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Category Istanbul

Topkapi Palace: Istanbul – Intricacy at its best

It’s so difficult to choose which of Istanbul’s historical avatars appeals to us the most. There are stories of riches and rags. But Topkapi Palace definitely pushes Constantinople to the top. The seat of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet naturally had to enjoy the best location with views of the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, all at once. I’d heard so much about the beautiful blue Iznik tiles (which I

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Grand Bazaar Istanbul: Souvenirs you must buy

I’d been dreaming of the Grand Bazaar Istanbul ever since the day I first heard about it. In my mind’s eye I’d already painted a picture of a dingy Ali Baba-esque cave, with glittering treasures within. So when we finally got to Istanbul, I couldn’t wait to go shopping to the world’s oldest shopping mall. The Grand Bazaar has four main entrances. This used to be the trading centre of Istanbul,

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Chora Church, Istanbul: A hidden gem

The Chora Church, Istanbul is an often overlooked, unique and offbeat attraction in Istanbul. The reason? It’s really far away from Sultanahmet and the Blue Mosque where you’ll likely be staying. Getting there was a bit tedious, having to change trams and buses (trying to catch the correct bus at a large terminal where nobody spoke English was testing) followed by a long walk along the old city walls of

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What to eat in Istanbul: Our favourite food and restaurants

Wondering what to eat in Istanbul? We faced the same dilemma. We’d never eaten Turkish food before, and while Sultanahmet can be a great area to stay by its proximity to all the sights, a lot of places can be tourist traps. Nonsense. We had some amazing experiences while devouring some incredible meals. Breakfast The traditional take on Turkish breakfast is quite interesting, and we were a bit flummoxed on

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Bosphorus Cruise, Istanbul – Floating between continents

Cruising the Bosphorus is naturally on the top of things to do in Istanbul for any traveller. It’s the one activity that encompasses the most unique facet of this city that sits straddling two continents at once. I couldn’t wait to cruise the waters that lay between Europe and Asia, taking in two continents in one panorama. Picking a cruise was the tricky bit, because cruise companies were a dime

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The Blue Mosque, Istanbul – Of intricate splendour

The first image that came to my mind when I thought about visiting Istanbul was the big beautiful Blue Mosque. Oh to be standing in front of one of the world’s finest mosques. I couldn’t wait. So the first night we landed, cold and tired, we ran straight to the Hippodrome, which was walking distance from our apartment. And right there, alongside the Hippodrome, standing tall, towering before us with

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The Istanbul Guide

Istanbul isn’t just a beautiful destination to travel to. It’s also absolutely unlike any other destination in the world. Turkey’s capital city is the ideal tourist spot with so many sights and attractions for the traveller to take in. The intricate architecture on the mosques and palaces, the colourful and exotic bazaars, the breathtaking Bosphorus.  From being an enchanting stop on the old hippie trail to turning into cinema’s exotic

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One Picture Story: Istanbul

Hüzün. The turkish word for melancholy is beautifully explained in an entire chapter of Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul: Memories and the City. I haven’t been able to finish this book, even though it’s been a while since I got back from Istanbul. Much like the book, the city is deep, complex and takes forever to understand. It takes forever to peel back its layers and unearth centuries of stories, of a

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Hotel Ayasofya, Istanbul: The heart of the old city

The Ayasofya hotel is a beautiful 19th Century Ottoman home that has since been restored and operated as a hotel offering Turkish hospitality and a chance for travellers to experience the local community. Rumour has it that the mehmet from Sultanahmet Mosque used to live here. Naturally, the Ayasofya Hotel seemed like a great place for us to stay in Istanbul. There’s a reason I love Europe. Stories. Europe, not

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