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Istanbul birthday

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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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Galatasaray Islet, Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey
There’s a gorgeous venue in town that all the well-heeled folks and celebrities go to dine. It’s called Galatasaray Island, but most Istanbulites (locals) call it the Suada Club, or simply Suada. The island, on the edge of the Bosporus, is owned...
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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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Hüseyinağa Mahallesi, Nevizade Sk., 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
For a Saturday night out, many locals will head to Beyoğlu’s liveliest street, Nevizade. It’s nothing but 100m of meyhanes (taverns) and bars where mezes (starters) and seafood are peddled openly and the rakı (aniseed liquor) and Efes beer flow...
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Tomtom Mahallesi, Yeni Çarşı Cd. No:44, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
This tiny hybrid wine shop–cum–wine bar has impressed many local vino lovers with its intimate ambience, tasty mezes, and friendly service from general manager Suleyman Er and his team. It has imported and local wines available to...
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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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Alemdar Mh., Ticarethane Sk. No:5, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Selecting the perfect Turkish carpet or kilim is like finding the perfect partner. Like fish in the sea, there are plenty to choose from! Eventually you will experience love at first sight and find the "one" you’ve been looking for, but of course...
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Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, İstiklal Cad. Suriye Pasajı 166/C, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Immerse yourself in clothes, shoes, bags, costumes, and accessories of bygone eras at By Retro in Suriye Passage, off Istiklal Street. This expansive basement shop is a wondrous labyrinth of vintage and retro treasures that feels more like one big...
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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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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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Ömer Avni Mh., İnönü Cd. No:50, 34427 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Topaz is regarded as one of Istanbul's most elite upmarket restaurants and it’s the place to be if you wish to celebrate a special occasion. From their terrace restaurant you can indulge in their degustation or a la carte menus whilst the lights...
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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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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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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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Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi, Kemankeş Cd., 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The best restaurant in the Karaköy area is run by the sweetest owners, Oral Kurt and Aylin Okutan, and is rooted in the tradition of simple food and refined service. The Ottoman and Turkish menu includes dishes like hünkar...