’s palace in Nicomedia. In 305, when two Augustus, Diocletian and Maximian left the tetrarchy, their Caesars, Galerius, and Constantius, took their place. After Constantius, the Augustus of the West, died in England in 306, his son Constantinus was declared Augustus by the army units there, but he was not accepted to study until 308. On October 28, 312, Constantine defeated Maxentius, with whom he shared power, at the Milvio Bridge near Rome, becoming the sole ruler of Western Rome. The final showdown to dominate the entire Roman Empire would pass between Constantinus and Augustus of the East, Licinius: Constantinus, who defeated Licinius in Chrysopolis (Üsküdar) on the opposite shore of Byzantion on September 18, 324, He became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire, which now covered the entire Mediterranean region.



After this victory, Constantinus came to the city of Byzantion on the opposite shore and decided to make this city the new capital of the empire. Between the years 324-330, Byzantion was rebuilt from the beginning, modeled after the Roman city, with extensive and intensive development activities. Finally, on May 11, 330, the new capital (Nea Roma) was blessed with ceremonies and announced to the world. The ceremonies starting from the Hippodrome continued until the Constantine Forum (Çemberlitaş). After this date, the city was called Constantinople after its founder. Since 330, the Roman Empire has been a state with two capitals: Roman city in the west and Constantinople in the east.

However, the emperor Constantinus was spending most of his time in his new capital, Constantinople. Constantinople was founded as a ‘world capital’ from the very beginning. Because the civilized world of Late Antiquity consisted of the Mediterranean basin and this world was ruled by the Roman Empire. So it meant the capital of the Roman Empire and the capital of the world. The city was designed in accordance with this vision, almost reconstructed from the beginning, and the outline of this first design has survived until today.

Legends about the Establishment of Istanbul


When one says the founding legend of Istanbul, several different legends come to mind. It is up to history lovers and history buffs to believe or not to believe these stories, which make history beautiful and fun.

  • Legend of King Byzas

The legend of King Byzas of Megara is the closest to the truth and accepted by historians. It is also the best-known legend. It is also said that King Byzas was the son of Poseidon, the God of the Sea, one of the most important characters of Greek Mythology. I will discuss the information about King Byzas in another article. According to the legend, King Byzas, who lived in the Megara city-state of Greece, had to leave the Greek peninsula for various reasons or was given the task of establishing a new colony. He asks the oracle of the Delphi temple where he should establish his new city. The answer he received from the prophet was “Opposite the land of the blind”.



Byzas of Megara, with his people, crosses the Bosphorus and reaches Khalkedon, which is today’s Kadıköy. Here he notices the perfect position of Sarayburnu. This peninsula, surrounded by water on 3 sides, has a perfect natural protection area. Moreover, it is obvious that it is suitable for agriculture and fishing due to its water basin. On top of that, he says, “The land of the blind mentioned by the Oracle must be here.” He passes to Sarayburnu saying “Those who establish a city here with such a good position can only be blind” and lays the foundations of one of the oldest cities in the world. This new city is referred to by the people by the name of its king: Byzantion. In some sources, it is also referred to as Byzantium.

  • Legend of the Prophet Solomon

The legend of the Prophet Solomon dates back chronologically. According to the legend, 1600 years before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, the prophet Solomon, son of David, ruled the world. Big Saydun, who was a king living on Ferenduz Island, did not pay allegiance to Prophet Solomon. Upon Saydun’s rebellion; The Prophet Solomon, the Sultan of people, jinn, animals, and all his plants, marched on Saydun with his army. While King Saydun, who was defeated in the war, died there; Her daughter Aline, the most beautiful woman on earth, was married to Solomon.

When the Sultan, who has come to the Greek peninsula, asks his unhappy wife why he is always crying, he gets an unexpected answer: His new wife Aline asks him to build a palace there and allow him to spend the rest of his life praying for his father. He also fulfills this request of Aline in Athens and comes to Sarayburnu, which was known as the Hünkar Garden at that time, and liked it very much. When admired by the air, water, and view, he built a large palace here and prayed for the protection of these places until doomsday. Prophet Solomon, who got his name written in the founding date of Istanbul in this way, goes back to Athens, according to a rumor, where he sees Aline worshiping his father, not praying for his father, and kills him and goes to Jerusalem.



  • The Legend of Yanko

Madyanoğlu Yanko Legend is another story. In an age when the time was not yet written, there lived a ruler born of the Mare: Yanko. This ruler, who was called Madyanoğlu because he was born from a mare, was very fond of pleasure and entertainment. The ruler, who fell asleep after a fun, woke up and found himself in a place with the most beautiful view, water, air, and sky: Sarayburnu! When the subjects of Madyanoğlu Yanko, who decided to stay here (old Istanbul) until he got bored and tired, informed him that they never wanted to leave this place, the great ruler instructs the establishment of a city here and he starts the work first by building a magnificent palace. In this way, the establishment and development of Istanbul begin.

Best History Books About Istanbul That You Can Buy Online












Istanbul Vacation Rentals


Where to stay in Istanbul?” is a very critical question for those who are planning a trip to Istanbul. Beşiktaş, Ortaköy, Eminönü, Sirkeci, Karaköy, Taksim, and Sultanahmet are the best regions to stay on the European side. On the Anatolian side, Kadıköy and Üsküdar are the most ideal regions to stay.

Most of the places and neighborhoods that I will be mentioning in this post will also be valid for private rental places through apps and websites as Istanbul is a tourist city and there’s always competition from the little businesses. You can also rent apartments from the real estate offices (Emlakçı) at these places for the duration of your stay.



Istanbul is considered among the world’s most beautiful cities. Turkey’s most popular tourist areas are in this city. When it comes to places to visit in Istanbul or things to see in Istanbul, there are many opportunities; cultural and entertainment opportunities, historical, architectural sights, shopping, restaurants, bars, nightlife, and nature. In order to visit Istanbul, which is home to so many must-see things and is a very large city in terms of surface area, you should definitely decide on the location of your accommodation area in Istanbul to enjoy your visit in the most pleasant and comfortable way.

Where to stay in Istanbul? What are the ideal accommodation areas to visit Istanbul in the easiest and most comfortable way? If you are confused by such questions, the Istanbul accommodation areas I have listed below will help you determine which region you should choose for hotel selection in Istanbul.

  1. Beşiktaş
  2. Ortaköy
  3. Taksim
  4. Karaköy
  5. Eminönü and Sirkeci
  6. Sultanahmet
  7. Kadıköy
  8. Üsküdar

Being one of the most active and central districts of Istanbul and ideal for both business and leisure trips, Beşiktaş is one of the most preferred regions by tourists with its seafront location, beautiful streets, touristic eating locations, bars, and shopping opportunities. Taksim, which can be called the most active area of ​​Istanbul day and night, with bars and many other alternatives around it. Karaköy, which has become one of the favorite Istanbul districts with the change it has gone through in recent years, has many opportunities both modern and traditional from shopping to eating in its historical streets, historical bazaars, pleasant streets.



Eminönü and Sirkeci, are among the most historical districts of Istanbul with its architectural textures. Sultanahmet is the most important and popular touristic area of ​​Istanbul with its historical buildings, architectural wonders, museums, and different opportunities such as shopping, eating bars, nightlife, and culture. The most central region of the Asian Side with entertainment facilities Kadıköy and Üsküdar are ideal for those who want to stay in a quieter area, as well as easy access to touristic areas and buildings.

Beşiktaş

Beşiktaş is one of the most central and vibrant districts of Istanbul. Whether you are traveling to Istanbul for business or a touristic plan, you can choose among Beşiktaş hotels for accommodation and visit Istanbul in the most enjoyable way.

My hotel advices for you in Beşiktaş from cheapest to the most expensive:

The Hub Hostel 3*: This place is a versatile option that appeals to those looking for cheap and affordable hotels in Beşiktaş. There are double rooms in the facility as well as dormitories for 4 or more people. There is a common kitchen where you can cook and a laundry service on-site.

