Friday, December 2, 2016

Istanbul: Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower & Istiklal Street in Turkey


Topkapi Palace is a large palace which is used as one of the major residences of the Ottoman Sultans for almost 400 years in Istanbul, Turkey. It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985 as the best example of palaces during Ottoman period with the breathtaking view of the Bosphorus. Topkapi Palace is built over 700,000 square metres which consists of four courtyards where you are able to see artifacts and holy relics from several Prophets.

Topkapi Palace opens every day from 9am to 5pm. The entrance fee costs 40TL per person excluding the entrance fee to Harem which costs 25TL per person.


The main entrance of the most popular tourist attraction sites, Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey
The main entrance of the most popular tourist attraction sites, Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey
Topkapi Palace is crowded with visitors every day as it is one of the main attaraction area in Istanbul, Turkey
Topkapi Palace is crowded with visitors every day as it is one of the main attaraction area in Istanbul, Turkey
A well-maintained castle entrance at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey
A well-maintained castle entrance at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey

The model display of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey
The model display of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey
Topkapi Palace is filled with Ottoman designs and architecture for almost 400 years in Istanbul, Turkey
Topkapi Palace is filled with Ottoman designs and architecture for almost 400 years in Istanbul, Turkey
Enjoying the greenery and flowers at the well-maintained garden in Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey
Enjoying the greenery and flowers at the well-maintained garden in Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey
The breathtaking view of the Bosphorus is a must to enjoy before leaving Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey
The breathtaking view of the Bosphorus is a must to enjoy before leaving Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey

After staying at Sultanahmet area for several days, we move to another hotel which is located across the Bosphorus straits. It takes us about 40 minutes car ride (including the traffic) which is located nearby Taksim Square and the popular busy street called Istiklal Street. We enjoy the modern city lifestyle experience of shopping, dining and drinking at night at bars which we don't experience it around Sultanahmet area. Sultanahmet area is occupied with historical attraction buildings which are crowded with tourists in the daytime but it becomes quiet at night.

It's dog friendly city in Istanbul, Turkey even though majority of the locals are Muslim
It's dog friendly city in Istanbul, Turkey even though majority of the locals are Muslim
Stray dogs are seen healthy at Taksim Square as they are fed every evening and well-taken care by the government and Animal Welfare in Istanbul, Turkey
Stray dogs are seen healthy at Taksim Square as they are fed every evening and well-taken care by the government and Animal Welfare in Istanbul, Turkey
The heritage Deveaux Apartment is converted into a shopping mall and a boutique hotel called Mama Shelter along the busy Istiklal Street, Istanbul, Turkey
The heritage Deveaux Apartment is converted into a shopping mall and a boutique hotel called Mama Shelter along the busy Istiklal Street, Istanbul, Turkey

The heritage is preserved on the exterior building but the interior is modified into a boutique hotel along Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey
The heritage is preserved on the exterior building but the interior is modified into a boutique hotel along Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey
The boutique hotel, Mama Shelter is situated along the narrow lane which is connected to the main busy Istiklal Street near Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey
The boutique hotel, Mama Shelter is situated along the narrow lane which is connected to the main busy Istiklal Street near Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey

Mobile street cleaning along Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey
Mobile street cleaning along Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey



Istiklal Street is crowded with the locals and tourists for shopping and dining on weekends in Istanbul, Turkey
Istiklal Street is crowded with the locals and tourists for shopping and dining on weekends in Istanbul, Turkey
Galata Tower near Bosphorus Strait and Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey
Galata Tower near Bosphorus Strait and Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey

The main entrance of St Anthony of Padua Church along Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey
The main entrance of St Anthony of Padua Church along Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey

St. Anthony of Padua Church along Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey
St. Anthony of Padua Church along Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey
Pope John XXIII at St Anthony of Padua Church along Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey
Pope John XXIII at St Anthony of Padua Church along Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey
A close-up view of St Anthony of Padua Church along Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey
A close-up view of St Anthony of Padua Church along Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey
Popular shopping and restaurant destination for the locals and tourists along the busy Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey
Popular shopping and restaurant destination for the locals and tourists along the busy Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) in Turkey


Hagia Sophia or also known as Ayasofya (in Turkish) or The Church of Holy Wisdom is situated in Sultanahmet Square in the city of Istanbul, Turkey. Hagia Sophia is facing directly the opposite of Blue Mosque.

Hagia Sophia is a great architecture beauty and it is an important monument for both Byzantine and for Ottoman Empire. Hagia Sophia once served as a church, later as a mosque and now it is a museum which is very popular and a must to visit in Istanbul, Turkey. It is a real amazing to see the combination of two religions of Islam and Christianity in this building. Hagia Sophia is always crowded with a long queue of visitors every day. 
Open: Monday - Sunday (9am to 5pm)
Ticket Entrance: 40TL per person

The Church of Holy Wisdom or also known as Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
The Church of Holy Wisdom or also known as Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Entering the museum of Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Entering the museum of Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia is always crowded and a must to visit attraction site in Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia is always crowded and a must to visit attraction site in Istanbul, Turkey
Great interior design of the domes and lights in Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Great interior design of the domes and lights in Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Full view of the artistic meeting of Islam and Christianity in Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Full view of the artistic meeting of Islam and Christianity in Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Beautiful combination of the interior design  of domes, window panels and lighting in Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Beautiful combination of the interior design  of domes, window panels and lighting in Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Artistic meeting of Islamic and Christianity in Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Artistic meeting of Islamic and Christianity in Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Mosaic Panel 13th Century consists of Chris on the middle, John the Baptist on the right and Virgin Mary on the left in Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Mosaic Panel 13th Century consists of Chris on the middle, John the Baptist on the right and Virgin Mary on the left in Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Colourful Tulips in front of Hagia Sophia during Spring at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Colourful Tulips in front of Hagia Sophia during Spring at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey

Friday, October 7, 2016

Istanbul: Grand Bazaar & Blue Mosque in Turkey


Staying within Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey helps us a lot in saving time and money on public transportation. Most of popular tourist attraction sites are located within short walking distance in Sultanahmet Square. Istanbul is famous for its worse road traffic conditions during peak hours in the morning and evening every day so, it's not advisable to stay too far from the attraction sites which require to travel by public transportation.

