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What to do in istanbul

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Bustling bazaars, magnificent mosques, and the glittering breadth of the Bosphorous. Istanbul is a vibrant, modern metropolis with a deep, tumultuous history, and at first glance it can be hard to decide what to do. Wander the cobbled streets, try the local Turkish cuisine, and watch the world go by with a hookah in hand. Haggle in the markets and explore the ancient architecture – much of which has been in continual use for millennia. Istanbul is a force of civilization, ripe for the exploring!
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Tomtom Mahallesi, Kumbaracı Ykş. No:66, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Just off of Istanbul’s pedestrian shopping street, Istiklal Caddesi, the new Yeni Lokanta opened in 2013. Yeni means “new” in Turkish and the menu ventures in unexpected, surprising, and delicious directions, even if the décor, with its tiled...
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Küçük Ayasofya Mh., Küçük Ayasofya Cami Sk. No:20, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
One of Istanbul's oldest churches, later turned mosque, is an easy ten-minute walk from the Hippodrome and its namesake, the Hagia Sophia. Construction on the Little Hagia Sophia (or Küçük Ayasofya in Turkish) began in 527 AD and was completed in...
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Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Hasırcılar Cd. No:62, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
After a few days in Istanbul you will have likely heard the name Mimar Sinan (1489–1588) many times, and before long you will have seen some of the architect's works, from the kitchens of Topkapı Palace to the city's largest mosque, the...
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Karaköy, Bankalar Cd. No:11, 34420 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The Ottoman Bank Museum is in the basement of SALT Galata, an arts center located in the former Ottoman Bank. It’s a destination that will appeal mostly to those interested in the history of the Ottoman Empire in its decline at the end of the 19th...
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Beyazıt Mh., Yağlıkcılar Sok. No:57, 34126 Fatih/Istanbul - Europe, Turkey
The shops of the Grand Bazaar are often derided as a tourist trap. Yes, you may want to see the historic setting, the common wisdom goes, but when it comes to actually shopping, you’ll get better quality at lower prices outside of the bazaar....
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Asmalı Mescit Mahallesi, Meşrutiyet Cd. 83/B, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Just across the street from the Pera Palace Hotel, Meze by Lemon Tree is an intimate restaurant—with seating for about 30—and a limited menu with four meat entrées and three fish ones. The main attraction, however, is the meze. Sometimes...
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Sinanpaşa Mahallesi, Hayrettin İskelesi Sk. D:No.1, 34353 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
I’d long dreamed of visiting Istanbul, but didn’t make it there until this year. A combination of the time difference and excitement meant I was wide awake at dawn on my first full day there. Opening the curtains of my room in Europe (no. 518 at...