Istanbul Journals

Four Days in Istanbul

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A November 2001 trip to Istanbul by viajera67

Hotel Side Photo, Istanbul, Turkey More Photos
Quote: I spent four days in Istanbul prior to a Mediterannean cruise. Though only there for a short time, I found Istanbul to be a vibrant, interesting city.

Four Days in Istanbul

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Overview

Quote:
There are tons of things to do in Istanbul - I could have stayed here for two weeks! In my short time there, I had two Turkish baths, saw five mosques (including the famed Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia), went to Topkapi Palace, climbed Galata Tower, shopped on Istiklal Caddesi and at the Grand Bazaar, and went across the Bosphorus to Asia. Still, I wish I had more time to explore more of the small neighborhoods, visit Dolmabahçe Palace and take a longer ride up the Bosphorus.Quick Tips: Though the weather in November wasn't ideal (somewhat cold and damp for the most part), I found the city to be incredibly interesting and beautiful. There didn't seem to be too many tourists around, though ther...Read More

Hotel Side

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Hotel

Hotel Side Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
This lovely hotel is located very conveniently between the Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque, with views of both, as well as the sea, from the breakfast room. I had originally made reservations at the Side Pension next door for just $25 per night, but my friend talked me into upgrading to a hotel room at $40 per night (still an off-season bargain.) Though I imagine that the pension is fine, I have to admit that I'm glad I upgraded. Our room on the third floor (walk-up) was a large room with two beds (one single, one double), TV, phone, armoire, desk and clean bathroom. But the best part was the large balcony from which we could clearly see the Sultan Ahmet mosque and the Aya Sofia (see photo below.) ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 10, 2001

Hotel Side
20 Utangac Sokak, Sultanahmet
Istanbul, Turkey 34400
90 212 458 58 70

Cennet

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Restaurant | "Cenet"

Cennet Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
We passed this place a couple of times before stopping in, but then decided to meet there for our last lunch in Istanbul. The restaurant is beautifully decorated--maybe a bit touristy--and you can watch the women as they make Turkish ravioli. The walls are lined with carpets and there are a few tables at which you can sit on sofas or on the ground on pillows, if the place isn't too crowded. The waiters wear fezzes (which I don't think are generally worn in Turkey anymore) and there are traditional costumes that customers can try on and take pictures in. The food was decent - I tried the Turkish ravioli, which came in a yogurt sauce, and wasn't crazy about it. Still, it's a nice place for coffee o...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 13, 2001

Cennet
90 Divan Yolu
Istanbul, Turkey
+90 212 5131416

Suleyman Mosque (Suleymaniye Camii)

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Attraction | "Sultanhamet or Blue Mosque"

Suleyman Mosque (Suleymaniye Camii) Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
The Sultan Ahmet, widely known as the Blue Mosque, perhaps because of the bluish hue it takes on at night when it is lit up, is beautiful from the inside as well as out. The entrance is in the back, where you must take your shoes off before entering (you are provided with a bag in which to carry your shoes as you leave through the other end of the mosque.) Inside, the floors are lined wall to wall with carpets, or prayer mats, and, aside from a few structures, seems completely empty. The beauty is in the simplicity, however, and of course the richly decorated walls and huge domes.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 13, 2001

Suleyman Mosque (Suleymaniye Camii)
Istanbul
Istanbul, Turkey

Topkapi Palace

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Attraction

Topkapi Palace Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
If you do one thing in Istanbul, you must visit Topkapi Palace, where the Sultans lived until the mid 1800s, when another palace was built (unfortunately, I missed that one!) We hired a "state licensed guide" (it said so on a sign he wore around his neck!) who for $30 gave us a complete two hour tour of the palace. The Harem, or the residence of both the Sultan and his women, was fascinating! According to our guide, the women of the harems had it pretty good - it was apparently a great honor to be part of the sultan's harem, and many young girls aspired to this. And why not? Some of them had great quarters, nice baths, a swimming pool, Unics at their beck and call - and all they had to do was p...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 13, 2001

Topkapi Palace
Sultanahmet Square
Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 5224422

Uskudar

Story/Tip

First step into Asia Photo, Istanbul, Turkey
Quote:
We didn't have the time (or the energy) to take a full-blown trip up the Bosphorus, but we did want to see Asia, so we took a quick ferry trip from Eminonou (terminal 1) to Uskudar, directly across the way. Refreshments (Turkish tea and water) are served on the ferry, and from there you get some great views of Sultanahmet, the new city, and the bridge that spans the Bosphorus (connecting Europe and Asia.) There are some beautiful mosques right near the ferry port, but we explored a bit further by taking a Dolmus (shared taxi/bus) to Camlica park, or to the base of the hill on which the park sits. A 15 minute walk up the hill (following signs) takes you to the park, where you can catch great views o...Read More