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Saim Bayrak′s Wishlist
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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...