Take a Turkish Bath in Istanbul
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Most tourists stay in the old walled part of the city to best experience the history and culture that one of the world's oldest cities has to offer. During your visit be sure to visit the Blue Mosque, the Haige Sophia, the Harem, Topkapi Palace, the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar and most definitely a Turkish Bathhouse.
The Blue Mosque
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque, is the national mosque of Turkey
The Hagia Sophia
Across from the Blue Mosque is the Hagia Sophia which means divine wisdom in Greek. It was an Orthodox cathedral that was built in 360 then transformed into a mosque in 1453. For one thousand years it was the largest cathedral in the world until the completion of the Seville Cathedral in Spain in 1520. In 1934, it was turned into a museum and remains a popular tourist attraction.
Harem at Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace was the former residence for the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire from 1463 to 1853 and has since been transformed into a huge museum. For an extra fee on top of admission you can visit the Imperial Harem – the private apartments of the Sultan, his mother, his concubines and his wives and children
Concubines were beautiful intelligent young women from affluent families in neighboring countries brought into the Harem at a tender age where they were groomed to be potential wives of the sultan. As they grew up they could work their way up in the Harem to become kalfas or ustas and if they shared a bed with the Sultan they could achieve the ranks of Gözde (the Lucky), Ikbal (the Favorite) or one of four Kadın (the Wife) as Muslim law permits a man to have four wives.
Spice Market and Grand Bazaar
The Spice Market, completed in 1660, is part of the Yeni Mosque and was initially constructed so that rent from the shops could help pay for the upkeep of the mosque. The L-shaped building consisting of 88 vaulted rooms is the second largest covered shopping complex in the city next to the Grand Bazaar and is the center for spice trade in Istanbul.
The Grand Bazaar, also known as the Grand Souq, is one of the world’s largest covered markets boasting over 58 streets and 4000 shops and selling everything from jewellery, pottery and carpets to leather coats, spice and sweets. The market, which sees between 250,000 to 400,000 visitors everyday, is much easier to find your way into than out of
Your visit to Istanbul would not be complete without a visit to one of the many historic co-ed, male only or female only bathhouses. After a steamy sweat on a marble slab, you will be bathed and massaged by a bath attendant. Afterwards you may want to enjoy a swim in the pool or a soak in the sauna then relax in the lobby and drink a cup of Turkish tea.
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