“EITHER I CONQUER ISTANBUL OR ISTANBUL CONQUERS ME.”
– Mehmet II, the conquerer of Constantinople
If you’ve already been here then you will understand what Fatih Sultan Mehmet II was saying. If you haven’t, then I hope that this convinces you to come visit. Istanbul, more than most places in the world, is guaranteed to leave an imprint on your heart. From the historical landmarks, to the modern squares, to the people that live here, Istanbul has something for everybody. Upon witnessing the silhouette of this magnificent city for the first time, especially if your a Westerner, your blood will rush a little faster as you stand in awe of the sheer grandeur and mysteriousness of it all. It’s as if there were a man meticulously and artfully placing every cloud in the sky. The city is too precious, too mysterious, too beautiful to turn away from. It makes your dreams bigger. The allure of opportunity more powerful. The possibility of failure more real; more exciting. It’s as if it is challenging you. And that challenge overwhelms you. The desire to know more, the desire to become a part of the city, the desire to rule the city.
Part of it is discovery. There is a certain joy, I think, that all humans experience when they explore something different and, in so doing, find something new. It doesn’t need to be something new for humanity, just something new for themselves. And Istanbul, upon first glance, holds so much to be discovered. The other day we took the bike out and went deep into the streets behind our apartment. What we found were exclusive neighbourhoods, incredible views, pristine parks, pretty girls and hidden alleyways that seemed to be caught in a time capsule. If that alone took nearly 7 hours, I can’t imagine how much of Istanbul I have yet to see. Part of it is mystery. Constantinople. Istanbul. Why? Part of it is history. So many prominent human beings have wanted a piece of it. It has been home to 3 of the world’s greatest empires. And part of it is just unexplainable.
Muhammad never even saw the city, yet he understood it. Constantine got it – that’s why he did his utmost to make it the new Rome. Nearly 200 years ago the mother of the queen of Egypt thought that Constantinople and the Bosphorus was so beautiful that the Sultan built for her a single tower so that she could die overlooking that which she considered most lovely in the world. And there have been thousands more like them.
I can’t say it is a feeling that is reciprocated, but I am in love with this city. I was in love with it from the beginning. I was captivated, entranced and enchanted. We invite you to come experience those same feelings for yourself. Your stay here, and in particular our tour, will make an impression on your life! =)