AMAZING ISTANBUL

AMAZING ISTANBUL

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 15:27

Winter is best time to fly to city on two continents

golden horn.jpg

Home to at least 18 million people, Istanbul spreads over two continents, and has a past so rich that it would take you a lifetime to get to know it properly. And yet, it is so vibrant and full of sensations and experiences that it feels more like sheer pleasure than a history lesson, particularly in winter. The Bosphorus provides the city with balmy and sunny weather, and the city is empty of the usual hordes of tourists, leaving you with more space to explore and to enjoy the fresh sea air, the enticing aromas of the historical districts, of tea in the cafés and of roasted chestnuts from the street vendors.

There are the inevitable tourist sites that you must see in Istanbul and, conveniently, they are located in a relatively small area, in the Sultanahmet district, the ancient heart of the city by the Golden Horn, where in 660 BC Greeks established a city called Byzantium. Byzantium became the core of the city which would later become Constantinople and Istanbul, and now the district is dotted with sites from centuries of being one of the most important capitals of the world. There is the stunning Hagia Sophia and the majestic Blue Mosque, and the ancient Hippodrome still preserves the ancient Greek Serpentine Column and the Obelisk of Theodosius. The former palace Topkapı is a place to marvel at the treasures of the Ottoman Empire and also at the vistas of the Bosphorus, while the nearby Archaeological Museums exhibit finds such as the oldest written poetry and treaty in the world, and a sarcophagus that possibly belonged to Alexander the Great.

The Sultanahmet area is also the home of the Million, the 4th century AD stone marking the beginning of all the roads in Constantinople, and the subterranean Sunken Basilica, a vast cistern still full of water.

Here you will find the hustle and bustle of the Grand Covered Bazaar, with its vaulted aisles crammed with merchandise (gold and silver, clothes, rugs and leather goods, you name it) and of the smaller, but aromatic Egyptian or Spice Bazaar with its heaps of pepper, saffron, curcuma and many more.

Walking across the bridge over the Golden Horn, you will pass by the rows of people catching fish and the stalls of the street vendors selling some of the most delicious street food ever made, and arrive in another Istanbul. The hills of the Beyoğlu area are covered with late 19th and early 20th century houses in European styles. Overlooked by the majestic 14th century Galata Tower, it is a charming place of quiet antique shops and shadowy lanes lined with crumbling old houses, of shopping arcades and lazy stray cats.

Istanbul is packed as well with lesser known gems. Among them is a place with a strong Bulgarian connection: the Iron Church of St Stephen in the Fener neighbourhood was built by the Bulgarian community with Viennese cast iron at the end of the 19th century. Nearby is the Chora Church, a stunning example of golden Byzantine mosaics, one of the best in the world. In the Karaköy neighbourhood there is the Yeraltı Camii, an underground mosque located in the room where one end of the chain that could close the Golden Horn to enemy ships used to be located.

Istanbul

Eating out in Beyoğlu is an experience to remember

 

Crossing the Bosphorus by boat is a favourite pastime for visitors, but if you want to explore the straits, hire a car and drive all the way north on the European side. The trip will take you by the gorgeous Dolmabahçe Palace (do stop for a visit) and then on to quieter neighbourhoods of beautiful wooden mansions, the forbidding Rumeli Fortress and to green areas of small houses, yachts, and fish restaurants. Your trip will end at Rumeli Feneri, a picturesque lighthouse guarding the beginning of the Bosphorus and looking towards the Black Sea, whose waters are filled with ships queueing to gain entry to the straits. Here, according to legend, were the Symplegades, the clashing rocks that prevented sailors from entering the Black Sea until Jason managed to get past.

For you, however, it is time to go return to Istanbul: a city full of treasures and experiences to discover and rediscover.