Sunrise Istanbul Suites 3*: If you are looking for an affordable hotel in Beşiktaş, you can take a look at this place named Sunrise Istanbul Suites. Located in Beşiktaş Bazaar, in Sinanpaşa Quarter, that is, in a very central location, the hotel can be preferred with its location and price-performance balance, although it does not offer many facilities on-site.

Puffin Suites 3*: Another option that I can recommend as a good hotel in Beşiktaş is Puffin Suites. Located in Sinanpaşa District, Ihlamurdere Street, the facility is only a stone throw’s away to Beşiktaş Square, public transportation, and Beşiktaş entertainment joints.

The Capital Hotel 4*: The Capital Hotel is located in Akaretler district, on Şair Nedim Avenue. It is only 3/4 of a mile from Beşiktaş Square and a 1/4 of a mile from Beşiktaş Pier. With its modern design, comfortable and clean rooms, it is one of the most beautiful options that can be preferred for accommodation in Beşiktaş.

W Istanbul 5*: If you are looking for a luxury hotel in Beşiktaş, you can choose W Istanbul. Located in the historical buildings known as “Akaretler Row Houses” on Akaretler, one of the most popular areas of Beşiktaş, W Istanbul is a very good choice for accommodation in Istanbul with its stylish and modern design, view, first-class quality service, and facilities.

If we briefly talk about the features of the Beşiktaş region, it is possible to find everything you are looking for here. There are many alternatives especially for shopping, eating out, drinking at a bar, and nightlife in Beşiktaş Çarşı. When considering the details such as “Where to eat in Istanbul?”, Istanbul nightlife, we can say that many special places are in Beşiktaş.

Akaretler, located within the borders of Beşiktaş, is one of the first places that come to mind when it comes to places to see in Istanbul. Akaretler, a wide street decorated with rowed houses built at the time of Sultan Abdulaziz in 1875, is full of restaurants, bars, and pleasant cafes. Beside the Beşiktaş Çarşı and Akaretler areas, the Naval Museum, Dolmabahçe Palace, Dolmabahçe Mosque, Yıldız Park, Ihlamur Pavilion and many must-see beauties of Istanbul are in Beşiktaş.



Apart from all these, Beşiktaş is one of the most ideal places for accommodation in Istanbul in terms of both land and sea transportation.
In terms of sea transportation, the alternative is both pleasant and very. Motorboat and ferry (you can check out this post for further information: https://goodistanbulguide.com/istanbul-by-ferry-vapur/) services are organized from Beşiktaş Pier to Kadıköy, Üsküdar, Adalar and Küçüksu. You can reach Kadıköy from Beşiktaş in about 30 minutes, and from Beşiktaş to Üsküdar in approximately 10 minutes.

When it comes to land transportation, Beşiktaş is surrounded by Barbaros Boulevard, Çırağan Street, and Dolmabahçe Street, one of the busiest streets in Istanbul. In short, you can go anywhere in Istanbul from Beşiktaş by bus or minibus. Considering the most critical locations, you can reach İncirlikuyu Metrobus Station in 15 minutes, Taksim in 25 minutes, Ortaköy in 10 minutes, Maçka and Nişantaşı in 20 minutes, and around Levent & Etiler in 30 minutes.

Apart from all these, Beşiktaş is also ideal for transportation to the most popular places in Istanbul such as Arnavutköy, Bebek, Karaköy, Kabataş, Galata, Eminönü & Sirkeci.

Ortaköy

Ortaköy is one of the most preferred regions for accommodation in Istanbul. It is definitely ideal for the answer to the question of where to stay in Istanbul, when it comes to transportation, to places to visit in Istanbul and when alternatives around the hotel are considered. If you want to be close to the most active places in Istanbul and not to be in that mess, you can book a hotel in Ortaköy.

Here are my recommendations for places to stay in Ortaköy:

Lale Inn Ortaköy: Located at a central location in Ortaköy, Lale Inn Ortaköy provides service in a 120-year-old historical building, approximately 600 feet from Ortaköy beach. The property, which also has room options with a garden and balcony, is an excellent option in terms of price performance.

Corner Hot Bosphorus 3*: Those looking for an affordable hotel in Ortaköy can take a look at the facility named Corner Hot Bosphorus, which is only 250 feet from Ortaköy beach. Dominantly in the boutique hotel style, the place provides service in a charming, double-story mansion in the pleasant side streets of Ortaköy. An ideal option for clean and comfortable service.

Çırağan Palace Kempinski 5*: Çırağan Palace Kempinski, which we can call the most luxurious hotel in Istanbul, is located on Çırağan Street in Ortaköy. The hotel, located on the shore of the Bosphorus, also serves its guests with 11 suites in Çırağan Palace, the palace belonged to the Ottoman Empire Monarchs. The ideal option for those looking for a luxury hotel in Ortaköy, with rooms with extra luxury views, restaurants and bars, luxurious spa facilities, and an all-year heated infinity pool.

Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus 5*: My other suggestion for those looking for a luxury hotel in Istanbul is Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus. The hotel is located in a very central location on the shore of the Bosphorus, on Çırağan Avenue, which stretches between Ortaköy and Beşiktaş. With its modern and stylish rooms embracing the Bosphorus, suites, green areas, indoor and outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, and spa alternatives, it is one of the best options for both relaxing and exploring Istanbul.

Let’s talk about Ortaköy. Ortaköy is located just by the sea, 10 minutes by foot from Beşiktaş. We can say that with the Bosporus Bridge right above it, with its former name, Ortaköy is right under one of the symbolic structures of Istanbul, which is now the 15th of July Martyrs Bridge. In fact, you can find the estimated averages for transportation times from Ortaköy by adding 10 – 15 minutes to the transportation times I have provided for Beşiktaş.



You can find many alternatives for shopping, eating, and enjoying a drink, nightlife, culture & arts in Ortaköy. There are different restaurants, taverns, cafes, and bars for a pleasant meal or a drink in the coastal square area called Ortaköy Square. When you go up from the beach, the charming streets of Ortaköy are ideal for a pleasant time. You can stroll through these narrow cobblestone streets surrounded by shops on both sides, look for souvenirs or have a snack.

You can also visit the Büyük Mecidiye Mosque (Ortaköy Mosque) in Ortaköy Square, which adorns famous Istanbul photographs. The fact that there are many hotel alternatives for accommodation in Ortaköy is one of the details that make Ortaköy one of the ideal regions when it comes to accommodation in Istanbul. Luxurious, affordable, cozy, modern, or traditional; Ortaköy hotels are enough to appeal to every budget and taste.

Taksim

Taksim, one of the most popular areas in Istanbul. Although the historical texture and atmosphere of the past, unfortunately, do not remain today, Taksim is still the most touristic area that comes to mind when Istanbul is mentioned. Taksim has a rich cultural landscape, entertainment, shopping, eating and drinking, and many other alternatives, and can be called the most active area of ​​Istanbul day and night. It is one of the places that can be preferred for accommodation in Istanbul.

There are many alternatives here, many hotel options in Taksim. Hostels, luxury hotels, hostels, standard hotels; You will notice that there are many options when you Google for Taksim hotels. Istiklal Street, stretching from Taksim Square to Şişhane, is the most popular place to see in Taksim. You can take the historical tram that goes back and forth along the street, or you can find antique shops, museums, art galleries, restaurants, cafes, and bars by walking among the historical buildings from the 19th century.

Here are my hotel recommendation for you who wish to stay in Taksim:

Innpera Hotel 4*: It is located on Sıraselviler Avenue, only 200 feet from Taksim Square. Considering the comfort, cleanliness, and service quality, this hotel, which is a very good option for accommodation in Istanbul, appeals to different types of travelers with its rooms equipped with modern amenities.

Galata Antique Hotel 4*: This hotel is located in Galata, it is one of the eye-catching options for accommodation in Taksim with its stylish and retro design. The facility is located approximately 300 feet from Şişhane Metro Station and half a mile from Galata Tower.

