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Istanbul Travel Guide

Istanbul is Turkey's largest and most popular city. This city sits on the Bosphorus Strait, where Europe and Asia meet. Historically known as Byzantine and Constantinople, Istanbul is the cultural, economic, and financial center of Turkey. During its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital city of the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. This city is home to astounding, beautiful landmarks such as Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar.

Istanbul's population is estimated to be between 12 and 19 million people, making it the largest in Europe and is also one of the largest cities in the world today. 70% of the locals live in the European section and around 30% in the Asian section.

This city's climate condition is temperate. Summer is generally hot and humid, winter is cold, wet and often snowy, and spring and autumn are usually mild and wet. The weather can range from chilly to warm, though some nights are chilly. Snowfall occurs annually between the months of December and March. The average January temperature is 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) and the average July temperature is 73.4 degrees F (23 degrees C). The average annual rainfall is 25.8 inches (65.5 cm) and the average snowfall is 18 inches (45 cm).

Istanbul offers a wealth of historic and religious places for tourists to go out and see. Many of those spots dating back to Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods, and one of them is the Topkapi Palace. Topkapi Palace was the official primary residence of the ottoman Sultans for 400 years. It was built in 1459 by order of the Sultan, Sultan Mehmed II, who defeated the Byzantines and set the stage for centuries of the Ottoman rule. Today, the palace serves as a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is also a major tourist attraction today, for it contains the most holy relics of the Muslim worlds such as the prophet Muhammed's cloak and sword.

Another historical attraction of this city is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the interior walls of the mosque. It was built between 1609 and 1616 by Ahmed I. It comprises the tomb of Ahmed I and his wife Kosem Sultan, a madrasah (secular), and a hospice.

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world with more than 58 streets, housing approximately 4,000 shops that attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. The bazaar was opened in 1461 and it's well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops.

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