Istanbul

The magnificent Blue Mosque owes its name to the blue ceramic tiles covering its interior

 

Istanbul

The cats of Beyoğlu

 

Istanbul

The old tram still running along İstiklal Avenue is one of the most beloved sights in the Beyoğlu neighbourhood

 

Istanbul

Stunning Byzantine mosaics still shine on the walls of the Chora Church, centuries after they were made

 

Istanbul

The Rumeli Fortress on the Bosphorus

 

Istanbul

The Sunken Basilica was in fact a Byzantine reservoir. An action sequence in the 1963 Bond movie From Russia With Love was filmed inside

 

Istanbul

A Bulgarian trace in Istanbul: St Stephen Church, made entirely of iron

 

Issue 122 Turkey

Commenting on www.vagabond.bg

Vagabond Media Ltd requires you to submit a valid email to comment on www.vagabond.bg to secure that you are not a bot or a spammer. Learn more on how the company manages your personal information on our Privacy Policy. By filling the comment form you declare that you will not use www.vagabond.bg for the purpose of violating the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria. When commenting on www.vagabond.bg please observe some simple rules. You must avoid sexually explicit language and racist, vulgar, religiously intolerant or obscene comments aiming to insult Vagabond Media Ltd, other companies, countries, nationalities, confessions or authors of postings and/or other comments. Do not post spam. Write in English. Unsolicited commercial messages, obscene postings and personal attacks will be removed without notice. The comments will be moderated and may take some time to appear on www.vagabond.bg.

0 comments

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Discover More

John Lennon's Wall in Prague
VAGABOND'S INTERNATIONAL WALK OF FAME
You went to LA, okay. You think you've seen it all – and walked over it: the pinkish stars on the pavement of Hollywood Boulevard with names of actors, musicians and celebrities, many of whom long forgotten, but immortalised in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Залезът на Санторини
#VISITGREECE
Ако сте от хората, които лягат и стават с

athos monastery
ОТКРИЙТЕ МИСТИЧНА ГЪРЦИЯ
Гърция е земя не само на

Santorini sea
ДЕСЕТ ГРЪЦКИ ОСТРОВА
Може да са 1200. Може да са и 6000. Точният брой на островите в Гърция може да варира според това как броите и както смятате за остров.

Sarti Beach, Halkidiki
НАЙ-ДОБРОТО ОТ ХАЛКИДИКИ
Защо почивате на Халкидики? Всеки има своя отговор. Но когато обобщим, откриваме, че можем да подредим най-доброто от Халкидики в пет категории.

Halkidiki-AMMOYLIANI ISLAND-East-Coast copy.jpg
ТОП 10 НЕЩА, КОИТО ДА ПРАВИМ НА ХАЛКИДИКИ ПРЕЗ ЛЯТОТО
Щом сте тръгнали за Халкидики, ясно е, че основната ви цел е да се установите възможно най-близо до морето и да прекарвате основната част от времето на плажа.

tel aviv.jpg
5 MUST-VISIT PLACES IN ISRAEL
It is impossible to cover all the wonders that you will discover once you set foot in Israel, but here are five of the most astonishing ones.

Barbayanni is one of the best known brands of Lesvos ouzo
DISCOVERING OUZO
The pines cast a dappled shade on our table and the cool sea is lapping at our feet, the rumble of pebbles drowned by the ecstatic chirping of the cicadas.

table with a view_i523856186_560.jpg
ТОП 10 ХРАНИ И НАПИТКИ, КОИТО ОПРЕДЕЛЯТ ВКУСА НА ГЪРЦИЯ
За нас е станало всекидневие да използваме гръцки зехтин у дома или да си поръчваме панирани калмари в ресторанта, но истината е, че гръцката кухня е несравнимо по-вкусна, когато сме в Гърция.

open_0.jpg
ТОП 10 СКРИТИ СЪКРОВИЩА НА ГЪРЦИЯ
Всеки интелигентен човек е способен да изброи поне пет места и забележителности в Гърция със световна слава (особено, ако следва популярните инфлуенсъри в социалните мрежи). Но страната предлага много повече от Акропола, Санторини, Корфу, Делфи и Миконос.

open.jpg
10 ГРЪЦКИ ОСТРОВА, КОИТО ДА ПОСЕТИМ ПРЕЗ 2020
Гърция нямаше да бъде Гърция, ако ги нямаше островите.