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Istanbul, Turkey- April 2015

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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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Süleymaniye Mah., Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar cad. 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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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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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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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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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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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
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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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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If you revel in gastro-travel, or perhaps you’re pondering how to make Ottoman and Turkish classics back home, then don an apron and broaden your culinary horizons at Cooking Alaturka in Sultanahmet. This innovative cooking school, for groups of...
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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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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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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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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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Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sok, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Recently opened, the Galata Lavazza Coffee Shop is becoming the meeting place for tourists who appreciate traveller’s timeout with a good cup of Italian coffee. The café faces the Galata Tower and square where all manner of people and laid back...
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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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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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The Sapphire Tower, in Istanbul’s Levent business district, is the highest building in the city offering some of the best views in town. The tower is situated away from the main tourist attractions, therefore set aside about three hours for the...
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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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Alemdar Mh., Çatalçeşme Sk. No:21, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
While it’s fun to shop in the bustling Grand Bazaar, it can be an overwhelming experience with all the sounds and temptations competing for your attention. If you’re looking for a quieter, more relaxed and reliable shopping option, then head to...
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Mollafenari Mahallesi, Vezirhan Cd. No:18, 34120 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
When I'm in the mood for affordable home-cooked Turkish food in Sultanahmet, I head to Makarna Sarayı opposite the Column of Constantine near Çemberlitaş tram station. There are oodles of choices here, and you simply point and pick the dishes you...
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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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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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Beyazıt Mh., Tığcılar Sk. No:56, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
If you've been pacing up and down the passages of the Grand Bazaar contemplating that perfect purchase, chances are you'll need refueling eventually. Hidden on a backstreet just outside gate 16 of the Grand Bazaar is the cozy and charming Keyf-i...
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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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Cankurtaran Mh., Akbıyık Cd. No:26, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
In the early 1990s, a Greek family refurbished a charming Ottoman home and opened Albura on the cobbled streets of Akbıyık Caddesi. The quality of the cuisine had locals and travelers flocking, making Albura one of the most popular restaurants in...
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Divan Yolu Cd., Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Travel from Europe to Asia for 2.15TL? Yes you can—with an Istanbulkart aboard a Bosporus ferry. If you’re planning to use public transportation in Istanbul, then it pays to buy an Istanbulkart. The swipe card provides discounted fares for...
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Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, General Yazgan Sk. No:8, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
You've strolled the 1.5km of Istanbul's famous Istiklal Street for a spot of shopping, but hunger sets in and the purse strings are tight. Where do you go for a bite to eat? Answer: Helvetia, a modest lokanta (restaurant) tucked away on a quiet...
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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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Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sok, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The medieval round Galata Tower built in 1348 has played many roles for Istanbul over the years: A watchtower for Bosphorus trade, an observation deck for spotting fires, the setting of a legendary flight across the Bosphorus, and now a tourist...
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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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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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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.
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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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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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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—...