The Marmara Taksim Hotel 5*: Located in Taksim Square, The Marmara Hotel is one of the most ideal options for those looking for a central hotel in Taksim. As soon as you leave the hotel, many options from bus to metro for all Taksim and transportation are only a few steps away. Different types of rooms with city or Bosphorus views are both luxurious and equipped to meet all your needs. The hotel offers a very good service with different facilities from fitness to spa, from restaurant to bar.

Pera Palace Hotel 5*: Pera Palace Hotel, one of the most iconic buildings in Istanbul, is not only with its accommodation service; It is also very valuable with the history it bears witness. With the design and atmosphere of the hotel, which has hosted many important names such as Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, and Mustapha Kemal Atatürk, it is not possible for you not to go on a historical journey. It is also in a perfect location, in Pera, at the back of Odakule. You can reach İstiklal Street in a few steps.

If you want to stay in Taksim but stay away from chaos, you can choose this cute boutique hotel serving in a decent area.



Likewise, when you enter the side streets from the right and left sides of the street, you will understand how much there is to discover in Taksim. When choosing your hotel, if you are wondering what places to see in Taksim, you can consider the following points: Historical Çiçek Pasajı, Madame Tussauds Museum, Saint Anthony Church, Pera Museum, Istanbul Modern Art Museum, Galata Tower, Museum of Innocence, SALT Beyoğlu, Nevizade, and Asmalı Mescit.

There are some things to be careful about if you are going to rent a place in Taksim:

  1. First of all, I recommend you stay away from Tarlabaşı. It is a region that we can say is not safe to walk alone even during the day.
  2. Pera Region, Galata, and Odakule sides can be preferred to feel the nostalgic and historical atmosphere of Taksim more.
  3. If you do not want to be in the crowd of Istiklal Street and Taksim that much, you can choose Cumhuriyet Street towards Harbiye direction and the surrounding side streets or Sıraselviler Street and İnönü Street surroundings for your hotel selection in Taksim.
  4. If you have a vehicle, it will be difficult to stay around İstiklal Street or on the side streets. Parking can be a big problem in Istanbul unless you stay in one of the very large hotels.

Of course, Taksim is also ideal for accommodation in Istanbul in terms of transportation. There are metro, tram, bus, and minibus options for transportation from Taksim. You can easily reach anywhere in Istanbul with these alternatives.

Karaköy

Karaköy is one of the best areas in Istanbul. From shops to restaurants, bars, museums, and to entertainment venues; It is a region where you can find everything you are looking for and be far away from the frenzy of Istanbul. Especially with the changes it has gone through in recent years, it started to host many new places, both modern and traditional.

Some of the places that you can choose to stay in at Karaköy are as follows:

Ada Karaköy Hotel: Located in Kemankeş District, one of the most lively areas of Karaköy, Ada Karaköy Hotel is one of the most preferred hotels for accommodation in Istanbul. A hotel option that can appeal to both business and leisure trips with its facilities. The dining venue and a terrace bar with their view are one of the most pleasant areas of the hotel.

Peninsula Galata Boutique Hotel 4*: Located in the middle between Galata and Karaköy regions, Peninsula Galata Boutique Hotel has an advantageous location with its proximity to both Taksim and Karaköy. When you get out of the hotel, you can easily reach many alternatives to spend time in Istanbul from bars to cafes, from shopping opportunities to historical buildings. You can also have a pleasant time in the hotel’s own facilities and cute rooms.

Karaköy Rooms 4*: Located on Kemankeş Street, Karaköy Rooms is one of the most stylish and popular hotels in Karaköy. Hotel Karaköy is only a few steps from the beach and 800 feet from Galata Tower. Şişhane Metro Station is only 1/4 of a mile away, and you can reach the bus stops by walking a few steps from the hotel. As for the rooms, especially the sea view rooms are excellent. In standard rooms, all the facilities you may need are combined with a spacious and modern design.

Vault Karaköy *5: Located on the famous Bankalar Street in Karaköy, Vault Karaköy is one of the options you can choose if you are looking for a luxury hotel in Karaköy. The hotel has many facilities such as a fitness center, sauna, spa, massage, restaurant, bar. The hotel, which provides service in a historical building, can make your trip to Istanbul even more beautiful, especially with its scenic rooms.



Today, it is one of the most enjoyable districts of Istanbul with its hidden eating, drinking, and entertainment venues in its narrow streets leading to the sea, with its large and small shops. In addition, despite all these, compared to other regions, it somewhat preserved its nostalgia and that beautiful atmosphere in general. Karaköy streets; SALT Galata, Galata Bridge, Kemankeş Street, Karaköy coast, and Tersane Street are among the places where you can spend time in Karaköy.

Karaköy is also a region that can provide convenience for your Istanbul trip in terms of transportation. You can easily reach the most central areas of Istanbul from Karaköy. You can enjoy ferryboats in Istanbul with the ferries from Eminönü, Sirkeci, and Kadıköy departing from Karaköy Pier. Kabataş, Galata, and Eminönü are places that you can easily reach on foot. You can reach other parts of Istanbul by bus and tram.

If accommodation in Karaköy seems to be an attractive option for you, you can search for Karaköy hotels around Karaköy beach, Tersane Caddesi, Bankalar Caddesi and Kemeraltı Caddesi.

Sirkeci and Eminönü

Another alternatives I can recommend for those wondering where to stay in Istanbul are Eminönü and Sirkeci, they are among the most precious districts of Istanbul. Eminönü and Sirkeci, which are located in the region called the Historical Peninsula. They are ideal for those who love busy and active areas. You can discover the spirit of Istanbul by staying in Eminönü and Sirkeci with its historical bazaars, pleasant streets, architectural textures, food, and beverage alternatives.



There are many beautiful places to stay in Sirkeci and Eminönü, here are some of the most prominent ones:

Beyaz Köşk Hotel: Attracting attention with its ideal location for places to visit in Istanbul such as Vefa Bozacısı, Süleymaniye Mosque, and Grand Bazaar, Beyaz Köşk Hotel is one of the most beautiful options among affordable hotels in Eminönü. Providing service in a historical mansion, the hotel has its own garden and terrace where you can enjoy the view.

Alpek Hotel Istanbul 3*: Located within walking distance to Eminönü Square and Eminönü Pier, Alpek Hotel Istanbul is an excellent option for those looking for affordable hotels in Eminönü, considering the price-performance balance. Economy, superior, and family rooms offer options suitable for every style traveler. If you have a personal vehicle, you will eliminate the parking problem in Eminönü thanks to the hotel’s car park.

Regie Ottoman Istanbul Hotel 4*: Located very close to places to see in Istanbul such as Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern (see our post here for more information about Istanbul Underground:https://goodistanbulguide.com/whats-underground-in-istanbul-basilica-cistern/), Topkapi Palace, Regie Ottoman Istanbul Hotel is one of the most beautiful hotels you can choose for accommodation in Sirkeci. The hotel is a very good option with its services, rooms equipped with modern amenities, and close proximity to public transportation.

Legacy Ottoman Hotel 5*: The Hotel, located in Sirkeci, is one of the well-established and luxurious hotels of Istanbul, which has been in service since 1962. The hotel has an ideal location in terms of transportation, 500 feet from Sirkeci Train Station, 600 feet from Spice Bazaar 550 feet from Eminönü Square. If you have your own vehicle, you can use the hotel’s car park. The specialty of the hotel, the splendor of the Ottoman Period can be felt in every part of the hotel. There are also room options with a view.

Spice Bazaar, Grand Bazaar, Büyük Valide Han, Süleymaniye Mosque, Yeni Mosque, and many other places worth seeing will be waiting for you in these two regions. Eminönü and Sirkeci are also very comfortable in terms of transportation. You can easily reach many places by bus, sea transportation, Marmaray, and minibusses.

You can choose ferry, motorboat, and Marmaray to go to the Asian Side, and you can walk to Karaköy and Kabataş via the Galata Bridge or take a bus. Sultanahmet and Beyazıt are also easily accessible places around Eminönü and Sirkeci. Accommodation in Eminönü or accommodation in Sirkeci may not be a good option for you if you do not like human and vehicle traffic at all. However, if you do not have much trouble with these issues and you are looking for affordable hotels in Istanbul, I recommend you to do research for Eminönü and Sirkeci hotels

Sultanahmet

Sultanahmet is one of the most preferred regions by tourists and travelers for accommodation in Istanbul. If you want to stay in a historical area and be as close as possible to historical buildings in Istanbul, you should take a look at Sultanahmet hotels.



