Exploring Istanbul’s Unique Blend of Cultures

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Exploring Istanbul’s Unique Blend of Cultures

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Exploring Istanbul for Unique Blend of Cultures

Throughout Turkey, a fascinating blend of Eastern and Western influences is evident, shaping the cultural landscape of Istanbul and the nation as a whole. Despite not being entirely Westernized or adhering strictly to Eastern traditions, Istanbul embodies a unique fusion of both worlds.

Warm Welcomes and Genuine Hospitality

One undeniable aspect when exploring Istanbul for its charm is the genuine warmth and hospitality extended to visitors. Whether it’s flashing a friendly smile at the sight of a camera or engaging in conversation to learn more about your background, the people of Istanbul exemplify a welcoming spirit that transcends cultural boundaries. From offering assistance to sharing local insights, their eagerness to connect creates memorable experiences for all who traverse this vibrant city. Almost every shop has someone drinking tea before it, and offering you tea makes them happy. Afterwards, they want to find a common ground with you and continue the conversation on that topic.

Exploring Istanbul Amid Economic Challenges

However, Turkey has a significant inflation problem, and the price of products increases by more than 100% yearly, doubling or tripling. A salary increase is a well below inflation. The current minimum wage in Turkey is equivalent to $400, making it one of the lowest minimum wages in the world. Since salaries in Turkey are rarely above inflation, purchasing power never increases and constantly decreases. For example, in good neighborhoods and districts in Istanbul, rents easily exceed 20,000 Turkish liras, which is over $700. And since half, the population works for the minimum wage. People in this city mostly struggle to make ends meet however that is not shown on their warm and friendly faces.

Embracing the Unpredictable Joys of Daily Life

The local population lives life unplanned and day by day. In Turkey, people can eat something while driving or honk their horns at the slightest thing in traffic. Vehicle owners can park on the road as they please. There’s also an unusual situation related to taxi drivers in Istanbul that you don’t often see in other countries. When you call a taxi from a stand and it arrives, the taxi meter is already running. You might find this normal perhaps. However, this is not the case in most parts of the world.

Timeless Traditions and Cultural Significance

We mentioned there are many shops when exploring Istanbul. If you are a foreigner in this country, you often see a date on the signs of the shops. For example, since 1977, for Turks, this is a matter of prestige. The further back the establishment date goes, the more respectable and reputable the business is considered in Turkey. Thus, when people enter shops with an old establishment date, they expect to receive better quality service.

Moreover, in Istanbul, you often find that historical structures like madrasas and mosques are named after individuals. This used to be a matter of prestige. For instance, in Istanbul’s Fati District, there is the Kaffir Agamadrasa. In the Ottoman era, wealthy individuals couldn’t find many options to spend their money on compared to today. You must understand that back then, you couldn’t buy things like the latest model car with your money. People used to spend their wealth on constructing things like madrasas mosques and fountains and name them after themselves. Therefore, it’s not surprising that each historical structure is associated with a name in Istanbul.

Seamless Connectivity and Boundless Opportunities

Istanbul, being an intensely crowded city, has substantial investments in transportation. Someone wanting to come to Istanbul from another city or country has a significant opportunity, such as Istanbul Airport, hosting around 65 million passengers annually. In fact, it’s one of the world’s five largest airports in terms of passenger traffic, with the busiest being the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the United States, which hosted 93.7 million passengers in 2023.

Additionally, Istanbul has another major airport called Sabihagokun Airport. At this point, you need to decide in which part of the city you want to land. For instance, Istanbul Airport is located in the northern part of the European side of the city. Sabihagokun, on the other hand, is situated on the Asian side of Istanbul.

However, if you want to move from the European side to the Asian side of Istanbul, you have an excellent transportation network and your disposal, such as Marmeray. Thanks to Marmeray, people can make an underwater metro journey from the European side to the Asian side and reach their destination within minutes.