Walking through Istanbul

Savory, color, diversity, crowds, Bosphorus, sun, warm, joy. A few words that come to mind when I think of our trip to Istanbul or Constantinople as it was called until 1930. I could hardly wait to discover the culture, life and being of a people who conquered the world, to explore the capital of the Empire Byzantine.

Istanbul is the only megalopolis in the world on two continents, a wonderful amalgam that will surely leave you a pleasant impression. It covers more than 100 km and has a population of 18.8 million inhabitants, it is the largest human agglomeration in Europe. Truly impressive!

At such a population and the very large number of tourists you will immediately notice the crowding, even if the city enjoys the freeway in the heart of the city if you drive by car you will be caught in traffic, so I recommend you to take the subway or just walk from one side to the other. Personally I really like to take it step by step when I visit because it fascinates me with everything around me and I don’t want to miss anything. In addition, you have the opportunity to discover all kinds of places that are not found on tourist maps.

This city is so diverse, so if you go from one neighborhood to another you will see huge differences in the architecture of buildings, culture and people.
We went during the election, so the city was very busy because everyone stayed in the city over the weekend to participate in the elections. It was very interesting to see the joy of the people that was chosen the one they wanted. I saw some very happy people, fireworks, joy, music and fun.

Here’s what we managed to see and do on our trip:

On the first day, I went, of course, to the historical center.

In Istanbul there are over 3000 mosques, the largest of these being the Suleymaniye Mosque, but we visited the most famous. Muslims hold five prayers a day, so the call for prayer (muezzin) will surprise you in every corner of the city.

1. The Blue Mosque

Officially known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Blue Mosque is positioned opposite the Hagia Sophia and is easily recognizable after the six minarets (Hagia Sophia has only four). It is the most popular mosque in Istanbul and the national mosque of Turkey, being one of the symbols of this country.
Ahmed I decided to build the building in order to build a mosque in Istanbul to bear his name, but also to compete or even to surpass the largest mosque in the city at that time, Hagia Sophia. It seems that the sultan’s desire for success was so great that he ordered the execution of an architect before giving Mehmet Ağa the responsibility for the project.
The works began in August 1606, being inaugurated by Ahmed I. The details of the constructions are meticulously described in a series of eight volumes that are now in the library of Topkapi Palace.
In order to enter the Blue Mosque you have to get out, because you get to a sacred place for Muslims. You get everything you need at the mosque entrance.
The entry is free.

2. Hagia Sophia

The name of the church is Holy Wisdom and is also called in the Greek-Byzantine version Αγια Σοφια / Hagia Sophia. Considered by some authors to be the eighth wonder of the late ancient world, Saint Sophia is nevertheless a glory of the human constructive genius. It represented the center of the religious life of the Eastern Roman Empire, serving in this position for 916 years. After the Turkish conquest it served as a mosque for another 482 years, and after 1935 it became a museum at the initiative of the great Turkish reformer Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Entry costs 72 LT.

3. Topkapi Palace

On the place where the palace stands today, the so-called Sarayburnu, an area overlooking the Golden Horn, the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus, was still from the Byzantine times the Acropolis of Constantinople. Located near the great cathedral Hagia Sofia, this was the most important point of the city where many events, meetings and sometimes even shows took place.
It was the residence of the Ottoman sultans and it is a complex complex, with four courts passing from one to the other and a multitude of rooms.
Admission costs 72 LT without visiting the Harem rooms, if you want to visit the Harem you also pay 42 TL.

4. Also in the area of ​​the historical center is the Cistern Basilica

This is also called the “Submerged Palace” because the marble columns that compose it rise from the water and seem immeasurable. It was built during the reign of Justinian I, and represents a section of an impressive network of basins built during that period to feed the city with water. The basilica has 336 columns. The main attraction of the Cistern Basilica is represented by the two jellyfish heads arranged quite strangely: one turned, the other arranged on the side.
The atmosphere they created is very interesting. All columns are illuminated and the light is reflected in water.
Entry costs: 20 LT

5. After visiting the historical center I took it on foot to the Grand Bazaar, it is quite close, I made about 15-20 minutes down there.

A really interesting experience, everyone is trying to sell you something. You will find everything you want, Turkish shit, teas, souvenirs, gold, but also a lot of “Brands”. Do not expect bazaar prices, this place is a tourist attraction, so it has bespoke prices, and when negotiating I honestly do not understand at all and do not know if it still works as it used to say so.

6. The Galata Tower

It is located in the northern part of the Golden Horn port in the Karakoy district. It is one of the biggest attractions of the city, thanks to the 360 ​​degree panorama over Istanbul. We did not climb the tower, we only admired it from the outside because it was a huge queue that we did not want to stay, but we wanted to explore the surroundings.

7.Istiklal Cadesi-Taksim Square
Istiklal Boulevard is the main shopping street. Here you will find all kinds of shops, restaurants, souvenirs and especially people. If you look in the distance you will see a lot of people, it is so crowded that you wonder where this huge flow of people comes from. Colors, music, people, food, clothes and especially the Red Tram are just a few items you can enjoy there. Modern air, but also vintage, you have everything you want!

8. Cruise on the Bosphorus
Surely the Bosphorus cruise is for me in the top of the experiences that I can hardly wait to repeat when I return to Istanbul. I love be on the water, and when you have what to admire is even more beautiful. And the luxurious houses on the Bosphorus shore are really to be admired, but also the bridges that connect the European and the Asian side. Plus it’s super cool to get from one continent to another in just 20 minutes, so you only visit one city but you can say you were on two continents. Haha. The bridges offer spectacular views, especially at night, when lit, so I recommend you cruise both day and night.

9. Walking along the Bosphorus. I no longer get tired of walking and looking around. It’s so relaxing and enjoyable. Plus you have a lot of benches that you can sit on to enjoy what you see. We were fortunate enough to sit near a street artist who sang all the old-school songs that I adore. It was a dream time!

10. The food in Istanbul is delicious, from street food such as the fish sandwich bought from the Bosphorus, the sausages, the boiled corn, the baked chestnuts, the ice cream, the baklava, the turkish delight or the fresh fruit at the waterfront restaurants.

Our luck is that we have friends in Istanbul who took us to restaurants with absolutely delicious food.
I recommend :
The House Cafe Ortakoy is a restaurant on the Bosphorus. The view is incredible and the breakfast is authentic and delicious. You have a table full of goodies that you no longer get tired of and enjoy and a dream view.

Namli Gurme Karakoy is a restaurant where the food is just as delicious! The interesting part about this is that inside the restaurant there is a kind of market / supermarket with all kinds of goodies. You will see in the photos below. A super interesting and unique place to eat.

11. Quiet or fun evenings. Nightlife is endless in Istanbul.

We went to Bebek Hotel because they have a very cute rooftop where you can enjoy a unique view. I admired the sunset there and it was dreamy!

The other night I went to La Mancha, a Latin air restaurant that after a certain hour turns into a club if you like to dance and so on.

12. The streets of Istanbul.

We went for a long walk and found all kinds of beautiful places I want to share with you.


This was our experience in Istanbul, whenever I would repeat it with pleasure. A place where you have diversity, here you surely find something to your liking. Enjoy!

  • A.Coşkun ORTAC

    August 11, 2019 at 7:22 am Reply

    Thank you so much. For promoting my country very well. I love you.

  • Coskun ORTAC

    August 11, 2019 at 7:31 am Reply

    Thank you so much. For promoting my country very well. I love you.

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