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Istanbul

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Rumelifeneri Mahallesi, Kale Cd. No:24, 34450 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Turkey
Much like her sister Anadolu Feneri, Rumeli Feneri is the lighthouse on the European side of Istanbul where the Black Sea meets the Bosphorus. Rumeli Feneri is quite lively in the summer and should be explored with beach towel in tow. People...
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Anadolufeneri Mahallesi, Türbe Sk. No:11, 34829 Beykoz/İstanbul, Turkey
Anadolu Feneri is the lighthouse on the Asian side of Istanbul where the Black Sea flows into the Bosphorus. The town is ideal during summers for a swim with the locals, tea in the main tea garden at the center of town, or fresh fish at one of the...
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Büyükada, 34970 Prince Islands/Istanbul, Turkey
As soon as the ferry pushes away from Kabataş ferry terminal on Istanbul's European side, you can feel the frenetic pace of the city slipping away. Sipping a coffee on the ship's bow, the beautiful scenery and azure Bosphorus waters enchant as the...
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(( Kizil Adalar )), Turkey
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....
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Silivri, Istanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali The mosque here was built for an admiral who, they say, demanded that the architect Sinan build him ‘something like that,’ as he pointed across to the Aya Sofia. The complex also includes a newly renovated hammam where I take...
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The Bosphorus, separating Europe and Asia, was and still is one of the most important maritime routes in the world. Straddled by the city of Constantinople—or Istanbul, as it is known today—the Bosphorus Straits lies between the Sea of Marmara and...
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Reşitpaşa Mahallesi, Emirgan Sk., 34467 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Turkey
In April, the cold grey days of winter make way for the bright colours of spring when over 11 million tulips blossom in the parks and streets of Istanbul. Istanbul’s Tulip Festival, hosted annually by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality,...
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Kanlıca Mahallesi, Çubuklu Cad. Ahmet Rasim Paşa Yalısı No:27, 34810 Beykoz/İstanbul, Turkey
The A'Jia is a boutique hotel (and veritable oasis) on the Asian side of Istanbul, set in a traditional Ottoman mansion directly on the shores of the Bosporus. My husband and I were welcomed into our waterfront suite with chocolate dipped...
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Bebek Mh., 34342 Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey
I have long suspected that I'm absolutely useless when it comes to DSLR camera. It died on me, anyway, one fine September morning by the shore of Bebek in Istanbul. This was taken with my aging Bold 3 camera phone. "Bebek" means "baby" in Turkish....
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Kartal/Istanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali A multipurpose contemporary art center that opened in November in the Ottoman Bank building, Salt has a library with thousands of shelves of art publications—the most important, impressive collection in the city.Bankalar Cd. No....
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Rumeli Hisarı, Yahya Kemal Cd., 34470 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Turkey
Most visitors to Istanbul probably don’t realize that there is a fortress there. Located on the western shore of the Bosphorus (just south of Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge) is a fortress that dates back to pre-Ottoman rule. Rumeli Hisarı (“roo-mel-li...
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Dervişali Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:8, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The Kariye Museum is a very small former mosque located on the western edges of Istanbul. It is worth a track to see the details of the gilded mosaics and frescos. The beauty of the small space leaves you wondering how spectacular Hagia Sophia...
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Tomtom Mahallesi, Tosbağa Sk., 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Ara Kafe offers delicious food, and it's filled with oversized prints by the master, plus a case full of his books. One of the inexplicable joys and surprises of a recent trip to Istanbul was the privilege of touring Ara Güler's private gallery. I...
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Tomtom Mahallesi, Ara Güler Sk No:2, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Cafe Ara was a perfect stop on a rainy chilly day in the Taksim/Beyoglu part of Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey. The cafe is named after a magnificent Turkish photographer who worked in Istanbul and whose large format black and white images adorn the...
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Firuzağa Mahallesi, Bostanbaşı Cd. No:19, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The Çukurcuma neighborhood, just a short walk down the hill from Istanbul’s busy İstiklal Avenue, is an antique, vintage, and retro lover’s delight. Step onto Faik Paşa Street or Turnacıbaşı Street and you step back in time....
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Binbirdirek Mh., 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Antique textile specialist Elizabeth Hewitt designs fabrics inspired by her extensive global travels. At her four-floor shop you’ll discover bedding and pillows, plus 19th-century Russian plates and other antiques. This appeared in the October...
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Sinanpaşa Mahallesi, Köyiçi Meydanı Sk., 34353 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
One of my favorite foods in Turkey (and there are many) is a serving of fresh kaymak clotted cream, drizzled with honey, and spread on bread. You can buy it in the supermarket or find it in some breakfast spots, but everyone's favorite is Pando in...
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Şahkulu Mahallesi, Galip Dede Cd. No:75, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The Sema ceremony at the Galata Mevlevihanesi in Istanbul can be described in three words: hypnotic, tranquil, solemn. It was a beautiful experience.
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Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi, Karaali Kaptan Sk. No:7, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
In Istanbul's Karaköy neighborhood near the Galata Bridge and docks of the Golden Horn, hipster cafés and art galleries are beginning to outnumber the neighborhood's long-standing industrial shops and hidden churches. Karabatak, named for the...
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Emniyetevleri Mah. Eski Büyükdere Cad., Emniyetevleri Mahallesi, Yamaç Sk. No: 7, 34415 Kağıthane/İstanbul, Turkey
The allure of smoking nargile, also known as hookah and shisha, is insurmountable in the Middle East. In Istanbul, the most authentic place to try it is Corlulu Ali Pasa Medresesi. The 300-year-old Medrese has evolved from a religious school and...
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Istanbul, Turkey
As I mentioned in another recent post, my favorite souvenirs are items that carry significance in the local culture. In Turkey, that could only mean the ubiquitous nazar or evil eye bead (Turkish: nazar boncuğu). It’s meant to protect against the...
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Sultanahmet Mh., Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Kabasakal Cad Arasta Çarşısı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The very chill owner of Arasta 79 has one of the best shops in Istanbul. Ikat scarves, knotted silk jewelry strung with chunky jewels, delicate crochet strings of flowers, pestemals in every weave and color, bright Suzani and Uzbeki ceramics. If...
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I had just left the Spice Bazaar behind me when I noticed the entrance to Yeni Camii (New Mosque). It was late afternoon, and I was already exhausted from a very long day of sightseeing. I wanted nothing more than to call it a day but I was...