42 Ways Istanbul Is So Beautiful It Actually Hurts.

DECEMBER 11, 2014, 12:06PM
BY: MARIE TELLING

1. Istanbul is so gorgeous it hurts.

Istanbul is so gorgeous it hurts.

2. There is beauty literally everywhere…

There is beauty literally everywhere...

3. And delicious food at every corner!

Merton Wilton / Flickr: 97238650@N08

Owen Lin / Flickr: owen-pics

Such as lokma – the divine Turkish donuts.

4. Where else in the world can you find cisterns that look like actual cathedrals?

Clint Koehler / Flickr: amberandclint

Andreas Metz / Flickr: natarajam

This is the Basilica Cistern, built in the 6th century.

5. And palaces overlooking the Bosphorus?

And palaces overlooking the Bosphorus?

Like Dolmabahçe Palace.

6. AND amazing Döner kebab?

AND amazing Döner kebab?
Alper Orus / Flickr: eorus

7. Istanbul has an amazingly rich history.

Istanbul has an amazingly rich history.

This is the Maiden’s Tower. It’s been located on the Bosphorus since 1110. According to the legend, a Byzantine emperor had the tower built for his daughter. An oracle had predicted her death on her 18th birthday and he thought that if she lived in the middle of the Bosphorus, she would escape this fate. Obviously, she did not, because as far as legends go, when an oracle predicts your death, you’re doomed.

8. This beautiful monument is the Chora church. There’s been a church on this site since the 5th century.

Garrett Ziegler / Flickr: garrettziegler

Garrette Ziegler / Flickr: garrettziegler

9. And this is what the famous Hagia Sophia looks like from the inside. Have you ever seen anything so majestic?

And this is what the famous Hagia Sophia looks like from the inside. Have you ever seen anything so majestic?
Dr. Andreas Zachmann / Flickr: 23575499@N04

The monument built in 537 used to be an Orthodox basilica until 1453, when it became a mosque. It was turned into a museum in 1935.

10. But the city doesn’t live in the past.

But the city doesn't live in the past.
Rob Hyndman / Flickr: rhh

These fishermen are a usual sight on Galata Bridge.

11. It is incredibly lively and dynamic.

It is incredibly lively and dynamic.
Kashfi Halford / Flickr: kashklick

This is Taksim Square.

12. And did I mention beautiful?

And did I mention beautiful?
Filip Knežić / Flickr: ficablok38

13. Even the seagulls are majestic!

Even the seagulls are majestic!
bass_nroll / Flickr: bass_nroll

14. Istanbul has amazing cafés.

Istanbul has amazing cafés.

15. Where you can smoke shisha…

Where you can smoke shisha...

16. And play backgammon.

And play backgammon.
Guillermo Fdez / Flickr: guillermofdez

Or Okey, another really popular game in Turkey.

17. Istanbul is also populated by cute stray cats.

Istanbul is also populated by cute stray cats.
Matteo G. Teti / Flickr: dalbuio

18. They’re everywhere and people take care of the ones in their neighborhood.

Christian Bélanger / Flickr: krissserz

Stéphane Goldstein / Flickr: 33278177@N00

19. The city is home to beautiful and very diverse neighborhoods. Such as Arnavutköy…

Eser Aygün / Flickr: eseraygun

Franzconde / Flickr: 79928508@N00

20. And Fener…

And Fener...
Charles Roffey / Flickr: charlesfred

21. With its cobblestone streets and colorful buildings.

Nadia Blagorodnova / Flickr: nadiatwitch

Charles Roffey / Flickr: charlesfred

22. And then, there is Gulhane Park, with all its pretty tulips.

23. Let me tell you about the food: from the spices market…

Let me tell you about the food: from the spices market...

24. …to all the street food.

Sascha Kohlmann / Flickr: skohlmann

David White / Flickr: everpool

25. And the simit carts.

And the simit carts.
David White / Flickr: everpool

A bread topped with sesame seeds.

26. And Ayran!

And Ayran!
Robyn Lee / Via Flickr: roboppy

An always refreshing yoghurt mixed with salt.

27. And the fish! From the dockside fish restaurants…

And the fish! From the dockside fish restaurants...

28. …to the fish markets.

Robin Robokow / Flickr: robino

Mikko Lahti / Flickr: mmlahti

29. The food in Istanbul is so good it’s mind-altering.

The food in Istanbul is so good it's mind-altering.
Robyn Lee / Flickr: roboppy

Here is a künefe, a cheese pastry soaked in syrup.

30. You’d need a whole book to cover it all.

You'd need a whole book to cover it all.
Robyn Lee / Flickr: roboppy

Here is a Turkish breakfast (the croissant isn’t the most typical, but whatever), with some Turkish tea.

31. But let’s just say that once you’ve had a baklava, there is no coming back.

But let's just say that once you've had a baklava, there is no coming back.
Robyn Lee / Via Flickr: roboppy

You’ll just never be the same anymore.

32. If you’re a coffee lover, Istanbul’s got you covered.

Owen Lin / Flickr: owen-pics

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr: quinnanya

Obviously.

33. But the real star of the city is the Bosphorus.

Anna Kucherova / Flickr: annakucherova

Christian Senger / Flickr: 30928442@N08

34. The strait that separates Europe from Asia is the lifeline of the city.

The strait that separates Europe from Asia is the lifeline of the city.
gato-gato-gato / Flickr: gato-gato-gato

35. It also makes for a beautiful sight. From Rumelihisari fortress…

It also makes for a beautiful sight. From Rumelihisari fortress...

36. …to the Ortakoy Mosque.

...to the Ortakoy Mosque.
mattspinner / Flickr: mattspinner

37. And if you venture south into the Marmara Sea, there is the island of Büyükada.

And if you venture south into the Marmara Sea, there is the island of Büyükada.
Kristof Zerbe / Flickr: kzerbe

38. Which is so charming it’s just too much.

Florian Lehmuth / Flickr: floffimedia

rejphotography / Flickr: 93503517@N00

39. Also: ferryboats! Istanbul has lots of ferryboats.

Also: ferryboats! Istanbul has lots of ferryboats.
bass_nroll / Flickr: bass_nroll

40. And everyone knows that ferryboats are just the best.

And everyone knows that ferryboats are just the best.
Orçun Edipoğlu / Flickr: orcunedipoglu

41. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by so much beauty, don’t worry.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by so much beauty, don't worry.
Merton Wilton / Flickr: 97238650@N08
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