The city is full of mosques, and churches and palaces, minarets and steeples, Byzantine architecture overlaid with Ottoman flourishes. Practically nothing in the city has not changed hands, not once, but several times. The blue mosque is one of the most famous mosques in Istanbul. The Aya Sophia mosque just opposite it is now a museum, and has changed function many times.
The heart of the city is the Bosphorus, and the bridges across it, bridging Asia and Europe. The Bosphorus cruise and the suspension bridges across it, constitute the highlights of any Istanbul trip. Public transport in the city covers all bases, ferry, tram, bus and taxi.
Here is a not so common Istanbul experience. A trip to an island in the Bosphorus, a lovely place with 150 year old houses, and a charming neighbourhood feel. Lucky are the friends who live there, who shared their gracious household with us. No motorized transport allowed here. If you won't walk, take a horse drawn carriage.
As always it was too short a trip. So here's to hoping we visit again to catch the many wonders we missed, and to meet again the warm citizens of the city who spent enormous time and trouble shepherding around confused foreigners.
This blog post is by Neelima Gupte and Sumathi Rao.