Sultanahmet is the most important and popular tourist area of Istanbul with its historical buildings, architectural wonders, museums, and different opportunities for shopping to eating, and drinking within its borders. The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Museum, Gulhane Park, Bukoleon Palace, Topkapı Palace, Istanbul Archeology Museums, and many other must-see historical buildings in Istanbul are located in the Sultanahmet area.

As such, you would have guessed that there are many alternatives for the hotel in Sultanahmet. Especially the side streets on Divan Yolu Caddesi and the area around the Blue Mosque are rich in hotels.

Some of the hotels that I woukd recommend in Sultanahmet would be:

The Reina Hotel 3*: If you are looking for an affordable hotel in Sultanahmet, you can check out The Reina Hotel. Located 1000 feet from Sultanahmet Square, you can walk to Istanbul’s tourist attractions such as the Binbirdirek Cistern, Hagia Sophia Museum, and the Grand Bazaar. There are room options suitable for every style traveler such as sea view rooms and family rooms. You have to pay an extra fee for the hotel’s car park and airport transfer service.

Alzer Hotel Istanbul 3*: If you are going to choose among Sultanahmet hotels for accommodation in Istanbul, you can take a look at the place called Alzer Hotel Istanbul, which is ideal in terms of price performance. From the hotel, you can reach tourist spots such as Sultanahmet Square, Hagia Sophia Museum, and Süleymaniye Mosque on foot. The hotel provides service in a lovely building in Sultanahmet Horse Square. It is possible to enjoy the square in the cafe on the ground level.

The Million Stone Hotel 4*: The Million Stone Hotel is another luxury hotel option located next to the Basilica Cistern. Not only the places to be seen in Sultanahmet; The iconic buildings of Istanbul such as Galata Tower, Spice Bazaar, Topkapi Palace are also places that you can easily reach on foot from the hotel. You can discover other attractions of Istanbul with Sirkeci Train Station, Sirkeci Pier, and bus stops located 1/2 a mile away. You can have a pleasant time at the hotel with many amenities from a spa to a restaurant, from a coffee shop to a bar.

Vogue Hotel Supreme Istanbul 5*: Located next to the Basilica Cistern, Vogue Hotel Supreme Istanbul is a suitable option for those looking for a luxury hotel for accommodation in Sultanahmet. Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque are only 5 minutes away from the hotel. Bus and tram stations are 500 feet away. The hotel is quite luxurious with its common use areas, facilities, and rooms. You can also contact the hotel in advance for airport transfer.

Kadıköy

Kadıköy, the most central region of the Asian Side with its shopping, restaurant, bar, nightlife, culture, and entertainment opportunities, Kadıköy is one of the best answers I can give for the question of where to stay in Istanbul.

If you want to discover the young and energetic side of Istanbul, you can look at accommodation alternatives in Kadıköy. Classical shops, restaurants, cafes, etc. that you can find in almost every district of Istanbul are prominent here. There are many more original and innovative options in Kadıköy instead of such opportunities. You can shop in antique shops on the bustling streets of Kadıköy and come across the most popular ones when it comes to Istanbul graffiti. In popular cafes and restaurants, you can taste the flavors of both traditional and international cuisine, as well as find bar alternatives where you can have fun until the morning.



If you are interested in cultural and entertaining activities, you can find many art galleries, museums, and different environments hosting alternative art in Kadıköy. If you are looking for a central hotel in terms of transportation in Kadıköy, you can take a look at the hotels around Kadıköy Rıhtım, Söğütlüçeşme, and Kadıköy Bull Statue.

Some of the hotels in Kadıköy are:

Bossuite Hotel Kadıköy: The hotel is located in Kadıköy, Osmanağa District, within walking distance of the Bull Statue. You can walk to the metro, Metrobus, and ferry. For buses and minibusses, it would be enough to leave the door of the hotel. The hotel is very advantageous in terms of price performance. If you are looking for an affordable but high standard hotel in Kadıköy, you can take a look here.

Juliet Rooms & Kitchen: This place is located in Caferağa District, the most enjoyable area of Kadıköy Moda. Places to visit in Kadıköy such as Rexx Cinema, Süreyya Opera House, Asphalt Art Gallery are very close to the place. Although Caferağa is normally lively and always vibrant, the location of the facility is closer to Moda Beach, a quiet and peaceful area. You can easily reach the beach and public transport on foot. There are both private room types and mixed dormitory rooms in the property.

Sarnic Boutique Hotel 3*: The hotel is located in Kadıköy Caferağa District, on Moda Street. Due to its location, it is ideal for exploring Kadıköy nightlife venues and alternatives such as restaurants, cafes, and boutiques. Kadıköy Metro Station is only 500 feet away and Kadıköy Pier is approximately 1/4 of a mile away. All rooms are very comfortable and clean, and if you like, you can take a look at the terrace room type.

Istanbul Life Hotel 4*: Located only 5 minutes away from Kadıköy Pier, the hotel is located at a very convenient location both in terms of places to visit in Kadıköy and public transportation. From the hotel, you can reach Moda and the famous Bull Statue in about 10 minutes on foot. It is possible to reach public transportation alternatives such as metro, ferry, bus, minibus in 5 minutes, and Metrobus in 10 minutes. You can have a pleasant time at the hotel with different room options and facilities.

For nightlife and younger atmosphere, Kadıköy Moda hotels, Caferağa hotels, and hotels around Moda Sahil will be more suitable for you. You can find hostels, luxury hotels, pensions, boutique hotels, and many more accommodation options among Kadıköy hotels.

Üsküdar

Üsküdar, located on the opposite side of Beşiktaş, across the Bosporus, is one of the most ideal districts in terms of transportation on the Anatolian Side, considering the touristic places and the most popular places of Istanbul. If you say “Where to stay in Üsküdar”, I can say around Üsküdar Iskele (Üsküdar Sahil), Beylerbeyi and Kuzguncuk.

Some of the places that you can stay at are:

Ottoman Suites by Sera House: The facility serves in a 120-year-old historical building with traditional Ottoman architecture. The facility has its own garden and a pleasant cafe. If you are going as a couple or as a family, you can choose between different room options. It is possible to easily reach Fıstıkağacı Metro Station and Üsküdar Ferry Port from the facility. If you like to walk, Beylerbeyi and Kavacık are also within a distance that you can explore on foot.

Su Merdum Boutique Hotel: Located on Yaliboyu Street in the Beylerbeyi region, Su Merdum Boutique Hotel is one of the alternatives that can be preferred for accommodation in Üsküdar. The hotel offers different possibilities to relax such as a jacuzzi, spa, sauna, and an open-air, garden. There are 8 room types including sea view, king, and standard. If you have a car, you can ease your mind with the hotel’s free car park.

Serra Boutique Hotel 2*: If you are looking for an affordable hotel in Üsküdar, you can check out Serra Boutique Hotel. Places to visit in Üsküdar such as Üsküdar Grand Bazaar, Mimar Sinan Bazaar, Yeni Valide Mosque, Üsküdar Beach, Maiden’s Tower are very close to the hotel. You can reach Marmaray Üsküdar Station and Üsküdar Pier on foot from the hotel. If you have a car, you can use the hotel’s car park and contact the hotel for an airport transfer.

Bosphorus Palace Hotel 5*: If you are looking for a luxury hotel in Üsküdar, you can check out Bosphorus Palace Hotel. The hotel has a charming location and building. The hotel provides service in a historical mansion on Yalıboyu Street in the Beylerbeyi region, directly on the coast of Bosphorus. Beylerbeyi Palace is only 1/3 of a mile away, while the Bosphorus Bridge (July 15th Martyrs Bridge) is 1/2 a mile away. There are different room types such as with views to the Bosphorus and the garden. From the rooms to the common areas, you feel the most elegant form of the Ottoman period’s magnificent design concept at every point of the hotel.

