Middle EastIstanbul

İstanbul's strategic location has attracted many marauding armies over the centuries. The Greeks, Romans and Venetians took turns ruling before the Ottomans stormed into town and decided to stay – physical reminders of their various tenures are found across the city.
Living History

İstanbul’s strategic location has attracted many marauding armies over the centuries. The Greeks, Romans and Venetians took turns ruling before the Ottomans stormed into town and decided to stay – physical reminders of their various tenures are found across the city. The fact that the city straddles two continents wasn’t its only drawcard – it was the final stage on the legendary Silk Road linking Asia with Europe, and many merchants who came here liked it so much that they, too, decided to stay. In so doing, they gave the city a cultural diversity that it retains to this day.

Art & Architecture

The conquering armies of ancient times tended to ransack the city rather than endow it with artistic treasures, but all that changed with the Byzantines, who adorned their churches and palaces with mosaics and frescoes. Miraculously, many of these remain. Their successors, the Ottomans, were quick to launch an ambitious building program and the magnificently decorated imperial mosques that resulted are architectural triumphs that together form one of the world’s great skylines. In recent years, local banks and business dynasties have reprised the Ottomans’ grand ambitions and endowed an impressive array of galleries, museums and festivals for all to enjoy.

This magical meeting place of East and West has more top-drawer attractions than it has minarets (and that’s a lot).

Culinary Heritage

‘But what about the food?’ we hear you say. We’re happy to report that the city’s cuisine is as diverse as its heritage, and delicious to boot. Locals take their eating and drinking seriously – the restaurants here are the best in the country. You can eat aromatic Asian dishes or Italian classics if you so choose, but most visitors prefer to sample the succulent kebaps, flavoursome mezes and freshly caught fish that are the city’s signature dishes, washing them down with the national drink, rakı (aniseed brandy), or a glass or two of locally produced wine.

Local Life

Some ancient cities are the sum of their monuments, but İstanbul factors a lot more into the equation. Chief among its manifold attractions are the locals, who have an infectious love of life and generosity of spirit. This vibrant, inclusive and expanding community is full of people who work and party hard, treasure family and friendships, and have no problem melding tradition and modernity in their everyday lives. Joining them in their favourite haunts – çay bahçesis (tea gardens), kahvehans (coffeehouses), meyhanes (Turkish taverns) and kebapçıs (kebap restaurants) – will be a highlight of your visit.

Area:
1,539 km²
Elevation:
40 m
Population:
15.03 million
Mayor:
Kadir Topbaş
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Testimonials

What our Travelers are saying

Elisa M
Elisa M
2024-04-06
Verified
Great Tour Company me and my girl friend went on 7days safari with Awe Safari, to Tarangire, Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti national park, Ray and his Company (Awe Safari) was wonderful and he was also funny Guide and knowledgeable, we had a great time and enjoyable trip, we saw all the animals that we expected to see, Ray went out of his way to make sure that everything is clear and well done, we'll go back again for wildebeest to Zebras Migration in Serengeti national park, I highly recommend this great company for both Kilimanjaro trekking and wildlife Safari, cheers and see you again
Cecilia C
Cecilia C
2024-04-02
Verified
Excellent Safari with Raymond! We went on a safari with Raymond and had a truly amazing time! Raymon was so kind, funny, and knowledgeable. We learned so much and saw so many animals - all of the big 5 while with him! We always felt safe and had a wonderful time. We still think so fondly of our time with Raymond!! Thank you!
Gregg Yan
Gregg Yan
2024-04-01
Verified
Excellent Value for Money Ray Shirima knows where the animals are. He'll get you to them safely. His tours are A-Grade and well worth your time and treasure.
Linda G
Linda G
2023-08-25
Verified
Ray is an amazing guide! Me, my boyfriend and some friends went on a 4-days safari trip. It was one of the best days in my life! The owner Ray is an amazing guide. I highly recommend this company! /Linda from Sweden
VIRGINIA O
VIRGINIA O
2023-02-12
Verified
A fabulous Safari! We went on a 6 day safari with Ray in Jan 2023. Ray is a very friendly young man with a great sense of humour. He is an experienced and knowledgeable guide with a keen eye for spotting elusive wildlife; he is a skilllful driver. He made every effort to make sure we were comfortable and had plenty of time to view and take pictures of the animals. He was accompanied by a chef, Victor, who prepared delicious Tanzanian meals, including a hot lunch. We certainly recommend Ray and Awe Safaris. Virginia O'Brien and Bob Audet
Ivan R
Ivan R
2022-03-15
Verified
Almost there... Almost there... words, words I will never forget. Kili was my dream and after those words, I overcame it with the help of AWE Safari. it was hard and at the same time mental rest from the worries of everyday life. For the rest of my life I will remember that experience and thank Peter, Ino, Majka and of course Ray for organizing and finishing my dream to the end.
kitty_knows
kitty_knows
2021-08-14
Verified
Inside knowledge pays off when you travel this far We did the 5-day camping tour including Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro. It took us ages to find the operator we wanted to go with. Firstly, because this kind of activity is expensive in Tanzania (the National Parks take a huge chunk of money), secondly because there are so many fake and frankly strange reviews that give little info and, thirdly because the Covid pandemic meant a wildly reduced offering. It is very difficult to imagine what you will really experience on a safari when you have never done one before and all the offers look similar. A lot of operators don’t have proper websites, which is a worry when you try to book. Here is what we luckily found out: Unless you have very specific needs regarding accommodation, tent and foods, the experience of the guide makes the difference between amazing experience, value for money and “ok”. With Ray we had a once-in-lifetime!!! And I will come back to Tansania to have a safari with him again, and I will continue to recommend him to friends and colleagues. The trick on a safari is to know where to go and when to have the best chance of seeing an animal before all the other guides find it. Inevitably, most of the cars in each park will converge on a spot. But if you have a guide like Ray you will have five or ten minutes to yourself before that happens. And this is what sets apart an experienced guide from a novice. The novice (or perhaps the lazy guides) can follow the other cars and their clients will end up seeing the same animals. But no money in the world can weigh up observing a heard of elephants or a mother lioness with her cubs in total calm with nobody else around. No chatter, no screaming children, no posing for pictures just watching. I must stress that this is also dependent on luck. And you will need a lot of it. You never know what you see on any given day. We saw absolutely everything Serengeti had to give. It was just nice. To close my review I will say that a good guide is kind to his clients, kind to all the other workers and kind to the animals. Ray is all of this. So big thumbs up. And hope to be back in Tansania soon!!!
Lone Asif
Lone Asif
2020-12-11
Verified
Lifetime experience We had an amazing trip with Raymond Ray is a wonderful guy he knows everything .Everything was good like Car ' food ' camp ' and also price was affordable Ray is good speaking guide and also very helpful We had a great time with him .Ray is a very knowledgeable about the animals and environment and very good finding the animals .. You don't need to search more just do it with Raymond , you won't regret I highly recommend Raymond for everyone Will sure come again Best regards Lone Asif
Aytekin Bal
Aytekin Bal
2020-11-25
Verified
Raymond is the right one... We had a great experience with Raymond. He is more than a guide… You become like friends in short time.. You dont need to search more. Just do it with Raymond, you won't regret...
Peoscar
Peoscar
2020-11-21
Verified
Highly recommended Back in November of 2017 me, my wife and a friend couple was in Tanzania and had the pleasure of meeting Ray. He was our tour guide through a 4 day safari that can only be described as amazing! I'm really thrilled to hear that he has opened his own company!!! I would recommend his services to anyone. Top of the line; both in terms of professionalism and friendliness!