Trip Advisor’s Top 25 World Destinations list has been released. All 25 destinations will be explored in this series of articles to assist travelers in selecting the perfect destination for this year’s vacation. Before deciding on any location outside the continental United States, go to U.S. Passport and International Travel Alerts and Warnings page on the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Any travel warnings will be posted, and information about the country can be found by conducting a search – just type the name of the country in the blank under “Learn About Your Destination” prompt in the upper right-hand area of the page.
As confirmed by International Business Times writer Mark Johanson, Istanbul, Turkey is Number 1 on this year's list. Istanbul is a city of intrigue and enchanment, especially for history lovers. Formerly Constantinople, its name was changed to Istanbul in 1920. The city is divided by the Bosphorus Straight; one side of the city rests in Europe, the other in Asia - the only city in the world that sits on two continents.
History buffs will have multiple locations to enjoy. Hagia Sophia, the center for Christendom, was completed in 537 A.D; the former church turned mosque is now a museum. The Sultan Ahmet Camii is famously known throughout the world as the “Blue Mosque.” As well, the third oldest synagogue in Europe, the Ahrida Synagogue, is located in Istanbul. The Turkish Jewish community boasts 19 active synagogues throughout the city. No admission is required, and tourists are free to tour without guides, but dress appropriately and be respectful of all religious customs or traditions.
The Spice Market is also a must see and spices can actually be tried before making a purchase. The preferred drink by locals is actually tea, rather than Turkish coffee. Street vendors abound and excellent dishes of seafood and lamb can be found in restaurants in all areas of the city.
Finally, the Grand Market, Roman aqueducts, Turkish baths, gardens, obelisks, museums, and numerous forms of entertainment are available in this city of some 13 million people. Istanbul also has a film festival each year, and this year’s film festival runs through April 2oth. For more information on the sights of Istanbul and things to do, go to the Official Tourism Portal of Turkey website.
Come back tomorrow for the 2nd Trip Advisor destination in this 25 article series, Rome, Italy.