If transportation is the most important detail for your accommodation in Istanbul, Üsküdar beach hotels will be the right choice. There are motorboat & ferry services from Üsküdar Pier to Eminönü, Sirkeci, Beşiktaş, Kabataş, Kanlıca, and Karaköy. Apart from sea transport, there is a large main bus stop opposite the pier. You can easily reach everywhere with the buses and minibusses departing from here. When you cross the road, there is Marmaray Üsküdar Station within a 5-minute walk.



Not only in matters of transportation; Üsküdar’s coastal area is also a not bad option in terms of touristic buildings. The Maiden’s Tower, one of the must-see structures of Istanbul, it can be seen best from the Üsküdar beach. For those who love cultural & entertainment activities, Kite Museum and Hababam Class Museum are good alternatives to spend time.

However, we can not count as Üsküdar’s center among good places when we look at it from a tourist point of view. If you want to stay in a more charming and pleasant environment, Kuzguncuk and Beylerbeyi, which are among the most beautiful districts of Istanbul, are alternatives you should check out. These two districts, built on the shore of the Bosporus, are also among the most historic districts in Istanbul. These two will offer a peaceful Istanbul tour with their cobbled streets decorated with historical low-rise detached houses, intimate streets where artisans still have shops that are colorful little shops, and many other details to admire.

Moreover, since these districts are very close to Üsküdar, you will not have any problems in terms of transportation in Istanbul. Unlike Üsküdar’s center, you can also find transportation by Metrobus. In short, Üsküdar hotels will be the right choice for those who want to stay in a quieter area compared to other districts of Istanbul, as well as easy access to touristic areas and buildings.

The Pricing

Let’s talk about hotel prices and hotel reservations in Istanbul. Turkey’s most populous and economically most important historical and socio-cultural city has many alternatives for accommodation in Istanbul.



First of all, you don’t have to worry if your budget is not high for accommodation in Istanbul. Finding affordable hotels in Istanbul is much easier than in many cities. Whether you are looking for an affordable hotel in the most luxurious district or in the most humble district of Istanbul, there are so many options that you will definitely find an option that fits your budget. Average prices for affordable Istanbul hotels vary slightly depending on location and district. For example, if you want to stay in the most central districts of Istanbul such as Taksim, Beşiktaş, and Kadıköy, a clean and well-maintained standard hotel is around 30 – 50 $ per night for 2 people (As the exchange rate between USD and TRY fluctuated greatly these last years you should always check before you plan a trip).

If you think that there is no need to stay in a central location, of course, you can find many hotel options for an average of 35-40 $. Likewise, if you are looking for a luxury hotel in Istanbul, you can find many alternatives both in terms of hotel features and price ranges. For luxury Istanbul hotels, I recommend you to take a look at the hotels on the edge of the Bosphorus, especially in Beşiktaş and Ortaköy regions.

For the most luxurious hotels, the average price for 2 people for 1 night varies between 200 $ – 500 $, but of course, it is possible to find a luxurious alternative for accommodation in Istanbul at prices between 50 – 80 $ per night. For Istanbul hotels, you should pay attention to the occupancy rate and early booking. The districts that I listed in the first parts of this post as the most ideal Istanbul accommodation areas are the districts with the highest occupancy rates.



Especially on Friday and Saturday nights, hotels in neighborhoods such as Kadıköy, Taksim, and Beşiktaş can be full because of the nightlife. For this reason, it will be useful to book early. Another advantage of early booking is that you get much more affordable accommodation in many hotels. Hotel prices do not change seasonally or periodically, as Istanbul, where four seasons are experienced, is subject to intense tourist flow every season. If you want to lower your budget for a trip to Istanbul, I recommend that you arrange your hotel reservation early.

If you have decided on where you are going to stay during your stay and made your arrangements consider taking a look at the other posts present on this blog, you can find many helpful subjects to help guide you during your planning. Have a nice trip!

Istanbul vs Budapest


Istanbul is a beautiful huge city with a history full to the brim, Budapest is a fascinating city, smaller, but more concentrated than Istanbul. Budapest is generally colder than Istanbul. Getting from one point to another is easier in Budapest. Generally, they have the same price index. Istanbul and Budapest both have their advantages and disadvantages for tourists and for people who plan to visit them, I’m going to talk about some of these in this post.

Istanbul

Istanbul used to be the capital and heart of the Ottoman Empire. It was and still is the cultural, social, art, and food capital of Turkey. It is one of the biggest cities in the world by metropolitan area. Getting around in Istanbul is more difficult than in Budapest. Istanbul has nearly 10 times the population of Budapest and Istanbul on its own has more population than the entire country of Hungary, of which Budapest is the capital. Naturally, the city is very crowded at all seasons with its local population, but during the hotter months ( from late May to early September ) there are fewer people in them as the inhabitants try to get away from the noise and frenzy of such a huge city and go to other smaller touristic areas around Istanbul and Turkey.



Istanbul has a more modern look than Budapest. The majority of the population of Istanbul is not local, they come from all around the country, and a major population boom happened after the 1950s so the city expanded somewhat uncontrollably, except for the historic parts, it looks like one of the huge metropolises around the world. This has both been an advantage and a disadvantage for the city. It brought people from all parts of Turkey which brought their cultural heritage and food habits with them, thus enriching the city even further. It also got the city so huge that during rush hours it can take you 2 hours plus to get from the Asian side to the European side of Istanbul, so if you decide to visit the city during the off-seasons I would advise you to plan some activity between 8 to 10 A.M. and 5 to 7 P.M. in order to not waste your vacation time stuck in traffic.

If you stay near the center of the city, you can plan to taste the world-famous Turkish breakfast comprised of multiple savory treats. In the evening you can plan to go to a concert, of which there’s never a shortage of in the city, or you can take a ferry tour on the Bosporus with dinner. The possibilities are endless and I will elaborate on them to give you a better idea.

Budapest

Budapest is the historic and modern capital of Hungary. It is much smaller than Istanbul but with its look, it is one of the most beautiful and magical looking cities in Europe. Your visit to Budapest can be done in about 3 days with the major tourist attractions, as opposed to Istanbul for which you would need at least a full week. Your stay in Budapest is sure to be much calmer than a visit to Istanbul. The city holds the traces of a long kingdom, a short imperial and an even shorter communist regime remains.



Top Sites to See in Budapest

  • Buda Castle
  • Hungarian Parliament Building
  • Fisherman’s Bastion
  • Széchenyi Thermal Bath
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica
  • Heroes’ Square
  • Matthias Church
  • Széchenyi Chain Bridge
  • Central Market Hall

History

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, dates back to a millennium BC and has a rich history. Hungarian tribes that came to Eastern Europe towards the end of the 9th century established the Hungarian Kingdom. Once upon a time a part of the Roman Empire, Hungary was established as its own kingdom after the empire collapsed. Later it became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the reform period (1825-1848), the city experienced the first development boom. The Hungarian National Museum and the Chain Bridge connecting the two shores of the Danube River were also built during this period. In 1873, there was an unprecedented development in Europe with the merger of three cities of Buda, Pest, and Old Buda. After the Second World War, the country, where the communist regime was dominant, transformed into the parliamentary regime in 1989 and was declared a republic. Approximately one-third of the local Hungarians live outside Hungary, especially in Romania where indigenous Hungarians were forced to emigrate.



In the 1960s and 1970s, the Elizabeth Bridge was opened to traffic, the underground network was developed, the old city center was renewed, and large construction work was started, especially around the castle. The city has started to develop in terms of tourism with hotels opening both around the castle and on the banks of the Danube. Soon there was an increase in tourism, known as “goulash communism”. In addition to Eastern and Western Europe, the city is also visited by other people around the world. In the city that currently has a population of two million Europe’s first underground rail network was built. In 2004 The country joined the European Union and has started to develop after this process.


