Artikel-Schlagworte: „Istanbul“

Sleeping in Istanbul

Accommodation in Istanbul covers the full range of lodgings, from luxury palace hotels through charming, historic inns to simple, but clean and cheap pensions and hostels or even rental villas and apartments.

Five-star hotels offer luxury and all services, especially when they are connected with worldwide chains. However, they are more expensive than the local chains which offer a bit less class but better value. Breakfast is definitely not included in the normal rates and costs for them may be amazing in many cases. On the other hand breakfast can be included into package deals.

Four-star hotels are very comfortable, mainly local hotels which are actually independent or small Turkish chains. The staff is usually multilingual, they have nice restaurants, bars and offer very good breakfast.

Three – star hotels often offer rooms with satellite TV, minibars or even swimming pools and nightclubs. They can be rather found in smaller cities and resorts.

Two or one star hotels are very simple, homey very often like a European pension. They do not offer a lot of services. However, Wifi Internet, TV in the lounge, clean rooms with private shower and simple breakfast may be found there.

It is recommended to book a room in advance especially if you travel to Istanbul in spring and autumn as they are the busiest times. Have in mind that several months in advance are not too early to reserve. At this time you also have to expect higher prices.

The best way how to accommodate is to reserve at least the first night or two of your stay as the day you arrive will be confusing and time-consuming enough without having to look at several hotels to find the room you want at a price you want to pay. Even when it happens the hotel you booked is not what you want, you can always find another one and you do not have to search for it the first night you arrive when you are tired and totally unfamiliar with the new place.

Perfect Dinner in Istanbul

There are a lot of perfect restaurants where you can enjoy delicious and modern cuisine that fuses east and west. Beside them there are cafes or just bistros where you can enjoy a break during your sightseeing tour.

La Mouette is a restaurant with unique view over the old city. However, the more important information is that there are two chefs who are doing stellar work using locally- sourced ingredients..

Lokanta Maya is actually a casual neighbourhood bistro where the mucver and zucchini frifters are so popular that the chef has written the recipe of them on a mirror in the dining room so customers stop asking for it.

If you fancy for kebap, then the best choice is the Siirt Seref Buryan Kebap Salonu which specialises in buryan kebab. A side of a small lamb is slowly cooked over coals in a deep hole in the ground which results in exceptionally tender meat covered in a thin layer of crackling, crunchy fat.

Tarihi Karakoy Balikcisi is excellent restaurant with a long history as it has been opened since 1923 which is a reliable supply of extremely fresh fish. It is a place for gourmands from all over Istanbul.

In case you want to just stop for a coffee and watch the city to by, then visit Eminonu ferry docks. The main draw here is the fried fish sandwich which is prepared on colourful illuminated boats that rock steadily on the water.

Galata Konak Café has a great view of the Bosporus and Golden Horn on one side and the marvellous medieval Galata Tower on the other. It is on the top floor of a three-storey historic building where you will find velvet armchairs, chandeliers and gramophones or simple terrace with wooden tables and wicker chairs.

Sightseeing in Istanbul

Aya Sofya is called the Church of the Divine Wisdom in English. This is the most famous monument which has long and fascinating history. It was built by Emperor Justinian. The dome which is 30 m in diameter is supported by 40 massive ribs constructed of special hollow bricks made in Rhodes from a unique light and porous clay, resting on four huge pillars concealed in the interior walls.

In the side aisle to the northeast of the imperial door is the weeping column with a worn copper facing pierced by a hole. Legend says that the pillar is that of St. Gregory the Miracle Worker and that putting one´s finger in the hole can lead to ailments being healed if the finger emerges moist.

Topkapi Palace – this palace is the subject of more colourful stories than most of the world´s museums put together. It was the home of Selim the Sot who drowned in the bath after drinking too much champagne, Ibrahim the Crazy who lost his reason after being locked up for four years in the infamous palace kafes and Roxelana beautiful and malevolent consort of Suleiman the Magnificent. One hour tour is done in large groups, so you need to negotiate if you want to take the tour in a small group or by yourself. A collection of lush green courtyards and delicate kiosk, the Topkapi boasts and treasury to put the crown jewels in the shade, as well as views to die for over the Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and Golden Horn. The secretive harem – really just the family quarters – is a warren of lushly-tiled rooms wrapped round a gem of a Turkish bath.

The city´s most romantic attraction, the Basilica cistern, offers an insight into the complicated system which brought drinking water into Istanbul from Thrace. It was constructed in the sixth century and then forgotten for centuries. Do not miss the upside-down head of Medusa which forms the bottom of one column. The cistern that once stored the water has been fitted with lights and music. Fish flitter around the bases of the 336 columns which support the ceiling.

Istanbul archaeology museums – if you do not have so much time then go straight to the large porticoed building housing the glorious sarcophagus of Alexander which depicts scenes from the life of Alexander the Great. Children will for sure love the model of Trojan Horse in the children´s section. Afterwards go into the lovely tiled Pavilion which is beautifully restored to show off its finest ceramics.

Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum is housed in what originally was the palace of Ibrahim Pasha, a favourite grand vizier of Suleiman the Magnificent, and overlooking the Hippodrome where Byzantine lovers of chariot racing once brought the same passion to their sport as modern Turks do to football. This museum houses a great collection of gigantic carpets from all over the country. Do not go away without trying a thick black Turkish coffee in the pretty café in the grounds.

This is Istanbul

Istanbul belongs to the largest cities and it is divided into a European side and an Asian side. The best time to visit this beautiful city is in spring or autumn when the city is filled with festivals. However, if you like hot weather and sun then summer time is better for you. On the other side if you want to experience something unique, then winter is also great as it is enlivened by magical snow falls.

During the golden days of the Ottoman Empire, extravagant celebrations were held on every possible occasion, with the sultan providing most of the excuses. For the circumcision of the three sons of the sultan Suleiman, tents sewn with tulips were raised on gold-plated poles at the Hippodrome. People were entertained by tightrope walkers on a cord stretched from the Egyptian Obelisk at its centre.

Within the 20th century new holidays were added, mostly those heavily marketed like Valentine´s Day, Mother´s Day or even Christmas which naturally tends to get confused with New Year´s Day which is given by the fact that more than 95 per cent of the population is Muslim.

The recent years have brought the full –blown festive spirit back. At present, except winter, there is a festival of some kind every month. The city´s youthful population gives these events dynamism. Many of these events are superbly managed and promoted by the Istanbul Foundation for Arts and Cultures which consistently attracts a roster of international big names.

The main event in the Islamic calendar is Kurban Bayrami which can be translated as the Feast of the Sacrifice. It marks Abraham´s near sacrifice of Isaac. Traditionally, families buy a kurban which could be a sheep, bull goat or came and they sacrifice it on the first or second day of the feast. Afterwards they share this meat with relatives, neighbours and the poor.