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Multi-faceted Istanbul spans the bridge between Europe and Asia

How should one sum up a city of such architectural beauty, with a compelling (and complicated) history, thriving culture, varying neighbourhoods and buzzing lifestyle? Istanbul has been influenced by Europe and Asia, partly due to its strategic location on the Silk Road. This advantageous position made it one of the most important cities in history. Divided by the narrow waterway known as the Bosphorus, Istanbul connects both continents, embracing its mixture of European and Asian cultures. Visiting Istanbul, you will sense the contrasts with each turn.

A few words cannot do justice to a city as fascinating, breathtaking and dazzling as Istanbul, which is coincidentally the best reason for going there to form your own impression. Six NephroCare clinics in the Istanbul area make it easy for you to get into the spirit of this amazing, quickly developing and ever changing metropolis without missing your dialysis treatments.

Activities & Sights

Istanbul architecture stirs up the soul

The three absolute highlights and must-see sights in Istanbul are within walking distance in Sultanahmet, Istanbul's Old City. The city's major historical attractions are located in or around Sultanahmet Square, where the Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque form the famous vis-à-vis of cupolas. Constructed as the Hagia Sophia Church, which translates as Church of Holy Wisdom, and turned into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest, the cherished Istanbul landmark is now a museum. Its fascinating architecture has deeply affected humans since its inauguration in 527. According to legend, the ambitious Byzantine Emperor Justinian cried out: “Oh Solomon, I have outdone you!” Until then, Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem had been considered the world’s greatest architectural miracle. The Aya Sofya’s history continued to be complex and multi-layered. The splendid edifice is worth a visit in depth both from the outside and the interior.

The construction of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque proved to be equally ambitious. Commonly known as the Blue Mosque today, it caused an outcry throughout the Muslim world when it was finished in 1616. With six minarets, it equalled the number of the Great Mosque of Mecca. By the way, this is why a seventh minaret was eventually gifted to Mecca to pour oil on troubled waters. The interior is decorated with tens of thousands of Iznik tiles that gave the mosque its nickname.

The Topkapi Palace's glorious complex is another architectural highlight and dazzling display of Islamic art you should not miss. It served as principal residence to generations of sultans for almost half a century. The opulent courtyards are lined with intricate hand-painted tile-work, leading you to breathtaking views of the Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and Golden Horn if you walk all the way till the end. One of the palace’s many attractions is the Harem where the sultan's many concubines and children spent their days.

Istanbul is not only fascinating above ground. One of the city's most surprising tourist attractions is the Basilica Cistern. This vast, palace-like underground hall, supported by 336 columns in 12 rows, once stored the Byzantine emperors' imperial water supply. Gliding through the water system with its dimmed light and classical music to the background sound of dripping water in a boat is an incredibly impressive experience.

Istanbul highlights benefiting body and mind

A relaxing opportunity to enjoy all this beauty from a distance is a Bosphorus cruise. In addition to the imposing overview of the city, both the European and Asian shores of the famous waterway have a lot to offer.

Shopping and bargaining at the Grand Bazaar represent adventures of its own. Over 500 years old, it is still one of the largest covered bazaars in the world and very famous for its carpets, leather, ceramics, souvenirs and jewelry. Locals shop here every day. It is huge, so try to remember where you entered before wandering around.

To get away from the buzzing city and process the many different impressions of this colourful city, take a stroll through Gülhane Park. Located next to the Topkapı Palace on the tip of Istanbul's historic peninsula, it is like a sanctuary in the crowded old city and one of Istanbul's biggest and most beautiful parks. In the springtime, thousands of tulips bloom in the garden, creating a unique spectacle.


Even though Istanbul isn’t Turkey’s capital, it is the country’s largest metropolis. You will find the typical broad range of accommodations of all standards and all budgets – luxury, mid-range and budget hotels, boutique hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfasts and holiday apartments. If you plan to see Istanbul's top tourist attractions, the easiest place to base yourself isSultanahmet. Many hotels in the area have stellar views of the sights described above and out to the Bosphorus from their rooftop terraces. The six NephroCare clinics are located across the municipality outside the city centre. Four centres are situated in the European part of the city, the other two are on the Asian side.

Culinary & Culture

A wide range of (Turkish) delights for your ears and palate

The whirling dervishes are a well-known phenomenon in Turley. When in Istanbul, profit from the opportunity to go to one of their shows. Members of the Mevlevi Order of Sufi, adherents of Sufism, practice this form of physically active meditation. The dervishes spin themselves into a trance-like state that brings them closer to God. It is a unique religious ceremony entrancing its participants as well as their witnesses. If that sounds interesting, you might want to enquire after tickets early on, as seats are often sold out.

An earthlier enjoyment of art is a live-jazz performance at Nardis. This popular jazz bar features live jazz music from local and international acts practically every night and attracts not only jazz enthusiasts. If you are more into opera or ballet, the Süreyya Opera House is the place to go. It not only offers excellent productions, but it is also a beautiful building gracing the Asian side of Istanbul. If the country-specific music is more to your liking, you will be able to find demonstrations here. The music scene in Istanbul is varied, comprehensive and exciting. It ranges from classical music and jazz to Turkish pop and Fasil. This music style developed from the former Ottoman court music.

Istanbul’s gastronomy scene is wide and varied, too. Of course, there is Shish Kebab, the straightforward, tasty Turkish classic that you’ll find on the menu at most restaurants. Chicken, beef or lamb is grilled and served on a skewer alongside rice, salad and fries. İskender Kebab is a delicious variant popular in the Northwest. Thinly sliced lamb with warm tomato sauce and topped off with yogurt and butter is served on traditional bread. Do not leave Istanbul without giving it a try!

Before you start a meal in Turkey, you’ll probably be served Mezze with drinks. They often consist of yogurt with herbs, hummus, rice-stuffed vine leaves (dolmas), meatballs (kofte), eggplant salad, white cheese and delicious warm pide. The traditional bread is usually filled with meat.

Turkish tea is prepared in a rather unique way using a teapot that has two level: one to boil the water, and the other to brew the tea. You then pour the tea into the glass and dilute it with the hot water so that it’s made to your taste. It will be a memorable experience to drink the tea out of a tulip-shaped glass. It will be offered to you on many occasions due to the famous Turkish hospitality.


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