Let me start by saying this article is in essence capturing the beauty of Turkey, the many places to see, the amazing landscape, and of course the food!
Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque & Mosaic museums
This is your quick overlook on the enchanting Sultanahmet District. I would be surprised if you have visited Turkey but have not been to Sultanahmet because this is the central point to all the tourist attractions and is only walking distance from Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet mosque, spice market, Topkapi palace, mosaic museums, grand bazaar, the Bosporus and much, much more.
The sound of the call to prayer would resonate five times a day which bathes throughout the streets of Istanbul.
Sultanahmet is full of numerous hotels in every street. Therefore, there is a paramount of tourists within this district; so you can expect liveliness and crowds.
There is also plenty of open space and parks if you’re a nature person. There is somewhere to go for everyone.
The interior designs are an immense part of Turkish culture and architecture. The design of the mosques is both distinctive and intricate. I had gone on the cable cars which was an impressive experience. Given the amazing establishments and ancient monuments, there is always a great moment to capture.
The grand bazaar is fancy and great for getting souvenirs, gifts and something for yourself, of course. I would suggest ensuring you allow yourself plenty of time in the bazaar as it is huge but every store is worth popping into within the hustle-bustle of the market.
More locally to my hotel (in the Sultanahmet District) was the Arasta Bazaar behind the Blue Mosque which was a pleasure roaming. There are many who stroll around shops even after midnight as the shops are still active, open and lit. It was indeed so much cooler to stroll when the sun sets in the evening. Walking the streets felt safe as I was never really far from my hotel and never really needed to be as everything including McDonalds was all close by, therefore it was also so much easier to find my way around places and back.
Dolmabahçe Palace and Bosporus Tour- Black Sea (Karadeniz)
Istanbul is filled with numerous fascinating places with enough remarkable historic sites to occupy a significant amount of time. There is a chain of places to visit, one greater than the other. It’s better to plan doing something new every day rather than trying to engulf and indulge in it all in one day as it is very enchanting in wanting to explore it all in an instance. Doing everything in one day will not be worthwhile because taking it slow will allow you to appreciate the splendid environment surrounding you and give you time to capture phenomenal images on your camera without exhausting yourself. Be sure to go on a Bosporus cruise to get a complete view of Istanbul!
There are countless restaurants in which the atmosphere and the environment are soothing. Personally, I loved being outdoors under a shelter in the warm weather with a fan bursting coolness as I drank my coffee and enjoyed my adventure in food. There was also lively music and friendly Turkish hospitality. You cannot possibly leave Turkey not having a taste of the çay (tea) or Türk kahvesi (coffee). It is splendacious.
There are many street side food and snacks as well, like bagels (Simit), fresh fish sandwiches (Balik-ekmek), kebabs, roasted chestnuts (Kestane), roasted corn and ice cream (Dondurma).
Ever since arriving in Turkey, it was astonishing to see cats everywhere I went. One of which I spent a lot of time with was this cat as the cat was nearly always in the veranda of the hotel I stayed at.
While many of the cats are not owned by anyone, they are very well taken care of by everyone around. So they seem to be in safe hands by many. There is a big community that aid cats in providing food, shelter and company. Thus, cat caring becomes a responsibility for all.
Cats seem to be a very precious animal in Istanbul as they are an integral living charm of Istanbul. They do a good job at protecting households from devastation by mice. This is no different among other Muslim countries for treasuring cats. There are numerous examples of the Prophet’s (PBUH) fondness for cats.
They are extremely friendly, not at all wild in any way. They come in different sizes, colours and textures, and whilst some can be cuddly and furry, others can be tougher.
It is a norm for cats to welcome themselves into the cafes and restaurants without anyone even bothering to move them elsewhere. They circulate around tables and on seats in search of the most calm and comfy spot.
There is always so much to see and so much to do, so you cannot really get enough or come to the point of not knowing what to do next. At least after reading this hopefully you will know exactly where to be, where to go and what to do. Everyone who I had encountered whilst at Turkey was so friendly, pleasant and helpful which enhanced my stay.
And that is all from me on the topic of travel to Istanbul, Turkey…