Istanbul part 1

Istanbul part 1


Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Jctravel1983 on October 6, 2012

Istanbul is one of the becoming cities that is getting rediscovered in the last few years. Istanbul has a rich history of culture and lots of different people. As it’s located right near Europe, Asia and the Middle East it’s a mixture of culturals and especially for people who like to visit cities to try out different kind of foods, this is really the place to be.

When we went to this wonderfull city we stayed at the Sultania which is located in Sultanahmet. We opted for this hotel since it’s located in the heart of the old historical part of the city and the most popular tourists attractions. Around the hotel you will find the most beautifull mosques, churches, and synagogues, but also the attractions as Hippodrome of Constantinople on Sultan Ahmet Square, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia Church, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar within short walking distance of the hotel. Ofcourse near the hotels are also many restaurants and shops to be found.

As we stayed here we opted for the standard room for two people but there are also family rooms and single rooms available. The entire hotel is really built in a very old style and very suited to the surroundings while still having all the modern features. The room wasn’t really that large but large enough for the both of us. I thought the bed looked a bit old fashioned and wasn’t as comfortable as I would like it to be. Also the pillows could have been better. The most important thing was that the room was clean as well as the bathroom. The bathroom was very basic but had everything we needed.

As we stayed on the upper floor we had a beautiful view over the rooftops of the surrounding buildings and the rest of the city. It was very impressive. All in all a very nice hotel, basic but everything that you need.
Hotel Sultania
Ebusuud Cad. Mehmet Murat Sok. No: 4
Istanbul, Turkey, 34110
+90 212 528 0806

Megara Palace, Old City, Istanbul

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Jctravel1983 on December 7, 2010

The first night on arrival at the Ottoman Hotel receptionist said: "There is a small problem". "Sh ...., We come too late and they have given away our room" flashed through my mind. But that was not all that bad. During the week we had two nights at another hotel. Not far from this hotel. The hotel proved to be the brother of the owner. Yes, families should help one another.

We were nicely brought to the Old City hotel and found that indeed an elegant room was arranged for us. And the hotel was maybe 5 minutes walk from our old hotel. In the historic center of Istanbul in Sultanahmet.


From the hotel looks out on the hilly streets of Istanbul. You see the tops (round Kepel) of mosques in the neighborhood. The hotel is located in the historic center of Istanbul. All can be visited on foot. An ideal location for a tourist. Nearby are several restaurants and souvenir shops. A street also runs the tram and you are close to the buses. And it even easier for a yellow taxi.


A friendly young man at reception helped us. Our driver spoke a word with him and we could just go see the room first and we were friendly helped but a person that walked with us. The only problem was simply that the elevator was just too small for three people to fit even though it said it could easily handle it.

The room

We had an electronic key. You go straight to the room and with the key you also enables the electricity. The air conditioner works and then also the light. The room is very spacious. The hotel has recently completed 6 months ago and looks beautiful new old with light brown wood. We had beautiful views of the street life below us. The decorations are old prints on the wall with Arabic motifs. There are no more smoking rooms since there is the anti-smoking law. Only outside on the street smoking is permitted. There is a sitting area with an armchair, a desk and chair, a flat screen TV. On the bed there were two white bathrobes with slippers. There is internet access throughout the hotel. The beds are great and the double glazing keeps you hear outside noises. In the room there is no coffee and tea making facilities. There is a small mini bar. One more thing, there's a beautiful deep red carpets dry throughout.

The bathroom is small, with a white decor. There is a bathtub with a shower. . Getting into the bath is easier than in the other hotel, but it is still difficult. Of course the shampoo / shower tubes available. That is perfectly arranged. And the soap smelled delicious. There is also a hairdryer. The voltage is 220 volt.


The room price is around 200 dollars for a double room. Breakfast included. But as we transfer from our previous hotel in the settlement were, we did not pay anything.
We have seen that a Turkish man was trying to negotiate the price of two rooms (for him and his family), but he got only 10 dollar discount.


The breakfast was included. It is served in the basement. That is what a wonderful buffet cared. You can take the elevator down. The buffet is very well taken care of a boiled egg to an omelet, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, jams, yogurt and granola, and various breads. They have a toaster for your toast. Perfect.


