Istanbul Journals

Exotic Istanbul

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An August 1998 trip to Istanbul by Bobbi

Quote: Istanbul is a beautiful and fascinating city, very exotic to our Western eyes. There are layers and layers of history here, and things to do to interest every member of the family.

Exotic Istanbul

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Overview

Quote:
I had a Turkish bath, which is quite an experience, and we also saw the dervishes whirl (they are an outlawed sect, and give a 'cultural exhibition' only once a month.) Aya Sofya, Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar are also must-dos.

Quick Tips:

PEDESTRIANS BEWARE! Drivers seem to consider pedestrians are targets; you need to be very, very careful when crossing a street, regardless of the right of way.

Best Way To Get Around:

We walked most places (we stayed in a hotel near the Blue Mosque, so were based near most sights) and took a taxi when we ventured further afield.

Ibrahim Pasa Oteli

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Hotel

Quote:
The Ibrahim Pasa Oteli is a tall, narrow townhouse decorated in the Ottoman manner, located very near the Blue Mosque (and therefore, near Aya Sofya and Topkapi Palace), on a relatively quiet side of the street. It has five floors, with three or four rooms apiece, and a roof terrace with a great view overlooking the Blue Mosque. The rooms are small and pretty basic, but clean and each has a private bath. There is also a 'cafe' on the main floor, which is sort of a little bar that is sometimes open. The staff is very nice, very Internet savvy, and quite helpful with restaurant recommendations and the like. The easiest way to make a reservation here is via the Internet. The room rates are ab...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 2, 2000

Ibrahim Pasa Oteli
TERZIHANE SOKAK 5 ADLIYE YANI
Istanbul, Turkey
90-212-5180394

Press Museum

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Attraction | "Whirling Dervishes"

Quote:
The dervishes still whirl on the last Sunday afternoon of every month, in their hall on Galipdede Caddesi. The sect has been outlawed, so it is not allowed to worship here, but rather to put on a cultural display. The hall where this occurs is a small museum (museum admission is very cheap, less than $1 I think), with calligraphy examples and dervish clothing on display. For the whirling ceremony, buy your tickets in advance (maybe $5 each), at the little booth out front--it gets very crowded and often sells out. The whirling ceremony is very interesting (at least for a while--after an hour or so it gets pretty boring watching them whirl), with the colorful costumes, exotic museum, and the ca...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 8, 2000

Press Museum
Divanyolu Road, No:84
Istanbul, Turkey

Dolmabahce Palace

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Attraction

Quote:
The Dolmabahce Palace was built in the 19th century, right on the shore of the Bosphorus, and became the home of the sultans who then left Topkapi Palace behind. It is far more European-looking than Topkapi and is incredibly luxuriously decorated with crystal banisters and at least one chandelier whose size is measured in pounds, not inches. Huge, elaborate carpets are carefully protected from wear, and the furnishings are very ornate and surprisingly European. You must take a guided tour to visit the palace, and the cost is about $5. You enter the gate near the clock tower, and at least on the day we were there, we were entertained while waiting in line by a soldier holding PERFECTLY still. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 8, 2000

Dolmabahce Palace
Mebusan Caddesi, Besiktas, on the Bosphorus
Istanbul, Turkey

Turkish Bath

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Before leaving for Istanbul, I knew I wanted to experience a Turkish bath, so I did some research. Since I normally prefer to find real local flavor, rather than the tourist version of the local customs, I was excited to find information on some recommended neighborhood baths. This was a mistake; if you're going to get naked and lie on a marble slab, you want to do it somewhere they cater to tourists, believe me. (And I don't think there really is much such 'catering' going on; the prices are steeper, sure, but I don't consider cleanliness 'touristy.') A friend and I set off on our bath adventure (no sense my going with family, as they're all guys, and the baths are segregated by gender)...Read More