Modern Budapest was formed in 1873 when Buda, Pest, and Old Buda came together. Buda is part of the city that was established on the hill west of the Danube River and constitutes the historical region of the city. In Budapest, which consists of 23 regions, the regions have numbers that they are known by other than their names. The city’s parks were built together with Andrassy Boulevard and the Opera House that are under UNESCO’s protection. Heroes Square and the Hungarian Art Museum were built specifically for the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Hungary. In the same period, the Parliament Building was built at a high cost.



After World War II there was too much material and moral losses and
the city was in a pretty bad state in the 20th century. The city, where a large part of the original buildings was destroyed, was remarkably rebuilt. However, traces of bullets from the war are still in some buildings. The buildings around Buda Castle, the most popular and historical area of ​​the city, bear the traces of baroque architecture. The historical texture around the castle has never been touched and destroyed.

Festivals in the City

The city, which hosts many festivals, has been recognized as the largest art and cultural center in Central Europe. Budapest Spring Festival, which attracts visitors from many parts of the world, has been held since 1981. The biggest museums and art venues openings in Budapest are always held with this festival. The festival is celebrated not only in the city’s concert halls but also in parks and squares. Another big festival is the Budapest Summer Festival. It attracts enthusiasts for 12 weeks with a rich cultural program. Especially very special opera and theater works are staged at the open-air theater on Margaret Island. Varosmajor Open Air Theater is located in one of Buda’s most popular public parks. In the place where famous names of the music world meet, in addition to Budapest theaters, Hungary’s traveling theaters are also staged. The world-famous Sziget Festival is one of Europe’s largest popular music and cultural events. Sziget Festival attracts tens of thousands of international visitors to Budapest every August. With its unique atmosphere and location, Sziget Festival is one of the most popular events in Budapest.



The country is the home of many famous scientists, the famous Hungarian inventor Erno Rubik, the creator of the Rubik cube, is one of the scientists trained in Budapest. Budapest has one of the most important spa cultures in Europe. There are many hot springs and baths with Roman, Greek, and Turkish architecture in the city. Known as the ‘City of Baths’, Budapest is one of the few cities in the world that is rich in thermal waters that are believed to have healing properties. Budapest is a city where you can enjoy traditional baths dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The best baths, Rudas, Kiraly, and Veli Beige are among the baths from the Ottoman Period. In Budapest, where there are very good universities, the education period of universities varies between 3 and 4 years. Pecs University, the oldest university in Hungary, was founded in 1367.

Food

Food culture in both of these cities is quite different from each other but similarities can still be found as they were twice cities under the same Empires.

While in Istanbul
  • Fish Sandwich
  • Lahmacun
  • Doner Kebab
  • Kumpir
  • Midye
  • Simit
  • Baklava
While in Budapest
  • Goulash
  • Chicken Paprikash
  • Bean soup
  • Lángos
  • Chimney Cake
  • Stuffed Cabbage
  • Dobos Torta


All dishes and desserts above are among the most important food items that if skipped during a visit, would leave it uncompleted. If you are a foodie as well as a traveler you most definitely have to try these.

What to Do in Budapest

Budapest is an ideal city for those who want to have fun activities with its historical texture, nightlife, and the Danube River view. The fact that compulsory expenses such as transportation and food can be met here at a lower price makes the city attractive.

The part of the city, where you can also find Turkish baths, usually contains historical textures, is the side of old Budin, or Buda. Gellert Hill, where the famous Gellert Baths are located, has an excellent city view. The island on the Danube River called Margaret Island is also a place to be visited. There are many religious and historical ruins on Margaret Island. The island, which is also home to the St. Michael Church, Franciscan, Dominican Churches is a favorite place for cyclists like the Islands in Istanbul.



The Castle Hill, the structure of the city that was included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1987, was built against the Mongols. If you are going to go here in the winter, don’t forget to take a coat with you. In addition, you should definitely have a camera and take beautiful pictures of the city.

Budapest is also famous for its cave tourism. The reason for this is that there are around 200 caves in the city. Castle Cave, Palvogly Cave, Chapel, and Szemlohegy caves are also the most important.

Night Life in Budapest

Budapest takes on another identity at night, especially due to the atmosphere that the Danube River adds to the city. A wonderful view is created for those who have a camera with lighting placed throughout the Danube.



The nightlife of the city is as colorful as the lit roads along the Danube River. The Astoria Nightclub, Octagon, and Blaha Lujza triangle on Seventh Avenue is a complete source of entertainment. Dolce Vita Bar and Poco Jumbo are also ideal for night trips. You can also find restaurants, bars, and cafes in Raday Utca, known as Soho of Budapest. Wine bars named Borozo are also good alternatives to try the flavors unique to Budapest.

Shopping in Budapest

The most important tradition of Budapest, from both Central Europe and Ottoman Culture, is the open-air markets in the city. Great Market Hall, called Big Market Hall, is one of the most important markets, while Hundayi Ter, Hold Utca, and Rakoczi Ter are other important markets.

The city has a satisfactory texture in terms of both the products that can be bought and shopping opportunities. If you like luxury brands, if you want to breathe the cultural structure of the city, you can go to local markets or street shops and shop according to your budget.



Vaci Utca is one of the first places that come to mind when it comes to the most famous shopping area of ​​Budapest. You can come across shops of world-renowned brands lined up on this street starting from Vörösmarty Square to Central Market Hall. However, if you are one of those who say “I see chain stores everywhere”, you should turn your route to Andrassy Avenue. In this narrow and luxurious ambiance ist apart from the most famous stores, boutique shops designed according to the local culture will also appear. You can buy clothes suitable for your style from these small shops that make affordable sales, and you can browse souvenirs such as trinkets, decorative ornaments, and types of food and beverages that you can gift to your loved ones.

Of course, what you can buy in Budapest is not limited to clothes! The Great Market Hall, the largest market place in the city; It is a shopping spot that is appreciated by all tourists with its food, beverage, and handicraft products. If it suits your taste, you can buy Paprika, Palinka and Tokaji wines from the ground floor, and look for souvenirs for your loved ones from the top floor. If you want a more attractive market alternative, stop by Ecseri Market! In this market, where the locals flock, the prices are relatively affordable and the product choice is much more diverse. Established only on weekends, Pecsa Market is preferred by tourists who like antique ornaments and decoration objects.

Where to Stay

The areas that are favorable to chose a hotel from are;

  • Vaci Utca
  • Erzsebetvaros
  • Terezvaros
  • Around Plazas
  • Elizabeth Bridge
  • Fisherman’s Bastion (Halaszbastya)
  • Citadella

Transportation

You have many alternatives to get to the city center from Budapest Airport, which is 18 miles away. Taxi is an expensive method, and you pay 10 times the train journey. The minibusses take you with a few people and transport you to your hotel for half the price of the taxi.



The easiest way to reach the city center is about 25 minutes by train. The first stop of the train is not the airport, so it is useful to get help while waiting at the Ferihegy stop or to see the diagrams that write the train line. The most ideal method for urban transportation is to use the metro and tram, the metro that operates on 3 different lines, and the tram that has 30 lines.

Prices

I will not name a certain amount of money to bring with you but give you some guidelines for both Istanbul and Budapest for helping you make a guess for your kind of trip. Until recent years, Budapest was considered to be cheaper than Istanbul but during the fluctuation of the value of Turkish lira, nowadays both of the cities can be considered to have the same prices for similar services. Hotel and restaurant prices are very similar in both cities. The things that you have to keep in mind while planning your trip to both of these cities are;

  • The time of the year
  • How long will you be staying
  • What kind of food do you prefer ( dining or street food)
  • What do you expect from the hotel you’re staying at
  • What mode of transportation do you prefer
  • How many places do you want to visit
  • How many events do you want to participate in both public and private

If you keep in mind those factors while you plan your visits, there shouldn’t be any surprise fees that will put you in a deficit with your budget.

Religion

Budapest is one of the most Christian cities in Europe. It has many churches, some of them turned into a church from a mosque that was built during the Ottoman era. You can spot these churches by their domes as the Ottoman mosque architecture built mosques with domes that were inspired by the Hagia Sophia which is, in turn, a church that was turned into a mosque. Hungary and Budapest are also one of the oldest regions that European Jews inhabited for a long time. Many of the Israelians that came from Europe can trace a part of their lineage to Hungary.



