Istanbul Journals

Turkey with Teenager

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An August 2007 trip to Istanbul by barbara

Random People on the Blue Mosque Steps Photo, Istanbul, Turkey More Photos
Quote: Istanbul is a blend of East and West...with ancient civilizations serving as its foundation, our teenager loved the city as much as we did.

Turkey with Teenager

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Overview

Random People on the Blue Mosque Steps Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
Istanbul is an amazing blend of eastern and western cultures. Called Byzantium upon its birth in recorded history around the 7th century B.C., it eventually became Constantinople, the captial for the eastern half of the Roman Empire. Greek became the language. Christianity was the religion. The Hagia Sophia was erected to proclaim the glory of the faith... and the wealth and power of Byzantine. Indeed, this is one of the architectural wonders of the world and should not be missed. Then the Crusades came. Suffering attack on more than one occasion, the city succumbed to the Ottoman Empire in the Fifteenth Century, changing its face again. Visitors will find the district of Sultana...Read More

Ottoman Hotel

Hotel | "Ottoman Hotel Imperial"

Ottoman Hotel Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
I took a lot of time looking for a suitable hotel. I chose the Ottoman Hotel Imperial because of its location...and the reasonable rate (100 euros per night per an Internet Special). Right smack dab in the middle of everything, the front of the yellow hotel is on a quiet street across from the back of the Aya Sofia. Our "triple" room exceeded expectations because it was really two rooms plus a bathroom. We also had a nice little balcony with a view over Sultanahmet where we enjoyed a couple evenings sipping a glass of wine or a cup of apple tea...the haunting call to prayer echoing across the city, the cats slinking across roofs. The air conditioning was a nice re...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 27, 2007

Ottoman Hotel
Kadirga Limani cad.85 Kadirga
Istanbul, Turkey
(212) 5174203(2)

Aya Sofya/ Church of Holy Wisdom

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Attraction | "Aya Sofya, Church of Holy Wisdom"

Aya Sofya/ Church of Holy Wisdom Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
The Aya Sofya or Haghia Sophia is a marvel of architecture. Its giant dome is an amazing thing to see, and a walk through this great Christian Church, turned into Mosque, and turned into Museum is like a walk through Istanbul's religious history. Knowing the significance of this place, we did not want to visit without any guidance. So, we went to the City Sights Kiosk across the street on the corner, the place where you buy bus tickets for a City Sight tour, and rented an audio guide for 4 Lyre each. This was a great move on our part. Very, very dense, the guide gives a ton of information. But it greatly enhanced our visit because we knew where to look for some of the most interesting fea...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 27, 2007

Aya Sofya/ Church of Holy Wisdom
Sultanhamet
Istanbul, Turkey

Swimming in the Sea of Marmara

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Story/Tip

Princes' Islands-Buyukada Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
From Istanbul you can just see in the hazy distance the chain of land that makes up the Prince's Islands. Here unfortunate threats to the Ottoman throne were often exiled...after having been blinded. Nowadays, people use the islands for a pleasant escape from the city. According to our guidebook, Sunday is the worst time to visit because of crowds, so we took a ferry to the islands on a Monday. With ferry service cheaper than cruises up and down the Bosphorous, we decided to island hop at least once. Our first stop was Buyukada, the Great Island. Here Leon Trotsky made his home for a time. Here Leon Trotsky's daughter committed suicide. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 27, 2007

Topkapi Palace

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Attraction

Topkapi Palace Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
Topkapi Palace was the home to sultans for hundreds of years. It is an expansive structure that is a must-see for any visitor to Istanbul. Yet...I was also disappointed by it. But let me get to that later. You approach the palace via the first courtyard, a place where you can wander for free. It has always been like this. The general public has always been able to congregate here. For entry into the second courtyard, you must pay 10 Turkish Lyra per person. Here you'll find ancient cyprus trees, the Gate of Felicity where the sultan would have occupied his throne, and throngs of cruise ship crowds gathered around their tour guides. You will not find much to guide ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 27, 2007

Topkapi Palace
Sultanahmet Square
Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 5224422

Dolmabahce Palace

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Attraction

Dolmabahce Palace Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
The Dolmabahce Palace was built in the nineteenth century, partly with money borrowed from other world leaders like Queen Victoria in England. The Ottoman Empire was the sick man in Europe, but its leaders didn't want to admit to any reality that tasteless. So what did they do? Push economic reform? No. The royal family decided to build a palace worthy of respect...a palace much more Western than Topkapi...much more lavish than anything else in Turkey. To get there, we took the tram to Taksim Square, strolled down the hill to the palace, walked by the swan fountain, and bought tickets---a palace/harem combo.What was the palace tour like? Well, I was reall...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 27, 2007

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

Military Museum (Askeri Muze)

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Attraction | "Military Museum (Askeri Muze) and Janissary Band"

Military Museum (Askeri Muze) Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
A good thing to do on the same day you visit the Dolmabache Palace is to go see the Military Museum. They are within easy walking distance though radiating down different streets from Taksim Square. The museum must have another purpose still because it has armed guards around sections of it. In fact, I thought it was probably an embassy until we found the front gate! We had to go through security at that point and bought our tickets. These were very inexpensive, and we thought this museum was the best value we got for money in Istanbul. What was so great, you ask? Good question. Well, for less than a meal at McDonald's, we were able to wander a large collection of e...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 27, 2007

Military Museum (Askeri Muze)

Istanbul, Turkey

Bosphorus Strait

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Attraction | "Bosphorus Cruise"

Bosphorus Strait Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
I think it's an obligation to take a cruise on the Bosphorous if you're a tourist in Istanbul. One of the coolest things about this city is that it straddles two continents. It's an amazing thing to be able to ride on a boat, look to one side and think, "That's Europe." Then turn your head to the other side and think, "That's Asia." So, we planned a day to catch the Istanbul ferryboat at the docks by the Galata Bridge.Any suggestions? Check the ferry times. One should leave a little bit after 10am. BOARD EARLY. We made the mistake of getting onto the ferry close to the departure time. This was miserable because the ferry is BIG. The upper decks are open-air, but those seats ar...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 28, 2007

Bosphorus Strait
Eminonu
Istanbul, Turkey