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Things to do in Istanbul
In this article, I would like to tell you about things to do in Istanbul, my recommendation and my experience there.
On January 18, 2015, I decided to go to Istanbul, Turkey. I had never been there and I was very curious couldn’t wait to see this city, so famous for its rich history and for being an important Turkish trade center. I visited many places in Istanbul and made many nice memories.
Istanbul had several names over time. It was named Byzantium and later was called Constantinople under the domination of the Roman Empire.
I stayed here approximately one week, in the Deluxe Golden Horn Sultanahmet Hotel, which is situated in the heart of the old center, on the European side. The city is famous because it is divided on 2 continents, Europe and Asia, and these two sides of the city are so different. European and Asian Istanbul are connected by two bridges, the Bosphorus Bridge and the Fatih Bridge. The European side of the city is more populated, has many small streets and is visited by tourists because of the historical importance. The Asian side is more relaxed and has bigger boulevards and fewer tourist attractions.
The hotel where I stayed had a spectacular design, a majestic Ottoman architecture and was decorated with great splendor. The Ottoman style involves much detail in architecture and furniture, decor. The wallpaper was very beautiful, the main inside colors were gold, white and brown wood color, a combination that looks very elegant. The curtains were not missing, they are a piece that complements the Byzantine feeling of the room, together with the colorful carpets.
It seems like Istanbul was actually made for shopping because it has so many stores where you can find everything you could ever want. From clothes, handbags, shoes, food, and condiments, to decorative objects, rugs, and many other things.
Grand Bazaar was built by Sultan Mehmet II shortly after conquering Constantinople and was the largest shopping center of the Ottoman Empire.
I spent the first day exploring the old town then went to the Grand Bazaar, the largest shopping center of present Turkey, where we did some shopping. I liked that I bargained heavily :)) If you fail to get to an agreed price with the seller, don’t be afraid to walk away and find other stores. Often the sellers will shout a lower price for you to come back and buy. These people are professionals and understand the value of each customer. Even so, the Bazaar is so big that you can find anything that you are looking for at a better price.
Istanbul of the cats
The next day I went to visit several parks in Istanbul. I was surprised to see so many cats wandering the streets, and how well they were fed by the citizens of the city. Cats rule in Istanbul. It’s their city. Locals take care of them so much, and you can even see in some places water bowls, food, or even cushions for the cats to sleep on. The cats are clean, neat and very friendly. Some cats don’t hesitate to come to foreigners for petting or play the tourist guide in this great city 🙂 The good thing is that beside the locals who take care of these animals, there are some associations who have committed to protect them.
When I got tired I stopped at a restaurant to taste some of their yummy food, and of course to drink a fresh pomegranate juice which is one of my favorite.
Trip on the Bosphorus
The third day I went on a boat trip on the Bosphorus and I admired the Asian and the European side of the city at the same time. It is the most beautiful way to see both the Bosphorus and the divided Istanbul.
If you go to Istanbul I recommend you to go on a boat trip on the Bosphorus, the view is wonderful 🙂 I arrived on the Asian side where things are totally different from the European side. If on the European side there are narrow streets and small bazaars, everything is traditional, on the Asian side everything is modern, you can find malls, markets, and elegant restaurants 🙂 I loved the feeling that I traveled from the past into the future :).
The fourth day I visited Basilica Cistern which is under Istanbul. There are many cisterns underground where water was stored for the Great Palace of Constantinople and the nearby residents. Basilica Cistern is dating from the time of the Emperor Justinian and it is impressive because it is huge and it has over 300 marble pillars. Basilica Cistern can be explored by curious tourists in a delightful ambient music. If you get hungry or thirsty, you can go to a small cafe present here for drinks and snacks.
On the other days that were left until the end of my holiday I wandered on the Turkish streets, exploring every part of the city on foot and enjoying every breathtaking view. I liked it so much here in Istanbul that I returned in the fall of 2015 🙂
Did you visit Istanbul? I would like to know from you how you liked it, and what attracted you more. Write me your thoughts in the comments below.
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