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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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Arasta Çarşısı, Küçükayasofya Caddesi No:135, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Intricate textiles woven on looms handed down through generations. An array of laurel, olive and lavender bath products and the hammered bowls to hold them. Silk shawls with which to drape the color of the Aegean in a graceful arc below bare...
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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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Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali The neighorhood’s best bakery is across the street from istanbul"Rodeo. They make goodlahmacun, something between an unrolled pita and a thin-crust pizza. Thepides, pizza-like baked breads, are also excellent.Lüleci Hendek Cd....
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Balat Mahallesi, Mürselpaşa Cd. No:10, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
My Local Guide Istanbul provides a unique tour of Istanbul's UNESCO World Heritage listed renovated and ruined Ottoman Houses. Walking amongst the locals was an experience in itself, with local kids curious to see us in their colourful community....
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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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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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Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sok, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The Galata Tower is one of Istanbul's most striking landmarks. The nine-story stone tower offers a panoramic vista of Old Istanbul and its environs. Save Galata for the end of the day, timing it so that you reach the top just in time for sunset...
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Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
This cistern is thought to have been built after the Nika revolt in 532 AD. It was known as the Basilica Cistern during the Roman period. After the conquest of the city by the Ottoman Turks, it was forgotten and nobody knew that it existed. It was...
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Kuloğlu Mh. Koca Ağa Sk, Kuloğlu Mh., No:10, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
For a unique and eye opening experience have your coffee fortune read during your stay in Turkey. Not only will you learn about your future, but you'll also be on a caffeine high from the strong Turkish coffee that is served. Wander into the back...
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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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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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Osmanağa Mahallesi, Dere Gazinosu Sk., 81310 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
A half-day deliciously well spent...Take a food tour of the Kadikoy market on the Asian side. Foodie Banu Ozden was born in Istanbul, college and a little food industry experience in the USA, and back to Istanbul. She takes small groups on a walk...
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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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Gümüşsuyu Mahallesi, 34437 Beyoğlu/Istanbul, Turkey
So why go to Istanbul in the late fall/early winter? Well, airfares are lower than in high season, you can pretty much get any hotel room you want, there are no crowds so no lines to stand in, and the price of pretty much anything you might want...
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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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Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
One of the craziest parts of Istanbul are navigating the streets. Sidewalks suddenly have a car parked on them blocking your path...followed by a one-lane-wide street having two way traffic...and next there is a small courtyard with someone just...
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Firuzağa Mah., Cihangir Mahallesi, Türkgücü Cad. 59/A, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
After a morning of wandering Istanbul's winding streets, it is a treat to find a delicious eatery like Datli Maya, ready to welcome you with brick-oven baked bites in the form of lahmacun (similar to a thin-crust pizza) and other delicious menu...
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Hoca Paşa Mahallesi, 34110 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
This was my official welcome to Turkey. After taking the train from the airport to our new home in Istanbul - the area Gulhane - we ducked into a tiny cafe on a quiet corner for a coffee. Not only was the cup and saucer bright and beautiful, the...
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Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Erzak Ambarı Sok. No:92, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Also known as the Spice Bazaar, the Egyptian, is the oldest market in Instanbul. The best bargains to be had are in the alleys just outside of the building where more of the locals shop.
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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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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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Cankurtaran Mah, Cankurtaran Mh., Tevkifhane Sok. No:8, 34400 Sultanahmet/Fatih/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
One of the things I adore about Istanbul is the ongoing discovery of hidden gems around the city. Not real gems, but rather, venues with spectacular features—a secret garden or a rooftop cafe with a gobsmacking, drop-dead-gorgeous view. These gems...
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Şahkulu Mahallesi, Galata Galip Cad., Tımarcı Sok. 3/B, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Sweet and savory pancakes, homemade jams, halloumi, salad, olives, gözleme etc What more can you ask for?
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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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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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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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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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Erenköy Mahalles, Bağdat Cd. No:324, 34738 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
The dried fruits and nuts for sale at the very elegant İlgi Kuruyemiş Evi seem more like jewelry than snack food. Choose from four different types of pistachios. A strong ziploc is included to keep your purchase fresh. İlgi Kuruyemiş Evi Erenköy...
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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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Atatürk Mahallesi, Yukarı Çarşı No:3, 78600 Safranbolu/Karabük, Turkey
Safranbolu (a UNESCO World Heritage site) is famous for the lokum aka Turkish Delight, made with saffron. And damn well it should be. These squares of squishy, marshmellow-ish goodness are like a party in your mouth. The people at Özer Lokumları...
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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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11, Küçük Ayasofya Mh., Demirci Reşit Sk., 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
If you like your space and prefer to self-cater on vacation, then book into Topkapi Apartments, near the Blue Mosque. This gorgeous four-story Turkish home is owned by husband and wife Hamza and Yukiko and has one large unit per floor with a...
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It may be the ex-ex-pat in me (can you be an ex-ex-pat?), but I get excited when I hear about Asian restaurants in Istanbul. I was so hungry for some variety (not to mention ginger, soy sauce and chili oil) back then that I wish Banyan, an upscale...
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Cihangir Mahallesi, Soğancı Sk. No:7, 34427 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
5.Kat (Floor 5), in Istanbul’s upscale Cihangir neighborhood, boasts a menu of gourmet cuisine and magnificent views of the Bosphorus in an elegant setting. The prices are a little more than what you pay elsewhere, but then there’s not...
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Süleymaniye Mahallesi, Mimar Sinan Cd. No:20, 34120 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Most couples will want to experience all of Istanbul’s attractions together, and enjoying a hammam (Turkish bath) is no different. The majority of the authentic bathhouses in the city have separate male and female bathing areas, making it...
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Istanbul, Turkey
If you plan to conquer Istanbul in 72 hours or less, then you might like to check out the feasibility of buying the 85TL Museum Pass. The pass gives you queue-jumping privileges and discounts on some museums, attractions, and tours around town for...
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Binbirdirek Mh., 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Rooftop views abound in Istanbul’s historic peninsula. Order tea, coffee, wine, raki, or a full meal, then relax and take in the sights and sounds. Or grab your camera and a tripod to capture the best light with the morning and evening calls to...
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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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Cankurtaran Mh., Akbıyık Cd. No:56, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
One of the latest cafes to open in Sultanahmet is Karafırın on Akbıyık Caddesi (Street). It's part of a larger chain of stores in Turkey specializing in baked goods and cafe-style refreshments. Check out the bakery section full of tasty treats,...
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Haci Izzet Pasa Sok., Ömer Avni Mh., Serin Apt. No: 26/2 Gumussuyu, 34427 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
There are a handful of tour agencies in Istanbul brave enough to venture off the normal “top sites” tourist trail. Unison Travel and Events is one such pioneer in the local travel industry that caters to travelers seeking a unique perspective of...
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Kılıçali Paşa Mahallesi, Akarsu Ykş. 21/A, 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
I started walking down Cihangir Street in search of a place with Wi-Fi and ran into Journey Cafe. Few tables, interesting book selection, crowd is a mix of locals and foreigners, all very enticing. Although I wasn't hungry I saw plates of very...
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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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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...