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Istanbul

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Vişnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
This decadent palace, which overlooks the Bosphorus from the European side, holds great importance to Turkey. The late-19th-century sultans resided here and ruled the Ottoman Empire from here, and while the Turkish Republic's capital is in Ankara,...
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Dervişali Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:8, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
According to Islamic tradition, only God can create images of holy beings, including angels and prophets. Therefore, when the Ottomans converted Chora Church into a mosque in the 16th century, they covered the 14th-century Byzantine mosaics and...
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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...
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Emniyetevleri Mah. Eski Büyükdere Cad., Emniyetevleri Mahallesi, Yamaç Sk. No: 7, 34415 Kağıthane/İstanbul, Turkey
In Istanbul, the most authentic place to smoke nargile (also known as hookah and shisha) is Corlulu Ali Pasa Medresesi. The 300-year-old Medrese evolved from a religious school and dervish lodge during the Ottoman times to bazaar stores in the...
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Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
The Archaeological Museum, Museum of the Ancient Orient, and Museum of Islamic Art in the gardens of Topkapı Palace make up the trio of Istanbul Archaeology Museums. An array of permanent and temporary exhibits display items from sculptures and...
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Firuzağa Mahallesi, Dalgıç Sk. No:2, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Incurable romantics should visit the Museum of Innocence in Beyoglu, Istanbul. Read Orhan Pamuk’s novel The Museum of Innocence first, or visit the museum and then read the novel, or visit the museum while you are reading the novel. It really...
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Caferağa Mahallesi, Albay Faik Sözdener Cd. No:31, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
Eating, drinking, and shopping in Kadıköy, on the Asian side of Istanbul, will give you a true taste of local life. While a few expats and tourists have infiltrated the area, it's worth the 20-minute ferry trip from the European side. The...
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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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Süleymaniye Mah, Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar Cd. No:1, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Suleymaniye Cami is a working mosque perched above Istanbul. Farther away from tourist areas, this mosque brings calm to your soul for its beautiful view outside and the dense quiet inside.
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Şahkulu Mh., Galip Dede Cd. No:15, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Just off the busy pedestrian street, Istiklal Caddesi, and a few steps down Galip Dede Caddesi in the Galata area, is the quiet and inspirational museum of the Sufi Mevlevi Lodge (Divan Edebiyati Muzesi). The Sufis are one of the mystical branches...
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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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Zeytinburnu/İstanbul, Turkey
The Theodosian Walls (aka The Walls of Constantinople) stretch just under 6 km across the border of Istanbul's Old City. Built by the Emperor Theodosius in the 5th century, they complimented an earlier protective wall built in the 4th century by...
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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...
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Istanbul, Turkey
If you’re in Istanbul and interested in Turkish music and dance, then you should shimmy along to a Turkish Night. Favorite venues are Sultanas (www.sultanas-nights.com) and Karavansaray (www.kervansarayistanbul.com) in Taksim or Gar Gazino...
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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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İstiklal Cd., Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The lifeblood of modern Istanbul is the two-mile-long pedestrian street Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue), running from Taksim Square to the Tünel train station. It's equal parts touristy and local, commerce and culture, and strolling down...
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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 Caddesi, 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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Kartal/Istanbul, Turkey
A multipurpose contemporary art center that opened in November 2011 in the Ottoman Bank building, Salt has a library with thousands of shelves of art publications—the most important, impressive collection in the city.—Sylvia...
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Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
A city as ancient as Istanbul has many layers of history, and you’ll have to go below the surface to see the Basilica Cistern, the largest of the underground cisterns. Built in the sixth century for the Byzantine emperor Justinian, the...
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Beyazıt Mh., Kalpakçılar Cd. No:22, 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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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 (traditional Turkish bath towels) in every weave and color, and...
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Binbirdirek Mh., Klodfarer Cd. No:4, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
There were no bad meals in Instanbul and no insanely expensive meals either, but by far some of the best food was to be found wandering the neighborhoods and partaking of the street food vendor carts. Plus this photo satisfies my obsessive desire...
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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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Istanbul, 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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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 Mahallesi, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
My first salep was in an ice cream restaurant—I know, in winter, right? But we were early to the circus, and tried to entertain the kids with a special treat in an ice cream store. The clerk must have seen the dazed, indecisive, and new-in-town...
