Istanbul – a jewel on two continents

If you want a place where the mystique of the east intertwines the modernism of the west, it is Istanbul. The metropolis that never sleeps. It was the capital before the foundation of the modern republic of Turkey but still has an exceptional place in its heart.

 

What to see?

  1. Blue Mosque

Sultan Ahmed Mosque originated from the 17th century. Why the name Blue Mosque? Because of the blue color of titles built-in a wall. Ahmed I built this monument to appease Allah, but he also maddens the people who have to pay for it. He died in his 27th, and the mosque was finished a year after that.

  1. Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia first was a church. 1453. after Ottoman’s occupation, they converted it to a mosque and added four minarets. They covered the Christian frescoes with gypsum. Today you can see those frescos since the mosque become a museum.

  1. The Basilica Cistern

Dive in the magic of the most massive cistern of Istanbul. Built in the early year of 532ac. It was storage for fresh water for the emperor’s palace at that time. Local people used this basilica to reach clean water and even to catch a fish from their basements. Today it is open to tourists. Don’t forget to find medusa’s head. Tip for film lovers – this location is a place for filming part of  James Bond film From Russia with Love, and films Pawn in Frankincense and The International.

  1. Grand Bazaar

Love shopping malls? Grand Bazaar is a place for you. Not indeed the way we do it today. It is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world with more than 60 streets. The only rule here is to bargain. For everything!

  1. Topkapi Palace

The primary residence for sultans for more than 400 years. You can see Harem here. The place where sultans mistresses were living. The most known of them all is Hurem.

 

What to eat?

To experience something different and feel the spirit of Istanbul, you should try a few things.

Baklava – Authentical Turkish stake. Very sweet, with various accessories like pistachio (this one is original), almond, walnut, and others.

Turkish coffee – Served on the particular way, in original cup cezve.

Döner kebab – It’s originated from Turkey, so it is a pity not to try it in its first form. You can buy it in many little shops all around the old center.

 

What to try?

Swimming with dolphins – You can try swimming with these lovely animals in the dolphinarium in Istanbul.

Bospor ride – It is an excellent opportunity to see both sides of Istanbul (Asiatic and European) from the water.

Shisha – Special Arabic aqua pipe with different flavors of tobacco.

Hammam – The  Turkish bath is well known. It is yet different than others. It is ritual for cleaning organism true saunas, massages and water.

 

What to wear?

During visiting the mosque, it is necessary to pay attention to your clothes. Rules demand skin that is covered on legs and arms and also hair for a woman. In front of the mosque, you can leave your shoes. Muslims are the largest religion in Istanbul, so it is more comfortable to be dress in long sleeves (especially for women).