My heart is heavy not only for the people of Turkey and city of Istanbul, but for the sad reality that little attention is given when violent terrorist attacks have struck there multiple times since my family visited last summer. I can honestly say I have never met people more kind than the people of Turkey.
They, the men in particular, treated my mother like she was a queen. Working women in full Muslim dress helped my tired mother carry her bags across the subway tracks, when they could tell how badly she was struggling. We couldn’t speak the same language as the wonderful women, but they patted their hearts and I patted back as a way to stay thank you.
We had the great fortune to visit one of Europe’s largest mosques during Ramadan. It was a spectacular sight and I desperately wish others across the world could get to experience the beauty, people, and culture of a Muslim country.
I am not very fond of big cities, but Istanbul has been the most favorite of my international travels.
Here are some interesting facts about Istanbul, Turkey in case you folks care to learn more about the city and it’s charming culture:
- Istanbul is the only city in the world that straddles two continents: Asia and Europe.
- The bustling city hosts magnificent architecture due to its “ever changing” reigning religions. The Hagia Sofia was my favorite site, with Christian mosaics hanging alongside Islamic medallions
- Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, but it is not the capital. More than 13 million people reside there and 99% of the population is Muslim.
- Istanbul, which used to be known as Constantinople thanks to the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, is built on seven hills to match the seven hills of Rome.
- The Grand Bazaar is one of the biggest and oldest covered bazaars in the world, with more than 3,000 shops to boast.