Istanbul, Turkey is a beautiful place where the Asian continent meets Europe creating a fusion of cultures, religion and history. The people are very nice and polite but make sure to keep an eye out for pick pockets in the touristy areas and don’t stand out too much as a tourist.
The best thing to wear to go walking around is pants, a nice blouse and ballerina flats.
Places Of Interest:
Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Müzesi Müdürlüğü)
Ayasofya Meydanı, Sultanahmet District
You cannot miss this. It’s the 8th wonder of the world. It’s one of the few places where Christianity and the Muslim religion meet. It was first used as a church then later converted to a mosque and later a museum. Make sure to look up when you walk in and at the doorways for signs from both religions! Don’t forget the second floor!
The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)
This place is an active mosque and it also holds the tomb of the founder. It was built in the 1600s!
When you visit this mosque, make sure to dress appropriately (no mini skirts, leggings or see-through clothes) and bring a pashmina so you can cover your head when you walk in. Avoid prayer time hours as they close the mosque for 30 minutes at that time and there is a bit more traffic.
Once inside, don’t miss their infamous blue tiles which is why it’s called the Blue Mosque. Look up and don’t miss the courtyard.
Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici)
Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3
This ancient underground cistern contains two of the famous Medusa heads! It lies under Istanbul so get ready for some steep stairs! That means no heels! Grab an english pamphlet when you walk in!
Topkapi Palace (Topkapi Sarayi)
The history behind this opulent palace includes jewels, sultans, concubines, and the power of the Ottoman empire. This place is filled with opulent pavilions and a Harem. It’s open 9am-6pm on Wed-Mon around this time of year.
The Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi)
Best shopping place ever! Make sure to get pashminas, jewelry, ceramic items, and spices! DO NOT accept the first price the salesman gives you. Make sure to haggle but don’t go too low or they will kick you out of the store. They’re going to be very polite and offer you tea and cookies, etc. It’s considered rude not to accept.
Once you’re there, make sure to stop by these places in the bazaar:
Egyptian Spice Bazaar (Misir Carsisi)
This place is great to buy spices, teas, honey, figs and cured hams. Make sure to get Irani saffron here! Don’t forget to buy their amazing tea mixes. Also, opt to get their spice packages to take home. Their spices are fresh and delicious! Make sure to come out on the side of the Bosphorus River. It’s a beautiful site!
Places To Eat:
Bronz Sokak No:5 Maçka, Istanbul
Do not miss this place to go eat! You can go for lunch or dinner but dinner is the best! The best part is their Mezze’s and desserts. There are various spots located throughout the city but the most beautiful location is the one in the Nisantasi district which is a really nice area. Try their Raki drink!
SIDE NOTE: Make sure to try their Baklava and if you can, try to go to a Turkish bath for a real historic experience. It’s amazing for the skin. Also, buy their beauty products like clay masks and soaps!