Istanbul (map) is a city of fantastic history, culture and beauty. Called Byzantium in ancient times, the city’s name was changed to Constantinople in 324 CE when it was rebuilt by the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine.
The most populous city in Europe, Istanbul forms the financial and cultural center of Turkey and confidently straddles the borders between Asia and Europe as it has for millennia: this is the result when you mix ancient Christendom, a medieval metropolis and the modern Middle East.
Lauded in antiquity as “the second Rome”, this is a city where you most certainly should roam — culture and excitement lie around every corner and more than 2,000 years of history await you.
The Old City of Istanbul is the oldest part of the city, and the location of most of its historic sights. Many of Istanbul’s historical gems, mostly consisting of Byzantine and Ottoman-built monuments are within the Old City. Most are located a short walk away from, if not immediately on the edges of, Sultanahmet Square (map). Some other sights are dispersed throughout the peninsula.
For budget meals it is advisable to avoid the restaurants along the tram line and to the West and South from the Blue Mosque. For really budget places, where locals eat, one should go to the Gedik Paşa street (map) and look in the side streets. But if you search some normal prices, it easy to find some place on Peykhane street (map).
Accommodation in the peninsula is mostly around Sultanahmet. Budget hotels and hostels are clustered in Cankurtaran, the neighbourhood just south of Sultanahmet Square towards the coastal strip of Kennedy Cd.