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Gümüşsuyu Mahallesi, 34437 Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey
Warm, fragrant, and filling, these borek are typical Turkish quick eats. They can be stuffed with either ground spiced meat (occasionally with black currents and/or pine nuts) or a cheese and parsley mix. They are enjoyed best fresh out of the...
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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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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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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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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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İstiklal Cd., İstanbul, Turkey
After a long night of drinking and dancing in Taksim, a pile of nohutlu pilav (chickpeas and rice) from a street vendor will give you energy to stumble back home or to your hotel. And it's a bargain at only 1.50 Turkish lira.
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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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Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
If these 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 dazzling tile-and-mosaic-lined...
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Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sk., 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
We love visiting fish markets in all cities. We enjoyed one on the Asian side and the one by the Galata bridge where this was taken. The gills are exposed to show they are fresh plus for some flair. Istanbulite gave us a great walking tour.
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Istanbul, Turkey
"Bir lira, bira lira!" you'll hear from food cart vendors as you stroll though the streets of Istanbul. It means, "one lira, one lira," so if you're hungry and on a budget you might want to check out what's on offer. These guys peddle corn on the...
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Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
At the north end of the Galata Bridge, and just before the start of the seafood market, stands a small kiosk where a man grills mackerel filets for sandwiches. A few shakes of spices, some salad, a squeeze of lemon, and you're on your way to the...
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Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
There's no cost attached to one of Istanbul’s most distinctive photo ops, and the only lines are from fishing poles. Cross the historic Golden Horn via the Galata Bridge, where fishermen from every walk of life jostle for space, and...
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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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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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Kadıköy/Istanbul, Turkey
While visiting Istanbul, take an afternoon trip across the Bosphorus to Kadiköy to stock up on food, sweets, and tea. The prices in this Istanbul neighborhood are at least half of those in the touristy Grand Bazaar and Spice Market. You'll also...
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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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Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Erzak Ambarı Sok. No:92, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Smaller than the Grand Bazaar but more intense, the Spice Market is equal parts tourist trap and necessary shopping stop for cooks and foodies. Meet the original spice girl at Ucuzcular (remember Area 51 to find her booth), one of the few...
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Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
One of the best ways to become a local in any country, is to rent your own place, rather than staying in a hotel. It gives you the opportunity to shop the markets like a local, learn some recipes, familiarize with intriguing spices, and cook your...
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Nevşehirli İbrahim Paşa Cd., 34083 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Every Wednesday morning in my neighborhood near Fatih Mosque, the traffic disperses, the roads are closed, plastic canopies are strewn from building to building, and thousands of stalls bursting with color and produce are set up across several...
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Beyazıt Mahallesi Çadırcılar Caddesi istanbul sahaflar çarşısı No.16-18-19-22-23, Beyazıt Mh., beyazıt, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Book lovers and bazaar hunters will revel in foraging through the Sahaflar Çarsısı (Beyazit Book Bazaar) for new titles, secondhand books, historical maps, the Quran (in various languages), ancient texts, and other rare finds. The bazaar, between...
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Taksim Square is at the heart of the Beyoglu neighborhood; the pedestrian-only Istiklal Caddesi, its main artery, ends here at the square. You'll also find Gezi Park and a monument to the Turkish Republic. Crowds come here to shop, dine, see and...
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Mecidiye Mahallesi, Mecidiye Köprüsü Sk. 1/1, 34347 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
"Kumpir" is a baked stuffed potato served throughout the city. But the local "thing to do" is venture to Ortakoy near the first Bosporus Bridge to make your own and consume it by the water's edge. There's a number of kumpir stalls near the famous...
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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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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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Yıldız Mh., Çırağan Cd. No:32, 34349 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
The five-star Çırağan Palace Kempinski Hotel, right on the Bosphorus near Ortakoy, boasts some the most expensive and elegant hotel rooms in town. A-listers swoon to stay here to make the most of the hotel's luxurious offerings all housed in the...
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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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Merkez Mah., 34421 Fatih/Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
There are two ways to walk up to the Galata Tower from Karakoy Tram Station: One is to follow the pedestrian traffic and ascend an uninviting steep staircase close to the tram way; the other is to take the more picturesque Kamondo (Camondo) steps...
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Cankurtaran Mh., Tevkifhane Sk. No:8, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
My ultimate favourite thing to do to end a perfect day in Istanbul is to scale the heights of Sultanahmet’s buildings to find a rooftop restaurant – known as a terrace restaurant. Some terraces, such as the Seven Hills Restaurant on Tevfikhane...