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Istanbul

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Istanbul, Turkey
My roommates and I got really sick of people trying to constantly trying to convince us to go on overpriced tours while living and traveling in Turkiye. At the time we were students, and like most students, we didn't have a lot of money to spend,...
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Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Yeni Cami Cd. No:3, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Visiting a mosque, to me, is always the strongest display of one's faith. I'm not Muslim, but every time I see the devout take some quiet time and create their own Oasis, I feel compelled to pause and contemplate.
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Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
If these palace walls could talk they’d recite plans for military campaigns and tales of love, lust and betrayal that make this former residence and imperial seat of the Ottoman Empire so intriguing. Walk the tile-and-mosaic-lined corridors...
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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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İstiklal Cd., Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The great shopping street of more modern Istanbul, Istiklal Caddesi, is across the Bosphorus from the old Sultanahmet. It's packed with lovely sidestreets and shops.
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Hobyar Mahallesi, Ankara Cad Evren Çarşısı No:17 D:44, 34110 Sirkeci/Fatih/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
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.
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Esenyurt/Istanbul, Turkey
My Turkish friend Erem introduced me to these highly addictive "wet burgers" the minute I got to my hotel near Taksim Square. After a 17-hour flight, the compact burger—a garlicky patty inside a soft bun that's been doused in tomato sauce—...
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Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Walk into Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) and look up to the heavens to see why so many conquerors and their respective religions claimed this basilica turned mosque turned museum as their own. Visitors will swoon over the Byzantine gilded mosaics,...
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Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The Basilica Cistern is a must-see on any Istanbul itinerary. If you take a tour of the city, you may see major mosques, houses, and churches, but this is a truly unique experience. It is located right across the street from the entrance to Aya...
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Beyazıt Mh., 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Soon after conquering Constantinople and defeating the Byzantines in 1453, Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II commissioned the beginnings of the Grand Bazaar to reinvigorate trade with the city. More than 550 years later, the bazaar is one of the oldest...
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Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Adorned with more than 20,000 blue handcrafted İznik tiles, stained-glass windows, and the golden brushstrokes of a 17th-century calligrapher, the Blue Mosque is the legacy of Sultan Ahmet I (1590–1617). The young sultan audaciously wished...
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Sultan Ahmet Parkı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
When the sun finally dips behind the minaret skyline and the moon starts to rise, Sultanahmet Park—between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia—brightens up with a colourful lighting display. In summer enjoy the show by savoring a creamy Turkish ice...
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Cankurtaran Mh., Mimar Mehmet Ağa Cd., 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Savvy to the hippodrome, We Greek in Turkey As we roam. A place to drive the camels and the horses Dromedary dallying as we ruminate on Rumi And the tallying of cultures that can accrue In a region’s history. Races to pass the time Different...
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Ragıp Gümüşpala Cd. Eminönü Otobüs durakları yolu karşısı, Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Rather than take the suggestion of our guidebook (and spend 6 hours floating on the Bosporus only to navigate our way back to the dock of origin with a little trickery), we headed to the west of the Galata docks in Eminonu and bought a ticket for...
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Cankurtaran Mh., Ayasofya Meydanı No:2, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The sun sets over Istanbul as I am coated head to toe with aromatic clay and served fresh fruit sprinkled with pistachios under the heavenly dome of a 457 year old hamam. Tenderly, my attendant washes me before lathering my body with olive oil...
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Yıldız Mh., 34349 Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey
A nice location in Istanbul is Otakoy-stroll the local neighborhood and enjoy a mint tea and sheesha on the waterfront. Local fisherman bring in their catch and even toss the cats hanging around a few treats. In the evening, young couples walking...
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Mahallesi, Simitçi Şakir Sk. No:16, 34080 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Are you a coffee lover or foodie searching for a unique Turkish culinary experience? Then after a satisfying meal in Turkey ask your waiter if they serve "menengiç" coffee from South Eastern Turkey. Menengiç is a pistachio-flavored caffeine-free...
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Rıhtım Cad. Katlı Otopark Altı No: 3-4 Karaköy, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
While in Turkey I enjoyed traditional desserts like baklava, but I learned to eat them in an nontraditional way. Did you know there was baklava etiquette in Istanbul? My friend Fatih took me to Karaköy Güllüoğlu, the famous baklava sweet shop in...
