Istanbul - Here I Come!
Collected by Barry Brown, AFAR Staff
It's been 10 years since I've last been to Istanbul and I can't wait to revisit this most fascinating city. If the first visit took in the tourist sites, this visit will allow me to 'go deeper' and experience the city from a fresh, more local perspective. Just a few weeks away with one of my best friends!. Can't wait.
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—...
Yedikule Mahallesi, 34107 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
Just outside the grand bazaar I could smell the familiar aroma of Turkish cheese, and my mom and I couldn't resist buying some for our iftar. We bought a chunk. As we crossed the bridge to beyoglu we saw the same street child we had seen selling...
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,...
Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sok., 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.
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...
Mimar Kemalettin Mah, Büyük Tulumba Sok., 34490 Beyazıt/Fatih/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
During a long weekend in Istanbul recently, I signed up for a tour of Istanbul's street food with Istanbul Eats. Tired of the Taksim scene and having been to Istanbul before, the culinary walking tour was a wonderful way to see a new part of the...
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...
Küçük Ayasofya Mh., Demirci Reşit Sk. No:14, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Visiting Hagia Sophia, Istanbul. I spotted this young woman but couldn't get her alone (thousands of tourists in this beautiful place) so gave up; a few minutes later my husband gave me the elbow and motioned towards this: Nobody in sight but her...
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...
Caferağa Mahallesi, Güneşli Bahçe Sk. No:43, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
One afternoon, I dragged my travel companions—a German, a Turk, and two New Yorkers—to Kadıköy, a neighborhood on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, to dine at Çiya. Everyone was cranky and hungry by the time we found it, but I knew the...
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.
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...
Tomtom Mahallesi, İstiklal Cd. No:8 D:163, 34433 Beyoğlu/Tepebaşı/Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
This elite rooftop restaurants is a popular place for locals to celebrate birthdays, milestones, and romantic moments. Called 360 for its magnificent 360-degree view of Istanbul, it's a great place to celebrate just being in Istanbul! Relax with a...
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....
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,...
Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi, Kemankeş Cd., 34425 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali The best restaurant in the 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 likehünkar beğendi, a meat...
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...
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...
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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