ECHO’S September 9-22 trip to Turkey begins and ends in Istanbul, one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Fascinating only begins to describe this great cosmopolitan city, the world’s fifth largest with over 14 million residents. One-third of its population is in Asia and two-thirds in Europe. Istanbul is the only city in the world that straddles two continents and that says so much about its culture and society.
Spanning thousands of years, Istanbul’s history easily captures a visitor’s imagination. What other city has been the capital of three distinct empires (Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman)? Istanbul was geo-political ground zero for millennia.
During the time of these great empires, striking architecture flourished. Still-standing, must see structures include the Blue Mosque,the Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, and the Hagia Sophia which was the largest domed building in the world for a 1,000 years. Other colorful locations, such as the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Spice Market, point to the city’s uniqueness.
Modern day Istanbul bustles as a financial center and an art, music, and media hub. The Bosporus, which divides the city, is one of the busiest shipping channels in the world. While the ships and tankers come and go, an elaborate ferry system serves everyday citizens.
Whether it is the old or new Istanbul that captures your attention, come join our September trip to see why generations of travels have been drawn to this fascinating city.