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Istanbul History & Turkish Culture

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History of Istanbul

Istanbul’s rich history is a product of layer upon layer of civilizations and it’s of little wonder that this strategically important and majestic city has been so bitterly contested since its existence. Istanbul served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine  and Ottoman empires. Read more about the history of Istanbul...

Traditions and Habits

Turkey has a rich and vibrant culture as a result of thousands of years of history. Following the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, Turkey became a constitutional republic under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Much of what is now modern day Turkey is just a fraction of the old Empire which once spanned the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa and contained many different ethnicities and customs. This geographical and political transformation meant that the country was forced to assess its cultural identity.

Turkish culture has developed greatly in the last century, and while it has managed to preserve many elements from its past, it has also embraced modern adaptations. Food, drink and social interaction remain very important to many Turks who tend to combine these elements in their social lives. Read more about Turkish Traditions and Habits...

Turkish Cuisine

Turkish cuisine is as varied and colourful as its people. Along with French and Chinese, Turkish is said to be one of the most influential cuisines in the world and gained its legacy from Ottoman times. Dishes are usually relatively simple to produce yet very flavourful, and focus on the use of the freshest ingredients such as fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood.

Even today, the importation of produce is not so common and dishes usually have a seasonal and regional twist.
The most common herbs and spices used in Turkish cuisine include salt, pepper, oregano, dried chili flakes, mint and thyme and many dishes are served with lemon and/or yoghurt. Read more about Turkish Cuisine...

Important Turkish Figures

There are many important figures in Turkey, both past and present. Founder of Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Orhan Pamuk or Turkish 'Prince of Pop' Tarkan are just some of them.

Read more about well known Turkish figures...

Books and Films about Istanbul

We at My Destination Istanbul have put together a list of some of the most well known books and films about or featuring Istanbul, from historical classics to modern day gems. Take a look at them... Books about Istanbul, Films about Istanbul.

Sounds of Istanbul

Here is a list of well known Turkish and Foreigner singers and bands as well as songs which evoke the spirit and life of Istanbul. Sounds of Istanbul...

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Istanbul Photos

  • Istanbul at night by Mista Riggs

    Istanbul at night by Mista Rig...

  • Topkapi Palace © Yildirim Incealemdaroglu

    Topkapi Palace © Yildirim Ince...

  • Princes Islands ©Helen Simpson

    Princes Islands ©Helen Simpson

  • © Simona Mimmo Lilly Obino

    © Simona Mimmo Lilly Obino

  • Bosphorus Cruise by Mista Riggs

    Bosphorus Cruise by Mista Rigg...

  • ©Andrew Sawvell

    ©Andrew Sawvell

See all Istanbul photos »


"I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them" - Twain