Istanbul is a Muslim majority city. There are many mosques in the city, both modern and historic. Due to the fact that Istanbul has been the capital of the Ottoman Empire, leader of the Islamic world for nearly 400 years, many of the mosques that were built during its capital-hood are formidable works of art that were commissioned by the Sultans themselves. Some of the most famous ones are;

  • Sultanahmet ( Blue ) Mosque
  • Suleymaniye Mosque
  • Beyazit Mosque
  • Ortakoy Mosque
  • Eyup Sultan Mosque
Climate

Budapest is a city that’s slightly colder than Istanbul. Budapest’s average temperature throughout the year is 50 degrees whereas Istanbul’s is 60. Budapest’s weather is dryer than Istanbul due to Hungary’s and the city’s landlocked position. The only humidity in the city comes from the Danube River. Istanbul is a humid city all year round. It is a city that is surrounded on all three sides by the sea, and yes both sides of the city. Budapest’s winters can be cold and dry whereas Istanbul’s are moderate. In the hotter month, it is nicer to walk around Budapest as opposed to Istanbul where you may need multiple changes of clothes due to its humidity.

When to Visit

You can consider every period of the year for a trip to Budapest. However, the city has cold and gloomy weather from November to the first week of March. It is even possible to encounter heavy snowfall during the period from December to February. However, since the temperatures start to rise after March, a significant increase is observed in the tourist population. Of course, if your goal is a bit more fun, do not miss the Spring Festival, which takes place in the first three weeks of April!



Istanbul can also be visited throughout the year, I would advise the late springtime especially as the city takes its winter coat on and prepares itself to the hotter month with its green light-coat. During the springtime in Istanbul, you can see the purple flowers of the “Erguvan” trees that inspired the city to adopt the color for some of its busses. Early fall is also a good time to visit the city, you will see the local population coming back from their vacations and all kinds of social events booming to welcome them back home, so you can benefit from those!

Final Word

Budapest and Istanbul are both rich, diverse, and beautiful cities. They are very different from each other, you may want to choose which one to visit according to your mood if you do not have the time or the budget, but if you can be sure to visit both during your trip, you are sure to not regret by crowning your vacation with these two amazing cities.

Istanbul vs Ankara


Istanbul and Ankara are the two most important cities in Turkey. Many people are confused when they’re told that Ankara is the political capital (the brain) of Turkey, and not Istanbul (the heart) because most people hear about Istanbul when the subject is where to visit Turkey, and there’s a good reason for that.

Ankara, the Capital

Ankara is the capital city of Turkey. It has been chosen as such by the first president of the Republic of Turkey, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, as it is officially known. Although Ankara’s geographic surface area is larger than Istanbul’s, that’s about the only aspect of it that is bigger than Istanbul.



Istanbul is the city with the most inhabitants in Turkey. It is the economic, cultural, artistic, historic, and trade capital of Turkey. It houses 19% of Turkey’s population. The country has 81 cities with provincial areas and it shows how important Istanbul is that 1 city houses 1/5th of all the population.

Istanbul also contributes to nearly 22% of the GDP. This shows how important is this city to Turkey and how every significant aspect is the biggest city in the country, bigger than Ankara the capital.

Why Ankara is the Capital and not Istanbul

Alright, to answer this, I have to give you some of the history of the Republic. Noticed how I sad history of the Republic and not Ankara? There’s a reason for that. Ankara is not a capital that became so because the people were already settled there, it became the capital during a war. Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic chose Ankara as the capital because it was strategically distanced from the enemies during the War of Independence, it was centrally positioned to all the strategic points of the Anatolian peninsula, and this made Ankara a supply point and a safer one at that.



During the War of Independence Istanbul was occupied by the British and their allies, so the Sultan at that time, Vahdettin, was under the control of their forces. He condemned the independence movement that rose from Anatolia. Ataturk wanted to distance the newly founded Grand Assembly from the monarchist rule so he chose Ankara as the center of the insurgency and later his deeper intentions would be made clear when the founding of the republic was announced.

The Distance Between Ankara and Istanbul

The distance between Ankara and Istanbul is 280 miles by road, it takes approximately 5.30 hours to travel by car and bus. Keep in mind that the highway between these two cities is the busiest one in Turkey so the traffic is constant at all times.

You can also travel between these cities by airplane and it’s only a 50 minutes-ish flight. By air, Ankara is 220 miles far from Istanbul. Trains are also another way to travel between the biggest cities in Turkey. Conventional old school trains are not generally preferred but there are high-speed express trains that are very comfortable and the time that it takes is somewhere between the road time and air time; 3.5 hours. The distance is the greatest but let’s remember, these aren’t called fast trains without merit. The site for train tickets is http://www.tcddtasimacilik.gov.tr/

Is it worth visiting Ankara

Istanbul and Ankara are of course not comparable when it’s a question of places to visit. Istanbul has been the capital of two major empires and for so long too. Ankara is also a great place to visit during your stay in Turkey. Maybe you can plan a trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia and add in a night or two in Ankara. There’s the first Grand Assembly where you can see the place that modern Turkey was founded.



The Anatolian Civilizations Museum itself is worth visiting without any other aspects but the museum itself is situated in the old part of the city so you can do a compacted day visit on just the historical castle and museum. You can reach more information about the museum here: https://muze.gov.tr/muze-detay?SectionId=AMM01&DistId=AMM

The most iconic place to visit in Ankara is Anitkabir Mausoleum. It is where the great leader of the Turkish people, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, is buried. It also doubles as a museum of the Republic that depicts sceneries from the War of Independence and the life of Ataturk.

The Castle of Ankara is a very old castle, it precedes the Ottoman Empire by about 600 years. It was used for defense of the city for a very long time. Nowadays the castle has become a tourist attraction from where you can get a bird’s eye view of the old part of the city.



Here you can find a list of what to do and where to be during your visit in Ankara:

  1. Anatolian Civilizations Museum
  2. Anitkabir
  3. Ankara Castle
  4. Hadji Bayram Veli Mosque
  5. Roman Temple
  6. Kocatepe Mosque
  7. Kizilay Square
  8. Ulus Square
  9. Beypazari
  10. Hamamonu

Most of these attractions are fairly close together and two days and one night should cover all of them except one: Beypazari. This town is located within the provincial limits of Ankara but 100 miles away from the center of the city. I will talk briefly about these attractions to spark your interest in them. Anatolian Civilizations Museum and Anitkabir are two whole subjects in themselves and I already gave some brief information about them so we will start with what’s next.

Hadji Bayram Veli Mosque

Hadji Bayram Mosque attracts both those who value spirituality and those who value history with its original atmosphere. When you look at the religious building that owes its originality to its architectural features, do not let it mislead you with its plain appearance. Because the details that will dazzle you when you enter are waiting for you. The mosque isn’t the very impressive gigantic structure that you would see in Istanbul, no. This mosque is the trace of civilization alive and vibrant that prevailed outside of the capital in Ottoman times. The amount of detail and originality of this mosque is one of a kind in the world.



Roman Temple

The Roman Temple in Ankara is also known as The Temple of Augustus or The Ankara Monument. The temple’s history is older than the Roman origin that it is attributed to. The temple’s history dates back 4000 years, it is said that the first religious structure that was built in that spot was built by the Frigians to the goddess of fertility, Kibele. Later the structure was repurposed and restored according to their own traditions by the Galatians to show their loyalty to the Roman Emperor Augustus. Later it was used as a church during the Byzantine rule of the land and lastly, the structure itself was left as it is but the land on top and around it was used by the Muslim Turks as a religious center. So as you can imagine, this site is one of the most important continuous religious sites in Turkey.

Kocatepe Mosque

The mosque is one of the grand structures of the young Republic of Turkey. It was constructed with the idea of forming a new architectural tradition for the future so it carries many traces of other mosques from Istanbul and all around Anatolia. When you stand in front of the mosque in its main square it gives you the same sense of grandeur that you can find in the mosques of Istanbul but in a more modern way. It has one dome and 4 minarets. It is said to resemble the Selimiye Mosque in Istanbul.

