One morning outside Sultanahmet I saw what I believe to be a suffi. He looked somewhat like a Turkish version of Santa Claus (which was odd because it was late December), but I don't really know what else he would be with that beard.
Hamam How to Guide: Rubba-dub-dub, It’s Time for a Scrub
When visiting Turkey, one experience is not to be missed: the Turkish Bath (hammam). Here's a guide to enjoying one of the best tourist attractions in Turkey. 1) Most hammams have separate male and female baths, while others are unisex. Find a hammam that will suit you. 2) Hammams can be over 600 years old, with bathing methods just as old. Don't expect modern staff uniforms—underwear or towels are it. 3) Hammams were once where business deals were made and mothers sought wives for their sons by checking out the goods of local girls. Bathing is therefore for all ages, shapes, and sizes. Leave body hang-ups at the door. 4) Bring a hairbrush and anything else you use after bathing. Hair dryers are available. 5) On arrival, you will be given a locker, scrubbing glove, and towel. 6) Wear what is comfortable for you under your towel—bathers, underwear, or nudity is acceptable. 7) Enter the hammam wrapped in a towel, and wear slippers provided to avoid slipping in the wet. 8) Be prepared, the hammam is warm, so before lying on the dais, drink water to hydrate and pour water on yourself. 9) Take your time. Lie on the dais for 10 to 20 minutes. An attendant will gesture you for your scrub, but it's OK to tell them to wait if you want to relax longer. 10) The hammam includes a 10-minute scrub with splashings of water, followed by a lathering of soap and massage for about 10 minutes—finishing with a wash-down. You can exit the hammam sparkling clean and radiant in your own time.
By Leeann Murphy, AFAR Local Expert
Cat Napping on Carpets
My eyes were first drawn to the colorful carpets, bags, and pillow covers of this outdoor shop near the Aya Sofya in Istanbul. The vibrant reds, the pale pinks, the earthy browns. Some rough, some soft. Then, I noticed the cat sleeping on a stack of small carpets. I got closer. Her eyes opened just enough to check me out and to say "leave me alone, cant you see I'm napping?" I took this one image. I think it is probably my favorite image from Istanbul. And it's a reminder to stop and look at the small things while you are traveling. It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the big sites. But, often it is the everyday moments that we remember the most.
By Lynne Nieman
There is a section behind the Blue Mosque of restored old wooden houses and some very traditional, excellent restaurants, making bread the old fashioned way.
Sultanahmet looked magical at night after iftar during Ramadan. The hanging lights across the camii made the air filled with Ramadan spirit.
Iftar Outside Sultanahmet
Turkey has a special spirit that only comes alive during Ramadan. After sunrise Istanbul comes alive. The fountain park between Ayasofia (haga Sophia) and Sultanahmet (the blue mosque) comes alive after sunset, countless families sitting down picnic style to enjoy their iftars. The environment is warm and friendly. And the fresh watermelon sold illegally by street vendors is fresh and juicy.
Silhouette of Blue Mosque
It was getting dark and cloudy when i arrived at Sultanamet and it was difficult to get a good shot of the blue mosque. Just when the sun set behind the mosque, i captured the beautiful silhouette.
By Chris Tan
Istanbul's Must-See Mosques
Suleymaniye and the Hagia Sophia are among the most specatcular of Istanbul's greater than 3,000 mosques. They are within walking distance of one another in Sultanahmet. Turkey Trip Report: http://bit.ly/ONKIN7
By esme travels
The Surrey with the Fringe on Top!
If you're visiting Istanbul and find yourself in need of a break from all the shopping, bargaining, cafes, bazars, mosques, and museums, why not get off your feet for awhile by taking a ferry out to the nine Princes Islands in the Sea of Marmara. The largest of the nine is known as Büyükada, the "Big Island." You can catch a ferry on the European side at Katabas to Büyükada easily. Make sure you take a ferry time schedule with you. My friend and I bought our return ticket right away when we arrived at Büyükada. It takes about an hour plus there and back, unless you're lucky enough to catch an express as there are passenger stop offs along the way. Take some bread with you as well for the seagulls that follow the ferries. Once there you can either rent a bike as there are numerous bicycle shops with hourly prices or you can hire a phaeton horse carriage and take tours of varying times and prices to see all that this charming island has to offer. One of the notable sites is the Church of St. George. Be prepared for a steep hike at the end of which you'll be rewarded with a magnificent panoramic view.
On the boat to Prince's Islands, the seagulls were soaring! They flew close to the boat and it felt like they were rejoicing in flight.
Hobyar Mahallesi, Ankara Cad Evren Çarşısı No:17 D:44, 34110 Sirkeci/Fatih/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Sun - Sat 8am - 8pm