Istanbul not Constantinople

Apparently 12.5 million people live in Istanbul. Did you know that? I sure as hell didn’t, but according to Wikipedia it is true. So in essence the place is big, bloody big and extends far beyond where we have visited in our three days here.

Where we are staying, where most backpackers stay it seems, is Sultanahmet. It is a quaint enough spot right next to the Sea of Marmara and more importantly in the shadow of the massive and opposing structures Aya Sofia and The Blue Mosque. It is perfect for seeing the old town, but unfortunately is overly populated by spruikers for ‘authentic’ restaurants, carpet sellers and stalls selling shit.

The whole place it seems, is making last minute preparations for ‘the season’. A time when Aussies and Kiwis descend on Istanbul and Turkey more widely for ANZAC ceremonies at Gallipoli.  By arriving at Gallipoli in the next couple of days we should hopefully miss the over enthusiastic patriotism and the hordes. Expect pics from there soon.

So what have we done in Istanbul?

3447645553 1a4dda53c7 b Istanbul not Constantinople Well we visited the Blue Mosque at sunset

3448524270 3856c15b06 b Istanbul not Constantinople Have seen  Aya Sofia, both inside  (read description of what I am doing here)

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and out.

3448565346 d2b601ceb2 b Istanbul not ConstantinopleHaggled for and then ate too much Turkish delight from the Spice Bazaar. Despite instructing Elizabeth to flick her blonde hair that has the local men so enthralled, we still paid through the nose.

3448581176 b13981d2d8 b Istanbul not Constantinople After gorging ourselves on Turkish Delight we walked across the Galata Bridge, being sure to dodge the fishermen pulling tiny yet plentiful fish from the water below.

3448581176 b13981d2d8 b Istanbul not ConstantinopleOnce across the bridge we visited the Galata Tower built in 1348 and then enjoyed a spot of promenading on Istikal Caddesi before a few beers and  a meze dinner at Refik.

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Finally today we visited Topkapi Palace which is not nearly done justice in photographs3449800611 32a4a335e7 b Istanbul not Constantinopleand following a recommendation from Peter Bale visited the Basilica Cistern, an enormous water reservoir under the city. The reservoir was created in 52 AD and was made by pillaging ruined buildings from the BC period.

Tomorrow we leave for Canakkale on a 7.00 am ferry. From there we will visit the ancient site of Troy along with Gallipoli. I am especially looking forward to visiting Gallipoli. Until then check out all our Turley images here.

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  • Marty

    I liked your post but especially photos are great. Istanbul has many other attractions. You can get information and suggestions form maybe next time. Also time is never enough to discover that city.