There is an outdoor terrace where you can have breakfast (13 lira), lunch and dinner. There are about 30 places with a large awning. 7 lira for a pint and 6 Turkish lira for a coffee. There are also snacks. When you drink in the evening you get a cup of nuts.
There is a good menu with dishes in Turkish and English. The food is good standard. For a dinner with what you drink will cost around 40 lira. We have eaten a kebab night and it tasted superb. Also well catered for with advance Turkish bread with herb cheese.


I have only met friendly and helpful staff. It struck me that explaining things in English, was sometimes difficult. But it was very thoughtful. Excellent!


Along the sidewalks of the streets from the hotel is parking. You must have good driving qualities when you want to place your car on a (very small) place. The locals seem to have no problems with that.


It really is a hotel to recommend. Not only for those with limited mobility. The staff is helpful and very friendly. The location is ideal.
Hotel Megara Palace
Ishakpasa Cad. 8
Istanbul, Turkey, 34140
90 212 518 36 56

Topkapi Palace

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Jctravel1983 on December 7, 2010


You're in Istanbul and then you have to see some famous places. On our list was the Topkapi Palace. I have seen a long ago the exciting movie Topkapi and I wanted to see this museum. I remember from the movie it’s a thrilling chase of the various buildings and railings. I was wondering if I could see it all.


In Sultanahmet you see brown signs indicate how you can get at the Topkapi Palace. It is near the Aya Sofia. For the entrance to a crowded, with guards and parking attendants. Busloads of tourists step out of here. Street vendors trying to sell you anything. You go through a gate. There are some white mosque-like buildings. The whole palace is walled with gray-brown stone. We had already seen those walls. It's really huge. Then you go through a small gate. Here it is already busy and there's a jam because everyone wants a picture of the armed guards. You will go under a gate and suddenly you are in a large park with white buildings left. There are beautiful walking trails. You walk through it and you have a beautiful view of the Bosphorus. It's been pretty busy. You walk through the park and you see a long line right for the various cash registers.

There is a big sign that indicated that for 9 lira a headset audio tour can get. Then you go stand in line waiting for your ticket purchase. You can only pay with Turkish money and cash only. You get 20 lira for one adult ticket and a ticket for 13 lira for children. It's a good ticket with a drawing of the Topkapi Palace. Published by the Ministry of Culture. The ticket is only valid on that day. The date and time is on and there is a printed barcode. You go in, and through a gate. And then you have to put your bag through a screen device.


We look at the floor plan that we have received our ticket. The whole complex consists of:

1 - First courtyard, with the gate, the archaeological museum, pavilions and the cash registers. This part was in earlier days open to the public. There is also a church.

2 - Second courtyard, with Besir Aga Mosque, the Imperial council hall. This was only open to business people who did business with the Divan. It was the office of the sultan. Here are the kitchens with an exhibition of Chinese, Persian porcelain. Unfortunately it was closed during our visit. In the buildings, the golden throne and here is where the funerals took place sulton. Then we move to the gate of Felicity.

3 - Third courtyard, the audience hall (for ambassadors who came to visit), the library of the Sultan, the rooms with the jewels, robes of sultans and weapons through the ages. Here is the output of the harem buildings. The building belongs to the palace harem and it is not. This building is associated with the outside world, the city of Istanbul. You can only be led by a guide. Unfortunately, not during our of visit. I honestly thought that was very unfortunate.
As for the jewels, I recall two masterpieces, The Kasikci Diamond. I have never seen such a big diamond. 86 carats surrounded by 49 diamonds and other Topkapi knife, studded with gems. The building is a relic left room where belongings of Prophet Muhammad kept the cloak, sword, seal, teeth and footprints.

4 - Fourth courtyard, with several pavilions and a restaurant overlooking the Bosphorus and cafés. Great to just sit here, because it's a long walk from one end of the palace to the other end.


Topkapi Palace was the second palace in Istanbul. In 1459 construction was started in 1478 and was completed. The various sultans who have lived here and there are buildings built there. These are sometimes in a different style. There are also earthquakes and fires have been in Istanbul. This meant that buildings were being rebuilt and renovated. That's why you sometimes see different styles.
In the palace lived in earlier days as many as 4000 people. The entire complex is 70 acres. On the left is a huge park with beautiful trees, fountains and roses.
There are approximately 25 sultans lived in all those years. In 1925 the palace became a museum.

