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My Escapes Turkey Istanbul Short Stay in Istanbul

Short Stay in Istanbul

May 30, 2014

Istanbul has a strong notoriety when it comes to travel and culture.
I wanted to see it for real, what makes it so special and how it really feels in Istanbul.

After hearing a lot stories, seeing photos, reading about it and watching videos, an image was formed in my mind about Istanbul, which proved to be far from reality.

Istanbul was substantially different from what I imagined! But not in the negative sense, it's just different... The look, the feel...

It's surprisingly clean. Squeaky! I'd say - not at all below London or Singapore.

People are very quiet and kind with travelers. It's also supposed to be a very safe city. Not much theft to worry about!

Prices? Jaws wide open, hands down, feet clapping in the air - very cheap!

I expected vaster old quarters, very old buildings, but I was surprised to come across a mostly modern city. Vast, indeed - it's a concrete jungle of more than 14 million people!

It took 3.5 hours for me to get from the Sabiha Gökçen Airport to my hotel (Hotel Pamfilia) found in the Gülhane zone, deep in the Golden Horn area.

Basically: I took a bus from the airport to Haydarpaša Gari, from there by ferry to Eminönü (but with a stop-over at Karaköy), then by tram to Gülhane... phew, arrived!

By that time it has gotten dark already... This is how huge Istanbul is!

The Golden Horn

The Golden Horn

This is where Istanbul's core historic heart is located.

The Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Topkapi Museum, old houses... I'd also add the fact that it's a good place for eating and you should also concentrate on finding a hotel in this area - for getting around easier.


The Amazing Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

It's a gigantic mosque... it used to be a Byzantine Christian church, but it was transformed into a mosque during the Ottoman period.
I headed right to the Hagia Sophia on my first morning in Istanbul!


Why the Topkapi Museum Has Stunned Me!

The Topkapi Museum

I was jaw-open to see apple-sized polished emeralds, glowing beautiful diamonds, but even Prophet Mohammed's tooth relic and a staff that's said to have belonged to Moses!

And this is just a little bit of all the amazing things that you can see in the Topkapi Museum!


The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque

There's another huge mosque right in front of the Haya Sophia.
It's commonly known as "The Blue Mosque" (due to the colour of its tiles), otherwise its official name is Sultan Ahmed Mosque.

It was built in the very early 1600s and it's still in an amazingly good condition.


Walking Around in the Sultanahmet Area

Sultanahmet, Istanbul

Sultanahmet is in the heart of Istanbul's historic Golden Horn area.

I took several enjoyable sightseeing trips, even munched a few delicacies and bought some souvenirs.


Eating and drinking in Istanbul

Istanbul foods

If you don't taste at least several genuine Turkish delicacies, you don't know what you're missing!

Here are some suggestions, ideas on what to eat and drink when in Istanbul.


The Mega City at the Bosporus

The Bosporus Strait

Istanbul, Constantinople, Byzantium... a strategically well-situated mega city. A centre for trade, tourism, transportation and a place with rich ancient history.

Why is it so? What makes Istanbul so special?

A little philosophy on this issue...


Istanbul's Top Attractions Not to Miss

Istanbul's top attractions

In the end, I've seen some attractions and missed out on others.

So, I decided to put this list together - just in case you have enough time to visit the city.
I think 3-4 days would suffice for visiting these places.


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