I become interested about Turkey because it is a country between Asia and Europe. Me and my friend visited Turkey last 2015. I have posted this article on my previous blog/site.
Here are the things we did and the sights we have seen in Istanbul:
Blue Mosque – also known as Sultan Ahmet Mosque. It is is called as Blue Mosque by tourist because of its blue marble tiles all over. Its not exactly deep blue but a shade of blue grey tiles.There is no entrance fees but you need to obey Mosque etiquette on what to wear. There are free scarves given to women to cover the head on the entrance and for men shorts are not allowed but I have seen tourist men wearing shorts inside. The interior design of the mosque is once in a lifetime masterpiece. The walls are made of thousands of handmade ceramic tiles and windows with stained glass designs. The chandeliers that gives grace to the inner beauty of the mosque is made of hard black iron wires with light yellow bulbs hanging from the dome of the mosque. It is everyday crowded with tourist. Its a very unique mosque. What intrigue me?, its the handmade ceramics tiles all over. A masterpiece.
Opposite the Blue Mosque, you will find this Hagia Sophia. There is a great story behind this extraordinary architecture. This is Hagia Sophia or Ayasofya Sultanahmet. This was an Othodox Cathedral/Basilica when first built, then later on become an Imperial Mosque when Istanbul (Constantinople) was taken by the Ottomans (Sunni Islams), and in later transformed into Museum when The Republic was founded. Entrance fee is 30 Turkish Lira. Its a massive building and alot of construction inside was going on for quiet some time. Chandeliers are hanging from the dome, there are paintings of Angels and Saints inside which is slowly fading, there are many Arabic display of paintings, hand written either a prayer, or a saying.There is a coronation area, a ritual purification area with a symbol of a big round marble, and library of the sultan. I was unaware of the wishing column.
Just a few meters from Hagia Sophia, you will reach this Basilica Cistern. This place become famous because this was the location of the James Bond movie From Russia with Love in 1963. The admission fee- 20 Turkish Lira.
Aside from the public image of this Basilica Cistern, one interesting things to see is the Medusa head. Only two columns are supported of this Medusa head. The place is alittle bit slippery, water dripping from above as this is one of the several cisterns in Istanbul.
Galata Bridge and its restaurants below is famous for its deep fried anchovies or mackerels for just 18 Turkish Lira. A place where you can take a good picture of the Suleymaniye Mosque and Yani Camii. you can walk from here to Karakoy area and Galata Tower.
A walk from Galata Bridge, you will come to Galata Tower or known as Tower of Christ. We did not try to go up. The queue was too long but if you have enough time, then you should try; its offers a panoramic view of Istanbul. we bought some retro postcards in the corner for just 1.50 Turkish Lira/ each.
Be prepared to bargain in Grand Bazaar. Everything you need, you want, you can find here. We bought some Turkish sweets, Turkish Olive & Rice soap, Turkish Plates and some give away key chains for friends. You need to have enough cash if you really want to buy mosaic lamps.
The well known Nostalgic Trams of Taksim which connects the Asian and European sides can be found in Taksim or Taksim Square. This area is famous for its bars, restaurants and hotels. Also, it is well known for its shopping street, Istiklal.
Behind Hagia Sophia, you’ll find Topkapi Palace. Its a compound and the admission fee is 30 Turkish Lira. This is famous for royal occasions and entertainments. You can buy the tickets on some vending machines. In the area you can find restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops and a photo studio where you can dress up like a Sultan princess for just 20 Turkish Lira or 50 photos with a CD copy for 100 Turkish Lira.
Boat tour, we took the full day tour for 25 Turkish Lira from 1pm till 5pm. There is a stop over in Anadulo Kavagi.
A view from one of the restaurant overlooking the Bosphorus Strait on our way to Anadulo Kavagi Fortress. We had lunch on our way back to the port. Again we ate deep fried anchovies, sauteed mussels and grilled sea bass (with rice, bread, wine). Yummy! mouthwatering..
Remains of Anadulo Fortress, its a 20minutes hike from the port. You can find alot of restaurants on your way to the fortress.
Leaving Sariyer Port.
A view of the bridge from the boat. Passing the area of Kanlica Port.
Galata Tower from Sulaymaniye Mosque
We stayed in this area, Sultanahmet. We made the best decision for staying in Sultan Hostel. Click here for more info about the hotel/hostel. Everything you need is here. Just 10minutes walk from the main sights and at night its very lively. of course I love having sheesha here, beer and food is very affordable.
After a long day of sight-seeing, you deserve to unwind, have some beers or wine, dance to the music and mingle with other travelers. This place is perfect. I love this area of all. Experience the European vibe here!
Haggle on some shirts, shorts or bags in this Karakoy night market. Try authentic Turkish foods as well.
The weather in Istanbul is absolutely pleasant all throughout the year. I really enjoyed our visit.