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Istanbul in Feb 2014

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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...
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Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, Sofyalı Sk. No:18, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali A few blocks from istanbul"Rodeo, Hiç is a shop where you can find beautiful ceramic tableware, Afghan and Turkish carpets, and contemporary crafts at reasonable prices. Lüleci Hendek Cd. No. 35, 90/(0) 212-251-9973, ...
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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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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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Asmalımescit Mahallesi, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:99, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
A cultural hub for Turkish and international art, Istanbul Modern opened in 2004 as a permanent home for the contemporary Istanbul Biennial. The 8,000-square-foot warehouse sits along the Bosphorus next to the Golden Horn, a historically important...
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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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Silivri, Istanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali The mosque here was built for an admiral who, they say, demanded that the architect Sinan build him ‘something like that,’ as he pointed across to the Aya Sofia. The complex also includes a newly renovated hammam where I take...
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Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sk., 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
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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Istanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali This place is run by Banu Cennetoğlu, one of Turkey’s most important artists. It acts as a public archive for artists’ books. The stationery shop on the ground floor, As Kirtasiye, is like a museum of paper and pens.Necatibey Cd....
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Cankurtaran Mh., 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali The artist Mark Van Yetter and his wife, Ayça Odabasi, run this gallery around the corner from istanbul"Rodeo. Their art exhibitions are always free-spirited. Ali Hoca Sk. No. 4 Kat. 2, marquisedancehall.com As told to Lawrence...
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Kartal/Istanbul, Turkey
A multipurpose contemporary art center that opened in November 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 Kouvali 
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Asmalı Mescit Sk No:9, Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
by Sylvia Kouvali My little avant-garde gallery does more than just hang art on the walls. We show performance art, too. We once had the multidisciplinary Turkish artist Cevdet Erek rubbing his hands along a carpet that was hung on a gallery wall....
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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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Istanbul, Turkey
We arrived in Istanbul with runny noses and foggy heads. Luckily we were introduced to Salep, a hot drink sold on the cheap from street vendors armed with steaming copper kettles. In addition to ingredients like milk, honey, and cream, ground...
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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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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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No. /B, Kocatepe Mahallesi, Taksim Fırını Sk. No:25, 34435 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
In the heart of the city’s business district of Taksim, the Marti Istanbul Hotel is a thoroughly modern example of Istanbul’s contemporary face. Designed by Zeynep Fadillioğlu, the interiors balance both classic and contemporary...
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The Spice Market in the Sultanahmet should not be missed! The scents and colors astound. It's by the harbor and convenient to ferries on the Bosphorus.
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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...
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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...
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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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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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Alemdar Mh., İncili Çavuş Sk. No:15, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
On arrival to Istanbul, many tourists order the chicken şiş (chicken kebab) for a meal because it's familiar and safe, but they're really missing out on some of the best food in the world! I encourage anyone visiting Turkey to gastro-travel...
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Tomtom Mahallesi, Ara Güler Sk No:2, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Cafe Ara was a perfect stop on a rainy chilly day in the Taksim/Beyoglu part of Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey. The cafe is named after a magnificent Turkish photographer who worked in Istanbul and whose large format black and white images adorn the...
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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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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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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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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...
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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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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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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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Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
Ah, Istanbul, I have such a love affair with this glorious city- where the Eastern Exotic meets the modern West resulting in a unique and unparalleled city, rich in history, seeped in culture, splashed with magnificent architecture, never-ending...
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Süleymaniye Mah, Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar Cd. No:1, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
From my brother (Erdem Sengul's) camera - the tourists and worshippers in Suleymaniye Mosque in silence, a peaceful escape from the scorching heat outside.
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Dervişali Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:8, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
To see a dazzling collection of glittery mosaics, go to Santa Kariye, the 5th-century Byzantine church. Also referred to as St. Savior in Chora and as the Church of the Holy Savior, the church is richly decorated with 14th-century mosaics in...
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Spending a day shopping on Istanbul’s busy 3km Istiklal Street can be tiring, but fortunately, there are many restaurants at which you can stop and fuel up. Hala, a restaurant specializing in authentic home-cooked Anatolian cuisine, is a popular...
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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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Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. No:23, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
at Kybele, a fantastic little hotel restaurant with an eclectic but absolutely charming ambiance
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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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Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Get on the Turyol ferry across the Bosphorus for a budget friendly no frills tour offering excellent views of Istanbul. Departing every hour from Eminonu between 10am and 7pm, this simple 1.5 hour round trip cruises along the Asian and European...
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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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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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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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Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Beyoğlu, the heart of contemporary Istanbul, is the city’s most popular entertainment, art, shopping, and nightlife district. Bisecting the area is the pedestrianized Istiklal Caddesi lined with cafés and shops that attract over three million...
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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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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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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...
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Istanbul, Turkey
Don’t panic. The lifejackets for the kids as well as my camera are in the palm of my hand. With my legs feeling like spaghetti, I couldn’t walk another step back to our hotel. Our taxi experience included a ride under one of the world’s most...
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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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Cankurtaran Mah, Cankurtaran Mh., Tevkifhane Sok. No:8, 34400 Sultanahmet/Fatih/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
There is no more romantic spot in the world to ask your prospective bride to marry you than at the rooftop restaurant of the Seven Hills Hotel, Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey. Pick a night that will display a full moon and clear skies. Go a little...
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Büyükada, 34970 Prince Islands/Istanbul, Turkey
As soon as the ferry pushes away from Kabataş ferry terminal on Istanbul's European side, you can feel the frenetic pace of the city slipping away. Sipping a coffee on the ship's bow, the beautiful scenery and azure Bosphorus waters enchant as the...
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Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
This was a roasted sheep's head we had on our Istanbul Eats tour. It was incredibly tasty. If you are an adventurous eater, I highly recommend seeking this out on a culinary journey in Istanbul.