Love Letter to Istanbul: Why I Fell in Love at the First Sight

Dear Istanbul,

If love at the first sight is really exist, I can tell you that I fell in love with you at the first sight. I know, I am not the first person saying those words to you. Thousands or even million travelers told you what they felt after they stepped their feet for the first time in your beautiful city. Before I came, I heard much about you. I heard many people talking that you have magic to pull people to return again, again and again. Afterwards, I know what the reason is.

From history books I learnt from high schools, I know how important you were in the past. You had become the capital of two important empires in the world, namely Byzantium and continued by Ottoman. While I took religious architecture subject when I was in university, my professor talked about you many times and mentioned Hagia Sophia, the religious building that was became a holy house for two biggest religion in the world, not even once. I got more curious even more to see how beautiful you are. So, one day, after getting approval from my boss to get my 10 days of short break, I booked ticket to Istanbul to meet you in person for the very first time.

The Famous Hagia Sophia. The building that was a holy house for Christians in Byzantium Era. When Sultan Mehmet conquered the city, He changed its function to be mosque, but still keep Christian decoration inside the building. Now, The Government has changed it to be a museum

The Famous Hagia Sophia. The building that was a holy house for Christians in Byzantium Era. When Sultan Mehmet conquered the city, He changed its function to be mosque, but still keep Christian decoration inside the building. Now, The Government has changed it to be a museum.

I landed at Attaturk International Airport, still early in the morning. It was 7 am in the morning. Hence, the driver from the guest house where I stayed in was already there, waited for me, handing paper with my name written on it. He welcomed me warmly, took me to the car and drove straight to the guest house.

Entering the city, I started to amaze how beautiful you are. The sunrise just came up with its fascinating colors decorating the sky. Marmara sea was there with hundred birds flying over the sea. Mosque minarets which reminded me to shape of pencil enlivened the sky line of city. Oh, I think I am going to like this city, that was what I thought.

Istanbul Skyline

Istanbul in the morning

I did not just like you. But I fell  in love with you. There is no city in this world located in two continents an offering so much cultures and histories inside. I thought, I was agree when people called you ‘the magic city’. You have magic to attract people like me, made them fall in love for the first sight, and asked them to come back again and again.

After several days living in your city, I made the confession why I fell in love with you at the first sight. And these are the reasons.

Bosphorus

There is no city in this world having two continents all at once. By crossing Bosphorus Strait by ferry, I could go to Asia or Europe in less than 30 minutes only, or by car, less than 5 minutes by crossing Bosphorus bridge connecting the continents. I love when I just sit by the sea, watching the boats come and gone.

Bosphorus Strait with view of Maiden Tower

Bosphorus Strait with view of Maiden Tower

Bosphorus Strait

Bosphorus Strait

Fantastic Skyline

No matter where I was, I could always see beautiful minarets and birds flying around. The view was even more magnificent during sunset and sunrise

Istanbul Skyline

Istanbul Skyline

Museums and Beautiful Architecture

There are hundreds museum available in Istanbul, including two fantastic palaces, mosques, churches and many more. Some of them are free to visit. I still have many on the list to be visited. For Architecture lovers, there are hundreds or maybe thousands building that you can watch for ages.

Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmet Mosque. One of tourist attraction in Istanbul

Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmet Mosque. One of tourist attraction in Istanbul

Sultanahmet

It is the area where the old town is located. You could find many tourists attraction in this area. I could spend for hours, only for walking and gazing scenery around.  And, I never got bored doing it again and again.

Sultanahmet Area

Sultanahmet Area

Hippodrome which is located in Sultanahmet Area, not far from Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia

Hippodrome which is located in Sultanahmet Area, not far from Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia

Friendly People

Turkish people are extremely friendly, especially the merchants (you must be very careful if you’re not intended to buy something from them. You would not realize when they asked you to have chit chats, offering a glass of apple  tea and you’re ended buying some merchandise). When I was walking down the streets, I was used to get lost, and good people were there to show me the way.

Modern city, but it is still keeping its religious values

The city has good transportation. Metro and trams are available to bring you to the other part of city. Big shopping mall with branded goods are spread in the city. Bars, along with coffee house could be found easily. But, it also has many mosques every corner of the street, enabling me to pray easily when praying time has come. Most of population in Turkey are Muslim. However, many churches are also available in the city to accommodate your religious needs.

Suleymaniye Mosque. It was built by the famous architect, Mimar Sinan, by order from Sultan Suleyman or also known as Suleyman the Magnificent. It's also known as the biggest mosque in the city

Suleymaniye Mosque. It was built by the famous architect, Mimar Sinan, by order from Sultan Suleyman or also known as Suleyman the Magnificent. It’s also known as the biggest mosque in the city

The Turkish Delight

Special sweets from Turkey with delicious taste and beautiful colors. They are so cute 🙂

Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight

These are the reasons why I kept coming back to you. I never missed a chance to say “Hi”, anytime I had transit time in the city. That’s why I kept using my short break days to visit you, even only for some few days. That’s why I kept coming again and again, just to feel you again and again.

I hope you’re feeling the same as I do. If it is, I just really hope, one day, we can live together ever after.

Sincerely yours,

The one who loves you with all her heart,

Nurul

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