Discover Istanbul’s Hidden Treasures

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Revered and fought over by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans alike, Istanbul has guarded the mouth of the mighty Bosphorus for more than 2,500 years. Standing at the crossroads between continents, Istanbul has a rich mosaic of cultural treasures reflecting its long history as the seat of empires. If you’ve managed to get yourself a cheap holiday to Turkey and are lucky enough to be visiting the city as part of your Turkish holiday, here are three special places to savour:

6th Century Basilica Cistern

An ideal refuge from the summer heat, the Basilica Cistern lies 52 stone steps below busy streets, hardly a stone’s throw from the Aya Sofya. Built by 7,000 slaves at the decree of the Emperor Justinian, the cistern is one of many constructed inside the walled city to secure the water supply. An elevated walkway surrounds the vast underground reservoir and 336 marble columns rise from the waters to meet the eye. Every detail of the magnificent ceiling they support is mirrored in the cool water below, disturbed occasionally by silently cruising carp. Some say the dimly-lit atmosphere is eerie and mysterious, whilst others find a deep serenity; all agree the Basilica Cistern is unforgettable.

Chora Church

The 11th-century Byzantine church of St. Savior became a mosque in the 16th century following the Ottoman conquest, and then a museum in modern times. Situated amidst picturesque Ottoman buildings, the church contains a stunning series of mosaics and frescoes portraying the life of Christ. Originally, these lay hidden beneath plaster in the mosque before re-discovery in the 19th century once again revealed their splendour to the world.

Süleymaniye Mosque

An iconic feature of the present city skyline, this mosque complex was designed for Süleyman the Magnificent by Sinan, the renowned Ottoman architect. The construction of Sinan’s masterpiece by 3,500 craftsmen began in 1550 and was completed within seven years. The grand mosque is the largest in the city and bears four minarets, a number reserved exclusively for mosques commissioned by sultans. Remarkably, most of the original mosque complex survives intact – this includes a courtyard, library, kitchen and caravanserai. The site also contains the carefully restored tombs of Süleyman the Magnificent, his wife Roxelana, and the architect Sinan.

The availability of cheap holidays to Turkey means the wonders of these hidden treasures of Istanbul and others such as the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, the Galata Tower, Princes’ Islands and the Seven Towers Fortress, can at last be experienced and enjoyed by everyone.

Image by Aleksandra M. used under creative commons licence

Exploring the northern neighborhoods of Istanbul

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There are a few things you absolutely must do when in Istanbul. Visiting the Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia), the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar top most people’s lists. These are all located in Sultanahmet, the most touristic region of the city. However, beyond the beaten tourist path, there are many lesser known things to see in the ancient city of Istanbul. The northern neighborhoods (like Sariyer, Emirgan and Bebek) have a lot to offer, and are just a beautiful bus trip along the Bosphorus away from the comfort of Sultanahmet. If you decide to venture away from the old city, here are some places you should go. [Read more...]

A day in Istanbul street food

Turkish food is far from an exclusive cuisine. In a land that has been inhabited since the beginning of mankind, geographical borders have been ineffective at confining kitchens. Turkish food shares many characteristics with its neighbors, including the Mediterranean to the west and the Middle East on the eastern border. The spicy, simmering East and the fresh, light West meet in a delicious fusion in Istanbul, a city straddling two continents.

Street food in Istanbul is a vital component of even the shortest trip to Turkey. While the city has its share of high-end restaurants– [Read more...]

A traditional Istanbul Day trip with Japanese guests

Konnichiwa Everyone!

Last weekend, actually Saturday, we had a day trip in Istanbul with Japanese friends who are originally from Kyushu, Japan.

The gang reached expected number of people in front of Kadikoy cityline ferry port. Like last minute scorers, we caught the ferry while the door was being closed. Luckily, found empty seats on 2nd floor and then some of us started to take photos as well as feeding seagulls as customary. [Read more...]

Edufairs Education Abroad Fairs in Istanbul

Let’s join an education abroad fair next weekend!

Istanbul hosts wonderful events, albeit it is hard to catch all of that you feel interested in. Education abroad fairs are being very popular as Turkish students’ demand for studying abroad increases. There are several or more (some are may be missed from my eyes) education abroad fairs which are held in Istanbul annually, twice a year or even more often. Edufairs Education Abroad Fair is an outstanding one among all. [Read more...]

Istanbul One-Week Tour

As you can guess one week is a very limited time for a giant city like istanbul. Thus, this trip plan is a very brief summary of the things which can be done in a short time.
ATTENTION: The feasibility of our vacation plan mostly depends on your staying location choice. We highly recommend that you should choose a habitation close to Sultanahmet area.

 

1st and 2nd day : Sultanahmet part 1 and part 2

Istanbul played an important role throughout history. For the Ottoman and Byzantine Empire part most of the invaluable architectural jewels are located in Sultanahmet. Sultanahmet Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi sarayi (palace), Basilica Cistern, Obelisk (of theodosius), [Read more...]

Would you like to attend an activity in Istanbul?

If you want to see something to be shown in Istanbul, then you must see this  activity. The Activity will be shown in European side , in Tophane. I think that such an activity must be seen, especially in Istanbul.

When you reach Tophane, before attending to Biennial, you can smoke hookah because hookah is one of the most famous thing to do in Tophane. Also you can get on tram or can  walk. [Read more...]

My Journey to Istanbul

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Last year, I had the great opportunity to visit Istanbul, We reached Istanbul SAW airport around 10:00 o’clock in the morning. One thing that I must say is that this country brings up a great blend of religious and secular elements. Over there I spent some unforgettable moments of my life. Riding the trolley through the new city was an amazing experience which reminded me of Shimla (A state in India).

Our first day was started with a short visit to Grand Bazaar and Istanbul University, followed by Bayazit Mosque.  On a cold Tuesday evening, we went [Read more...]

Istanbul Tour Guide – Aykut Altınışık

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Aykut Altınışık

I am a Turkish archaeologist, lecturer and highly experienced official tour guide in Turkey. I have studied ancient history and archaeology for 4 years, earned a degree in classical archaeology at the University of Ankara (1994). I have worked on important archeological excavations all around Turkey during my archaeology studies. I started working as [Read more...]

Istanbul Shopping Festival

 

Istanbul Shopping Fest is a festival that will make shopping more delightful between March 18 and April 26, 2011 in Istanbul. The festival is under the auspices of Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Governorship of Istanbul, with the support of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and several other bodies.

This massive organization will last 40 days and 40 nights with attendance of hundred thousands of shops and stores which have special discounts and extra shopping hours. The festival aims to attract interest of both domestic and foreign tourists. But, it is fairly more attractive for foreign visitors with the tax-free shopping. [Read more...]