Disabled / Facilities

It is in this museum clearly ready to receive the disabled. There are wide driveways, suitable for wheelchairs. There are separate lanes for wheelchairs.

There is even a sort of golf cart and tour which you can make about the site.
In several languages, there are audio guides. Guides in several languages offer himself. Souvenirs you at the entrance / exit now. There are toilets available on site but they were not very clean.

My opinion

I wanted to see the Topkapi Palace. I recognized the galleries and walls from the film. But the huge crowds, so you have long queues, making the visit very tiring. I think it's a must if you're in Istanbul to visit the palace. But what you do on a long walk. If you forget about these points, then this museum is a must. I'm glad I visited.
Topkapi Palace
Sultanahmet Square
Istanbul, Turkey
90 212 5224422

Ottoman Hotel

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Jctravel1983 on December 7, 2010

Ottoman Hotel


My plane had a huge delay. I came in the middle of the night at the airport. Since I took a taxi the hotel wasn’t really difficult to find for me but it was for the taxi driver. The Ottoman hotel was not so well known, because the taxi driver had to ask four times to colleagues where the hotel was. At the hotel a friendly young man came out to help carry the luggage. The receptionist called us very welcome and made sure the porter carried our luggage to our room.

"There is a small problem" he said. "Sh ...., We come too late and they have given away our room" flashed through my mind. But that was not all that bad. During the week we had two nights at another hotel. Not far from this hotel. Well if you are dead tired you accept this. The receptionist promised us a free dinner. That made it nice. And he offered us a cup of coffee. Outside on the terrace we got our first Turkish coffee and Turkish delight. Really nice and we enjoyed the coffee and the amazing view of a mosque that was beautifully illuminated.


The website will give you the exact directions. It is about 20 km from the airport. The hotel can arrange transport for you. From the hotel you look out the front of the Hagia Sofia. That is right across the street. The street runs diagonally up right here and go to the entrance of the Topkapi Palace. What I want to say that the hotel lies in the old historic center of Istanbul. Everything to see is within walking distance. An ideal location for a tourist. Nearby are several restaurants and souvenir shops. At the street also runs the tram and you are close to the buses..


In front of the hotel is parking. The doorman of the hotel helps you to park the car. But I was glad that we had no car. Because parking is a crime in Turkey.

The room

We got a key with a label that the room number on it. With a modern lift we went to the second floor. Then we went to our room. The room is very spacious. The first thing you notice is the canopy above the main section of the bed. We have beautiful views of the Hagia Sofia. The decorations are old prints on the wall with Arabic motifs. There is air conditioning in the room. There is a sitting area with two armchairs, a table, desk and chair, a flat screen TV. There are business magazines on the table. And a big guide of Istanbul. Very convenient for tourists, that thing we used as our bible. On the bed two white bathrobes with slippers.. There is internet access throughout the hotel. The beds are great and the double glazing keeps you hear outside noises. In the room are coffee and tea making facilities and there is a small mini bar.

The bathroom is small, with a beige and white decor. There is a bath with a shower. Well, my real criticism. Getting into the bath is a challenge. You need a footstool to stand and maneuver you in the bath. I do not know how old people do. But this is absolutely dangerous. My advice to this hotel would be: Make sure you find a solution for this, because this is dangerous.

Of course the shampoo / shower tubes available. No, there is nothing to say. That is perfectly arranged. There are even special things like a toothbrush and a shaving kit.
The bed is of good quality with fine duvets.


The room price is 250 dollars for a double. Breakfast included. We did have a lower rate through the travel agency. Yet, no one tells me more that Turkey is so cheap. I think it's pricey.


The breakfast was included and it was a wonderful buffet. The buffet is very well taken care of a boiled egg to an omelet, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, jams, yoghurts and muesli and various breads. The siege has made some variations, cheese, meat and herb cheese. Actually too many to mention.


