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Turkey

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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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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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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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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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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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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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55 Luftballoons took off before the sun came up over the stunning landscape of Cappadocia Turkey. The landscape was beautiful to see from above, however I think I was more in awe of a sky full of balloons which felt like such a unique experience.
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Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
There's no cost attached to one of Istanbul’s most distinctive photo ops, and the only lines are from fishing poles. Cross the historic Golden Horn via the Galata Bridge, where fishermen from every walk of life jostle for space, and...
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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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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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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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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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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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Aydinli Mah., Yavuz Sok. No:1, 50180 Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
When you travel to the Cappadocia region of Turkey you have to stay in a cave hotel. Sleeping in a room carved out of the area’s ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations is inherently cool. When you realize that your room is also literally cool—even in the...
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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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5, Mollafenari Mahallesi, Nuruosmaniye Cad. Armaggan No:41, 34120 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Just outside of the Grand Bazaar on the top floor of the Armaggan store is Nar Lokantasi. With a more upscale feel than most other places in the area lunch (or dinner) here is a nice rest from a day of shopping. The food is Classical Turkish and...
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Maslak Mah. Atatürk Oto Sanayi Sitesi 2. Kısım 9. Sokak no.310, Maslak Mahallesi, 34000 Sarıyer/İstanbul, Turkey
This is a great way to get an overview of the city and see both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul.
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Konak Mahallesi, 902 Sok. No:8, 35250 Konak/İzmir, Turkey
One of the more interesting coffees in the world is Turkish coffee. It's like a stronger stronger Italian espresso with the coffee grounds in the bottom of the cup! I found Halis coffee in the grand bazaar in Izmir and enjoyed the coffee and...
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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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Bilal Eroğlu Caddesi, Mezar Sokak No:8, 50180 Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
If you only get to ride in a hot air balloon once in your life, do it over Cappadocia, Turkey. Amazing. Cappadocia is surreal when seen from any angle. The region is peppered with strange pointy stone spires that rise up toward the sky, in pastel...
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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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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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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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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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32, Caferağa Mahallesi, Güneşli Bahçe Sk., 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
With only 48 hours to spend in Istanbul, you really don't want to have a bad meal. Doing my research before we left, one place that kept turning up with names like "Best Meals of 2012," My Last Meal on Earth Would Be,"—plus recommendations from...
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High above the side streets of Taksim, on the rooftop of an old building, Araf Bar streams out world music and Balkan beats with live performances and DJs every night of the week. If you're used to dancing to 4/4 beats of western music, then you...
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Edebiyat Sk., 34762 İstanbul, Turkey
I was lucky enough to get to be with a real Turkish family during the Muslim holiday of Kurban Bayram, also known as Eid Al Adha. This is the holiday where people sacrifice an animal in the name of God, in honor of Abraham's willingness to...
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Konya, Turkey
Rumi was born in Afghanistan, spent time in Persia (Iran), then settled in Konya, Turkey when his father was invited there to be a scholar. Rumi became an Islamic scholar himself teaching peace, love, and tolerance. He built quite a following of...
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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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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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Emirsultan Mahallesi, Emir Sultan Cami, 16360 Yıldırım/Bursa, Turkey
The Whirling Dervish Lodge in Bursa puts on a nightly spiritual performance that gets you back to the basics of why the whirling dervishes exist. This is no 'show' for tourists, this is a spiritual event and service. I felt lucky that they allowed...
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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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Akcapinar Kitebeach, Akçapınar Mahallesi, 48650 Ula/Muğla, Turkey
Gökova hosts a 3km long beach area and thermal winds for kite surfers of all levels. Go to Orange and ask for Ahmet Bey, a 60-something kite surfer who will be happy to help with rentals, instructors or repairs. Stay in nearby Akyaka and mingle...
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Middle East
Cleopatra bathed in the Antique Pool at Hierapolis--before a great earthquake knocked several pillars into the pool. Fed by natural spring, the warm water is said to have healing qualities. My kids and I enjoyed the bubbles; they stick to skin and...
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Hunkar Begendi is a traditional stewed lamb (tas kebap) dish served over mashed eggplant. The Turkish name translates to "the Sultan liked it," and I can see why! The lamb is incredibly succulent and flavorful, among the best I've ever had. And...
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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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Akyaka Mahallesi, İnişdibi Cd. No:54, 48650 Akyaka Bld./Ula/Muğla, Turkey
Rakı Balık, raki and fish, is a Turkish dinner custom. After a few mezzes of yogurt and purslane, eggplant, octopus or rocket salad, stuffed red peppers and sea grass, the anise flavored spirit goes down smoothly. If I haven't spoiled my appetite...
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Muze Yolu Cad. No:36/1 Goreme, 50180 Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
For a truly spectacular experience that will take your breath away - take a smooth ride hot air ballooning over the cave city & fairy chimneys in Cappodica, Turkey! There are many balloons that take off at the same time each morning adding to the...
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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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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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Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
At the north end of the Galata Bridge, and just before the start of the seafood market, stands a small kiosk where a man grills mackerel filets for sandwiches. A few shakes of spices, some salad, a squeeze of lemon, and you're on your way to the...
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Konya, Turkey
Spiritual and sensual, ascetic and ecstatic, Rumi’s poetry has provided me an island of tranquility since my college years. Two of his quatrains, in particular, had a profound influence on my development as a young adult: For years, copying other...
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Ürgüp/Göreme/Nevşehir, Turkey
On any tour of Cappadocia in central Turkey, you'll find ruins of cave homes, churches carved inside the cliffs, and outdoor museums like the famous one near Goreme. However, just a short bus ride away is another open air museum with far fewer...
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Tomtom Mahallesi, Yeni Çarşı Cd. No:54, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Chef Arzu Gurdamar runs her kitchen like she runs her life—with whimsy, flair, and a dollop of determination. She is a thoroughly modern Istanbullu, a woman who goes her own way—and rides a Harley Davidson in her (virtually non-existent) spare...
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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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Alemdar Mh., Divanyolu Caddesi No:6, 34400 Sultanahmet/Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Everywhere we go in the world, it seems we find places where former president Bill Clinton ate. In Istanbul it was no different. The Pudding Shop offers quick eats for hungry visitors to the Sultanahmet District. Stop here for all sorts of...
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I took this image the first morning I woke up at the Karia Bel' Hotel in Bozburun, Turkey (a small, quiet town of about 2000). The Aegean Sea was like glass, so still. There was a perfect reflection of the sailboat. It was a moment!