As I mentioned in the previous posts, we stayed in Sultanahmet Square for three days before moving to another hotel near Taksim Square in Istanbul. It is a good experience staying in Sultanahmet Square (the old city which is famous for historical attraction sites) and Taksim Square (the modern city for shopping, restaurants and bars). 

On the way to Grand Bazaar or also known as Kapali Carsi (covered Bazaar), we saw the historical wall which was well-maintained in Sultanahmet area. You would be able to see this historical wall as you are coming from the international Airport to Sultanahmet area. There are more than 4,000 shops selling jewellery, textile, souvenir, traditional Turkish hand made ceramics, lamps, spices, sweets etc. at Grand Bazaar. Grand Bazaar is famous with more tourists than locals as the prices are more expensive than you can find in the local market. It is an eye-opening to visit Grand Bazaar but it's not recommended to shop there.
Open:  Monday to Saturday 9am to 7pm (except Sunday and bank holidays)
Getting There:
1) Take a tram to Beyazit, Üniversite or Sirkeci   OR
2) 15 minutes walk from the Aya Sofya/Blue Mosque area.

Historical wall within Sultanahmet square in Istanbul, Turkey
Historical wall within Sultanahmet square in Istanbul, Turkey
One of the entrances to Grand Bazaar Market in Istanbul, Turkey
One of the entrances to Grand Bazaar Market in Istanbul, Turkey
Vases, handicraft goods and scarfs can be found at Grand Bazaar in Sultanahmet area in Istanbul, Turkey
Vases, handicraft goods and scarfs can be found at Grand Bazaar in Sultanahmet area in Istanbul, Turkey
More vases and handicraft goods at Grand Bazaar in Sultanahmet area in Istanbul, Turkey
More vases and handicraft goods at Grand Bazaar in Sultanahmet area in Istanbul, Turkey
More handicraft goods at Grand Bazaar in Sultanahmet area in Istanbul, Turkey
More handicraft goods at Grand Bazaar in Sultanahmet area in Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul Universities at Sultanahmet area in Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul Universities at Sultanahmet area in Istanbul, Turkey

Sultan Ahmed Mosque or also known as Blue Mosque is a very popular attraction among tourists. Blue Mosque is situated right opposite of Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet Square. You will find long queue since early in the morning heading into the Blue Mosque. There is strict dress attire to adhere for men and women. 
For Female: 
- Cover your hair and neck with your scarf. Recommended to carry your scarf around during your trip to Turkey. 
- To ensure your clothing covering your shoulder up to your elbow as well as covering your legs (up to your feet). 
-  Recommended to wear long sleeve shirt/blouse with long skirt or long jeans. Legging and hats aren't permitted in the mosque.
For men: 
- To ensure your shirt covering your shoulder up to your elbow and long pants beyond your knee.
-  Recommended to wear long pants or long jeans during your visit to Mosque. 

Blue Mosque is popular known for its beautiful interior architectural design. High ceiling is lined up with 20,000 blue tiles from the 16th Century Iznik design (the oldest tiles featuring flowers, trees and abstract patterns). The high ceiling is lit up with 260 windows which were once filled with 17th-Century stained glass but they were lost. The windows are replaced with replicas.


Blue Mosque at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
Blue Mosque at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
Blue Mosque is a major tourist attraction at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
Blue Mosque is a major tourist attraction at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
Strict dress code to cover your hair and neck with scarf and clothing to cover your shoulder and legs before entering Blue Mosque at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
Strict dress code to cover your hair and neck with scarf and clothing to cover your shoulder and legs before entering Blue Mosque at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
Remove and keep your shoes in a plastic bag before entering Blue Mosque at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
Remove and keep your shoes in a plastic bag before entering Blue Mosque at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
Feeling fascinated and amazed with beautiful interior design as I walked into Blue Mosque at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
Feeling fascinated and amazed with beautiful interior design as I walked into Blue Mosque at Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
Feeling amazed with beautiful interior blue tiles from the 16th Century Iznik design at Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
Feeling amazed with beautiful interior blue tiles from the 16th Century Iznik design at Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
The interior is lit with 260 windows which were once filled with 17th Century stained glass but sadly they were lost and replaced by replicas at Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
The interior is lit with 260 windows which were once filled with 17th Century stained glass but sadly they were lost and replaced by replicas at Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
Blue Mosque is known for the lining of 20,000 blue tiles from the 16th Century Iznik design (the oldest tiles featuring flowers, trees and abstract patterns) in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
Blue Mosque is known for the lining of 20,000 blue tiles from the 16th Century Iznik design (the oldest tiles featuring flowers, trees and abstract patterns) in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
Visitors are not permitted to enter the praying hall at Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Visitors are not permitted to enter the praying hall at Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
The praying hall at Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey
The praying hall at Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul, Turkey