It was only a few years ago, in 2004 and 2005, very few tourists visited Istanbul. The European tourists began to visit in those years. The North Americans later followed. Istanbul was viewed as mysterious, unknown and even “dangerous.” This city, since 2012 though, is one of the most visited cities in the world. In 2012, it was the fifth most visited city by tourists. Lured by the history, the charm, the scenery, the architecture and the art, it is popular among tourists. However, after the protests in Gezi Park which began in June of 2013, Istanbul has slipped into sixth place as one of the most visited cities in the world.
“The numbers of foreign tourists to Istanbul have increased to 9.3 million last year, compared to 3 million in 2003. This has helped Istanbul to become one of the most visited cities in the world and this increase has foundations like accessibility, historic charm, modern infrastructure and facilities, young and dynamic population, economic state and political stability,” said Elif Balcı Fisunoğlu, General Manager of the Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau – ICVB.”
Istanbul’s popularity remains though with much to offer tourists in the way of art exhibitions, tourist attractions. Istanbul’s many tourist attractions include mosques, the Bosphorus, towering minarets, underground Byzantine cisterns and steamy bathhouses. Check out the top ten tourist attractions in Istanbul at the Guardian.
On September 10, 2010, the Princes’ Islands Museum opened. It is the first museum to open on Büyükada Island, telling the story of the Prince’s islands from their early formation to the architecture, the history, the writers, poets and artists on the Prince’s Islands. If you are visiting Istanbul and enjoying the culture and art of the city this year, you should not miss a visit to the Princes’ Islands (Adalar) in the Sea of Marmara and the Prince’s Island Museum that has just opened.
The Princes' Islands Museum has opened
Getting to the Princes’ Islands is easy by ferry. There are plenty of hotels and bed & breakfast inns on the Islands for you to stay in. You must reserve a hotel room in advance, especially in the summer because the hotel rooms fill up fast. Watch out for tourist traps in the shops and restaurants because some tourists have been ripped off.
The Museum of the Princes’ Islands is located in the Adalar Müzesi Hangar Müze Binası, Aya Nikola Mevkii, Büyükada which is an old helicopter hangar. Exhibits include video installations, tours of the exquisite wooden houses and gardens of the Island and historical documents and objects from the varied and diverse cultural and ethnic peoples who emigrated to the Islands.
The Princes’ Islands are themselves some 600 million years old and the Museum presents an interesting geological history of the Islands. The name the Princes’ Islands originates from the islands history as a destination for exiled princes during Byzantine times.
Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of urban Istanbul, you will find a jaunt over to the Princes’ Islands will offer an enjoyable outing in a tranquil setting. Something more to do in Istanbul 2010.