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

Friday, August 26, 2016

Istanbul: Gulhane Park & Archaelogical Museum in Turkey


As we walked out from the exit of Basilica Cistern and followed the tram railway to the cafe wall nearby the park, we were amazed by the beautiful and well-maintained public park which is known as Gulhane Park. Gulhane Park is the oldest historical park and one of the most expensive public parks in Istanbul, Turkey. Gulhane Park (House of Flowers) in Turkish is a historical urban park in Eminonu district of Istanbul. It is located at the back of Topkapi Palace  and near to Archaeological Museum. Gulhane Park is well-kept with numerous varieties of flowers and well-maintained walkway for joggers, bikers and prams. We really enjoyed sitting on the bench and admiring the landscape of flowers and trees besides enjoying the fresh air.

We also visited Istanbul of Archaelogical Museum. The museum is located on top of the slope and behind Gulhane Park. We were lucky to spot a free tram service which was available near the entrance of the cafe wall of Gulhane Park. We took the tram ride which led us to the entrance of Archaelogical Museum. 

Istanbul of Archaelogical Museum is one of 10 most important world-class museums which houses various artifacts from different civilization of different period of time. The most popular visited artifacts are during Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilization.

Archaelogical Museum opens every day from 9am to 6pm. The entrance ticket is 20TL per person. For more information, please visit Istanbul Archaelogical Museum webpage.

The historical wall surrounded within the entrance of Gulhane Park in Istanbul, Turkey
The historical wall surrounded within the entrance of Gulhane Park in Istanbul, Turkey

Pet friendly park at Gulhane Park which is located behind Topkapi Palace and near to Archeological Museum in Istanbul, Turkey
Pet friendly park at Gulhane Park which is located behind Topkapi Palace and near to Archeological Museum in Istanbul, Turkey


A beautiful Gulhane Park (House of Flowers) in Turkish is well-maintained with various flowers, trees and wider paved walkway for public, joggers, prams and bikes in Istanbul, Turkey
A beautiful Gulhane Park (House of Flowers) in Turkish is well-maintained with various flowers, trees and wider paved walkway for public, joggers, prams and bikes in Istanbul, Turkey

Tulips season at Gulhane Park which is the oldest and one of the most expensive public parks in Istanbul, Turkey
Tulips season at Gulhane Park which is the oldest and one of the most expensive public parks in Istanbul, Turkey

The guards with their horses at Gulhane Park in Istanbul, Turkey
The guards with their horses at Gulhane Park in Istanbul, Turkey       
Free shuttle ride is available to Archaelogical Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, at the entrance of Gulhane Park
Free shuttle ride is available to Archaelogical Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, at the entrance of Gulhane Park

More Islamic Mosaic patterns arrangement can be seen at Archaelogical Museum in Istanbul, Turkey
More Islamic Mosaic patterns arrangement can be seen at Archaelogical Museum in Istanbul, Turkey

Unique architecture at Archaelogical Museum in Istanbul, Turkey
Unique architecture at Archaelogical Museum in Istanbul, Turkey

This is one of the unique Islamic Mosaic patterns at Archaelogical Museum in Istanbul but you will be able to see many different kinds of Islamic Mosaic patterns arrangement in Istanbul, Turkey
This is one of the unique Islamic Mosaic patterns at Archaelogical Museum in Istanbul but you will be able to see many different kinds of Islamic Mosaic patterns arrangement in Istanbul, Turkey

Various popular artifacts from different civilization of different period of time especially during Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilization can be seen at Archaelogical Museum in Istanbul, Turkey
Various popular artifacts from different civilization of different period of time especially during Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilization can be seen at Archaelogical Museum in Istanbul, Turkey

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Sultanahmet in Turkey


After visiting Hippodrome (from my previous post), we head to the main attraction areas of Sultanahmet square and come across the signboard of Basilica Cistern. Basilica Cistern is situated across the street of Hagia Sophia at Sultanahmet in Istanbul. 

Basilica Cistern is the largest ancient cistern which provides water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople and other buildings on the First Hill and Topkapi Palace. Basilica Cistern lies under the city of Istanbul in Turkey. It was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian.

We require to walk 52-steps staircase to the basement from the ticket entrance since Basilica Cistern is situated underground. Once we get to the underground of the Basilica Cistern, we notice the ground is wet due to water splashing from the top. On top of that, it is very dark thus, it's not recommended for seniors who have problems with walking to Basilica Cistern. 

Visitors are strongly advised to put on a pair of shoes with good grips to prevent slippery. Running and jumping around are strictly prohibited in Basilica Cistern. Basilica Cistern is dark with limited lighting thus, you need to ensure your own safety as well as the safety of the others in your surrounding to prevent accidents.   

Basilica Cistern opens every day from 9am to 5:30pm. You require to use between an hour to two hours visiting Basilica Cistern. There is an entrance fee of 20TL (Turkish Lira) per person. You can visit Basilica Cistern Website  for more details.

Heading to The Basilica Cistern which is located opposite the street of Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
Heading to The Basilica Cistern which is located opposite the street of Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Basilica Cistern was built to provide water for the city of Istanbul during the reign of Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century CE in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
Basilica Cistern was built to provide water for the city of Istanbul during the reign of Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century CE in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia is an important monment during Byzantine (as a church) and for Ottoman Empires (later a mosque) and now is a museum at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia is an important monment during Byzantine (as a church) and for Ottoman Empires (later a mosque) and now is a museum at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey
Beautiful Tulips at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey during Spring
Beautiful Tulips at Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey during Spring

The Blue Mosque or Sultanahmet Camii has become a popular tourist attraction because of blue wall tiles surrounding in the building at Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
The Blue Mosque or Sultanahmet Camii has become a popular tourist attraction because of blue wall tiles surrounding in the building at Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
Healthy street dog (who is well-taken care by the government and local NGO) enjoys the nap in front of Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
Healthy street dog (who is well-taken care by the government and local NGO) enjoys the nap in front of Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey

Typical homes and hotels in Sultanahmet area as they are small within the narrow streets in Istanbul, Turkey
Typical homes and hotels in Sultanahmet area as they are small on the narrow and hilly streets in Istanbul, Turkey

Imagine how cramped the spaces between the houses in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
Imagine how cramped the spaces between the houses in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
One of the most popular local food called Kebab in Turkey which is wrapped with lettuce and meat with the bread
One of the most popular local food called Kebab in Turkey which is wrapped with lettuce and meat with the bread

The local Turkish prefer to drink Turkish Tea as Turkish Coffee is too pricey served in a tiny cup in Turkey
The local Turkish prefer to drink Turkish Tea as Turkish Coffee is too pricey served in a tiny cup in Turkey