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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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Caferağa Mahallesi, Moda Cd. No:166, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
A cross between baklava and a croissant, katmer is a sweet, airy, pistachio-drenched Turkish breakfast pastry guaranteed to give you a sugar high that will last the whole day. Made from sheets of thin phyllo dough, kaymak (clotted cream), sugar,...
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When Captain Ressa moved Oceania Cruise Lines' new Marina cruise ship from the pier in Istanbul, he could not have had better timing. As she swung about to slip by the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Topkapi Palace, an intense vivid red sunset...
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Istanbul, Turkey
During my (far too short) time in Turkey I frequently saw vendors selling fresh-squeezed pomegranate and orange juice. I sampled my fair share as well and enjoyed every last sip.
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Gümüşsuyu Mahallesi, Sıraselviler Cad. No:7, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Up and down the main street in Taksim Square, vendors sell hot chestnuts from carts. They're cheap, delicious, and keep you warm on those cold February nights in Turkey.
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Teşvikiye, Vali Konağı Cd. No:40, 34365 Şişli/İstanbul, Turkey
If you’re keen to experience the medieval practice of "kahve falı" or "fal" (fortune telling with Turkish coffee) then make an appointment at Symbol Café in Nişantaşı with Tunc, one of the few English-speaking coffee readers in the city. Once...
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High above the side streets of Taksim, on the rooftop of an old building, Araf Bar streams out world music and Balkan beats with live performances and DJs every night of the week. If you're used to dancing to 4/4 beats of western music, then you...
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Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, Şehbender Sok. No:3, Ivy Masjid Quarter, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The alleyways off Istiklal Street in Beyoğlu host some of the best Turkish and international live music acts and DJs. In the neighborhood of Asmalımescit near Tünel, you’ll find Babylon, a popular club with a capacity for 450 people and pumping...
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Akbıyık Cd., 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
The cobblestone Akbıyık Caddesi (Road) is one of the few places to head to for a nightcap in Sultanahmet. The street is lined with cafes and bars sporting comfy Turkish divans (cushion lounges) and chilled-out tunes. Enthusiastic staff will...
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Hüseyinağa Mahallesi, Kamer Hatun Cd. No:10, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Ghetto is one of Istanbul’s leading live music venues supporting local and international acts in a funky, elongated, neon-lit hall. Lineups include funk, world music beats, jazz, nujazz, or indieGroove. Hang out on the dancefloor by the stage on...
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Otto Asmalı is a small bar tucked away in the Asmalımescit alleyways off Istiklal Street. It’s a groovy little place to chill out and snack on Italian and Turkish-style snacks and mains, or enjoy a beer, cocktail, or wine—all generously poured....
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Mecidiye Mahallesi, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sk. 1-7, 34347 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
Reina, with its sublime ambience, elegant style, and idyllic setting, is the place to go to kick up some classy heels right on the Bosporus. Dress to impress, and come dine on a selection of international dishes at one of the four restaurants—...
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Ortaköy Mh., Salhane Sok. No:5, 34347 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
Ortakoy is the premier entertainment precinct to head to if you’re looking for the uber chic that oozes from the well-stocked bars and pumping dance floors. Anjelique, right on the Bosporus by the first bridge, is one such swanky club that gets...
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Salacak Mahallesi, Üsküdar Salacak Mevkii, 34668 Üsküdar/İstanbul, Turkey
The Maiden’s Tower, which seemingly floats in the Bosphorus off Asia, is one of the more popular symbols of the city. Once a Byzantine tollbooth and later an Ottoman lighthouse, it’s most famous for a legend involving a princess and a prophecy...
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Nejat Eczacıbaşı Binası, Evliya Çelebi Mahallesi, Sadi Konuralp Caddesi No: 5 Şişhane, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Istanbul's premier music promoters have another trick up their sleeve: a top-floor wine-and-dine hangout overlooking the Golden Horn. The Istanbul Foundation for Arts and Cultures (IKSV) serves a mix of rock, jazz, super-trendy cocktails and...
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Caferağa Mh., Moda Cd. & Damacı Sokak No:4, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
Viktor Levi Wine House is a perfect getaway from the heat and madness of the Kadıköy streets. The garden is enveloped with greenery and if the timing is right there might be some kittens sleeping in a planter. The staff is pleasant, the wine...