Kizilay Square

Kizilay square is the modern center of Ankara. The meeting point of many youngsters, the rally point for protests and demonstrations, the square is the heart of the city. One cool fact about the square is that Ataturk designed the avenues that lead to it about 3 quarters of a century ago. The people that advised him at the time objected to the avenues being 4 lanes large stating that there would never be a need for that. If you get caught at 5 P.M. on a weekday in that traffic you can imagine who was right.



Kizilay can be accessed easily from everywhere in the city. There’s public and private busses, subway, and taxis that serve as transportation to Kizilay. It is a great place to shop during the day and the evening, there are special “night bazaars” in the back streets of Kizilay. The bars, cafés, and restaurants in Kizilay are very nice to hang out in the evenings, you can find good food, live music and a calm evening to relax.

Ulus Square

Ulus Square is the old center of the city, back when it wasn’t even a capital. The Roman Temple, Hadji Bayram Veli Mosque, Anatolian Civilizations Museum, and Ankara Castle are all accessible from Ulus. There are also many other aspects of this place. The statue of Ataturk is in the center of the square. The one and only Synagogue and the Armenian Church are also in Ulus. The historic building and museums of İsbankasi are in Ulus. The mosque with one of the most beautiful woodsmanship in very close to the square, Aslanhane (Lion’s Domain). Roman Baths, Old Ankara Houses, the old Ulus Bazaar are the things that you should experience during your visit to the historical heart of the city. You might also find it a breeze to be able to visit all of the historical places of the city in walking distance after visiting Istanbul.

Hamamonu

Hamamonu is the oldest district in Ankara. It was “the” city back when it was a small hamlet. It has been the center of the oldest part for a long time, The architecture shows traces of the Ottoman times and the Republican period. There are multiple “bed and breakfast” types of businesses in Hamamonu where you can stay in old-style Ankara houses. It is a pleasure to walk the streets in this district because one of the night bazaars is set during. There are many great coffee houses that you can enjoy many different types of coffee but especially traditional Turkish coffee. The architecture is unique and very different than Istanbul’s. One cool fact about Hamamonu is that it was the seat of the local government Ahilik, that controlled the city during the interregnum period after the death of Sultan Yildirim Beyazit. Later because of the loyalty of the city the Ahi’s became the trade organization to control and to supervise the merchants all throughout the Empire. It is the only kind of power that propagated from Ankara to Istanbul and not the other way around.



The Differences and Similarities

Ankara and Istanbul are very alike and also very different. Here are some of the aspects that I will talk about to shed some light on the differences and similarities of these cities:

  • Climate
  • Population
  • Geography
  • Culture
  • Structure

Climate

The climate of Ankara and Istanbul is as different as it gets between two cities that are only 300 miles away from each other. Istanbul is has a humid climate due to its location. It has fairly mild winters and hot humid summers. Ankara’s air is dry due to its continental climate. If you decide to visit Ankara during the winter or the colder season, in general, be careful, the cold can bite you there! During the hotter months, it’s fairly nice during the days, but at nights you are sure to need some kind of jacket over your t-shirt especially near the morning hours. It can be refreshing to breathe without all the humidity after Istanbul. Another cool fact, the doctors during the Ottoman period used to send the sick with lung problems from Istanbul to Ankara as a cure.

Population

The populations of these two cities are also different from each other. Ankara’s population is mostly comprised of government workers. Due to Ankara being the capital, the ministries, the Grand Assembly, and other government agencies are all stated here so people from all around Turkey come here to work. All the embassies from foreign countries are also stated in Ankara, so not only Turkish government officials but also foreign government officials live here too. Istanbul is more of a trade-oriented city in that regard. Many of the Turkish companies’ headquarters and other foreign companies’ representations are in Istanbul. Ankara and Istanbul both have a huge population of students that come from all around the country for its good and deep-rooted universities.

Geography

There are some similarities and some differences between the cities geographies. Istanbul is surrounded by sea all sides with small hills dotted all around town. It is called by the locals “the city of 7 hills” but the rumors are that the name was originally used for Rome, the first capital of the Roman Empire but it was carried over from there to Istanbul with the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Eastern Roman Empire. Istanbul’s situation causes it to be humid so be prepared to sweat during your visit!



Ankara’s land is generally flat with some hills, there aren’t many forests in Ankara except for the northern parts of the city. You need to be careful about the sun there, you can get sunburns quite fast because of the lack of humidity in the air. During the summer the things that you need to be careful about are sun-rays and dust, some dust may be in the air because the hot seasons are also the dry seasons in Ankara.

Culture

The cultures of these cities are different because of their demographics. Istanbul is a vibrant city because of the occupation of its inhabitants the city is alive and moving at all times. Ankara is a city of government officials so late at night the city sleeps just like its people. Entertainment in Istanbul can be a night out to drink with family and friends for the white-collar private-sector workers. In Ankara, the pass-time would be to go out on a picnic with the extended family or make a barbecue in the backyard.



The eating habits of the two cities are quite similar due to them being metropolitans but there are also small differences. Ankara is a hub for people generally originating from central Anatolia, so the eating habits of these people have carried over here too. Bakery products are the main source of traditional food in Ankara. Istanbul has no such limitations as you can tell from the number of people living there, more than 3 times the population of Ankara, so I couldn’t name one kind of food that is dominant in Istanbul. Due to the locations of the cities sheep, beef and poultry are the general sources of meat for Ankara, fish is a well behind 4th place. In Istanbul seafood is more obtainable than Ankara especially on the streets.

Structure

The towns’ layouts are quite different from each other due to their locations. Istanbul’s layout is quite dense due to limitations of land with it being surrounded by seas. There are hills in Istanbul that might not seem real to you at the first look, they are covered entirely by buildings. Istanbul’s metropolitan area is one of the densest in the world. During workdays, some districts of Istanbul get as crowded as 1/3rd of the entire population of Ankara. The capital has plenty of lands to be laid out less dense. Ankara is the 3rd largest city of Turkey in regards to the surface area, so the metropolitan area is not as dense as Istanbul’s. Ankara has more green areas within the city contrary to Istanbul where the green areas are outside the city center. You will not see hills completely covered in buildings as you might see in Istanbul, but still, Ankara is not a sparsely populated town.

Which is the Better One

Ankara and Istanbul are two very similar and yet different cities. Istanbul has been a capital not only to empires but arguably to the world of old times due to its important location in trade routes. Ankara’s capital status is quite new in regards to Istanbul’s. Ankara is learning a lot from Istanbul about being a capital, it is a good thing that there is an example to show the way, but Ankara also develops its own way of being the capital of a country as young as it is with deep roots in history.



If you keep your expectations along with the reality of the subjects of this post you should have an enjoyable holiday in Turkey. A piece of good travel advice that I could give you for your visit would be to, visit Istanbul for about 4 days and nights, then go on to visit Ankara for 2 days and 1 night, after Ankara you can visit Capadoccia and the eastern parts of Turkey which contains a lot of traces of the many cultures that lived and prospered on these lands.

I could not say that one city is better than the other because what they offer is very different from each other. If you wish to experience them both, I would highly advise it, you could get one in a lifetime experience from the trip. Istanbul is full to the brim with history and natural wonders, the attractions are as diverse as it gets in this ancient city. Ankara has the unique features that give it the originality that it is attributed to. It is an authentic city that has been the spot from which Anatolia has been administered for centuries, it has been a political, religious, and trade center for the inner parts of the land.

The decision rests with you, which one do you prefer. You’re going to have to decide after you have seen both because they both are ready to give you an exceptional, splendid time during your stay. Istanbul with its rich history, natural and human-made wonders, beaches, and boat trips aplenty, or Ankara with its unique sides that lean in a specific direction, a reflection of the Anatolian life in a metropolitan setting. We both are absolutely not obligated to decide which one is better. You can love and like them both in their own aspects and for their own beautiful attractions that you seriously should not omit to see.