Exotic Istanbul

Trip Start Jul 25, 2011
Trip End Aug 14, 2011

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Where I stayed
Richmond Hotel Istanbul
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Turkey  ,
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    Our full day in Istanbul took us to discover a number of Istanbul's famous landmarks including Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  A Christian Church for almost a thousand years, this magnificent structure served as a mosque after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by the Ottomans, who added minarets and fountains.  In 1934, the founder of the Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk, designated it a museum to be shared with the world.    It is most famous for the beautiful frescoes found within and you will still see a mixture of Islamic as well as Christian influence within as well as without.

    We also had a chance to explore the nearby At Meydam, better known as the Hippodrome, with its famous Egyptian obelisk brought over by Constantine.  The Hippodrome was the center of life in Byzantine Constantinople for more than 1,000 years, and then Ottoman Istanbul for 400 more.  We stopped into the Blue Mosque, which is definitely my favorite in the city, the Cisterns, and the Asian portion of Istanbul.

    Since we were staying in the Taksim area, we walked along Istiklal Caddesi, the main street leading through the heart of Art Nouveau-Istanbul.  It is a busy, bustling street, particularly at night with lots of restaurants and cafes along it and its side streets.  The architecture here, is interesting with its Art Nouveau designs mixed in with more traditional forms. 

    Although we had no time to visit many of the other fantastic sites in Istanbul, we were fortunate in that we have been here before and had already walked the exotic bazaars, visited the beautiful Blue Mosque, stopped by Topkapi Palace,  and crossed the Golden Horn.  Just walking the streets of Istanbul reveal many beautiful mosques, parks, alleyways, you name it.  If you have the chance, spend a minimum of four full days in Istanbul to just begin to savor the city.

My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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