It really is a hotel to recommend. Not only for those with limited mobility. The staff is helpful and very friendly. The location is ideal. For me a place to come back.
Ottoman Hotel
Kadirga Limani cad.85 Kadirga
Istanbul, Turkey
(212) 5174203(2)

The Blue Mosque

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Jctravel1983 on December 7, 2010

The Blue Mosque

I was there one day in advance, before the Iranian president came to visit in Istanbul and the Blue Mosque would visit his prayers. That was never announced, but one of the water vendors told me.


The Blue Mosque is located in the historic center of Istanbul. In the district of Sultanahmet. Exactly opposite the Aya Sofia.

In front of the mosque is a beautiful garden with walking paths and a wide boulevard. Striking are the many benches in a row. You can see already that this temple, as I call myself a mosque, is set to hundreds of visitors. People from far and wide come to Turkey to Istanbul to visit the Blue Mosque. It is buzzing. It is right at the driveway, where no cars coming, a kiosk where you some souvenirs and drinks you buy. You walk the avenue (how I hate those old cobblestones!) And you arrive at a large white marble staircase. But that is not the entrance. This is the exit. To the right is a gate with a set of stairs. Here you go inside. And you stand in the middle of a large square garden with beautiful white marble. Left and right are steps along the square courtyard galleries , where people just stay in the shade.

Right in the middle is the entrance to the mosque. But not for Gentiles (like me) only for Muslims themselves. Tourists have to go through. We are going to be back out and made a turn to the left. Then again stairs. There are people waiting for you. They speak up and tell them in English, Italian, French, German and other languages around. Then you get into a long queue and you go back up the stairs. By a narrow hallway and then you come gesticulating people you make it clear that your shoes do. You can take a plastic bag for your shoes to wear when you go inside. After this ritual you go shuffling inside. But you now walk barefoot on a blue carpet. And then you enter the Blue Mosque.


Suddenly you are in a huge room with a beautiful red Persian rug. Marbled gray marble along the walls. Wonderful and immense. And then suddenly you know why it is called the Blue Mosque. They are the blue tiles (Iznik tiles) along the walls. In a mosaic with various paintings and performances. It's dark but the stained glass windows is light inside. It's just a joy to all those performances in the windows to see. Along the walls you will see various paintings. In the dome (with a diameter of 23 meters) are all Arab figurines, again in the mosaic form. According to information, there are 21,000 tiles used in this mosque.

The highest point is 46 meters high. Then you can have a bit of the immense space proposals.

The story goes that in 1616 Sultan Ahmet I wanted to build a mosque with golden minarets. He gave his architect commissioned Altin (golden) minarets. But the architect knew that this would be too expensive for the rich and he pretended to "alti" understood and that means six. So he built a mosque with six minarets. The Blue Mosque only mosque with six minarets.

In the middle of the mosque has a wooden partition. Here again the people (men going within and go meditate here. In the middle right is a wooden separate room where people are praying. The place where you are directed to the east sits. I noticed that the very busy, but it's not like elsewhere in Istanbul is a gibberish of vengeance, no it is a devout place. Even the children are adapting!

At the front seats are coves where women can sit.
Each time you look pulled up. Beautiful lights, again enormous. Simply Magnificent.

Then you exit. In the right corner is a wooden mosque on the scale of the mosque of Medina. Behind them hangs a painting of the same mosque. It's a sort of wooden wall and men sit on the wall like the Wailing Wall.

Then you step out onto a landing and then the busy life back to you. People can talk again and do the same. You try to get a spot for your shoes. Middle of the platform is a man shouting behind a big box, and points out that you make a donation for the mosque can deposit. You walk down the stairs and you're still from this experience.

It is one of the few attractions in Istanbul, which are free. Unless the requested donation at the exit. I always find it a strange idea when I am with a church or a mosque, a religious place to pay. But the Blue Mosque is free to visit. I can recommend you. It's a beautiful sight. And you have just as cool in the heat.


In my view this is an excellent opportunity to visit. Are you religious set, you can find devotion. Are you art lover, then you admire the architecture and tile work. If you set historically, you see a building a few centuries ago. And you're just a tourist, you should have seen this place. It is one of the top attractions of Istanbul. One advantage is that it is free to visit. In my view, the Blue Mosque a must for everyone.
Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)
Istanbul, Turkey
0212 458 0776

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