4 Days in Istanbul

hagia_sofia

Welcome to you ! This is my first post on belikebattuta and I hope you will enjoy it.
My name is Wajih and I’m here to share with you my travel dream. The beginning of a project is always hard, so be gentle with me for my first post 🙂 . Like George Orwell said:

“Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing.”

All right, so it means that belikebattuta will be disappointing ? Of course NOT but you will see the progress slowly.
Anyway today I want to show you the beauty of the majestic city of Istanbul.
I’ve decided that this city will be the first step of my long trek life, it means a lot to me to have chosen Istanbul
because it inspires me culturally and historically.

Choosing Istanbul was not very easily acceptable for my family and my friends..
They told me not to go because of the lack of security of this country. What am I suppose to do ?
Stay home within my 4 walls? I decided that my fear of insecurity will not beat my dream of liberty.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Benjamin Franklin. Of course you deserve both of them and what I advise you to do, is to ask someone who lives in there before making your choice. That is what I did before I left.

DAY 1

Topkapi old Palace

topkapi

The palace is a must see place for those who are in love with history. You can see the heritage of the Ottomans,
the luxurious gold-plated copper kitchen utensils, the European, Chinese and Japanese porcelain located in royal kitchen.

In the armoury you will find arms and weapons. The main attraction is in the Chamber of the Holy Relics, located within the Privy Room.
You will find the Holy Mantle of the Prophet; the hair from the Prophet’s beard; the reliquary in which was kept the Prophet’s tooth, broken during the Battle of Uhud on 19 March 625; and the footprints, letters, bow, and sword of the Prophet. There are also holy relics attributed to other prophets and to the companions of the Prophet Muhammad: the tray used by Abraham; the staff of Moses; the sword of David; the robe of Joseph; the swords of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions; and the shirt, mantle, praying mat, and chest of Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah.
It took me half day to visit the Topkapi palace but you can do it in hours. If you want to visit the Harem, first you have to buy a ticket for Topkapi palace.

Average time: 3hrs
Price: Topkapi (+ Harem): 12€ (+7€)

garden

You will be astonished how beautiful the gardens of the Sultanahmet area are ! Fountains and flowers with several colours, trees and palms all around. The entrance for the blue mosque is free for tourists. For women you have to wear a headscarf and cover your feet.

Average time : 2hrs
Price: FREE

DAY 2

Hagia Sophia

inside

I fell in love with Hagia Sophia ! The church of the divine wisdom built by Justinian converted into a mosque by Sultan Ahmet.

Don’t forget to go to the second floor if you want to see the mosaics ! Enjoy the view.. Just before the exit, on your left you will see buildings, its 5 tombs that belonged to Ottoman Sultans and their family members.

Average time : 2hrs
Price: 12€
Average time : 2hrs
Price: 12€

The basilica Cistern

topkapi

After Hagia Sophia I advise you to visit the cistern because its very close (located 500 feet (150 m) southwest of the HagiaSophia). Be careful because the ground is wet, at the bottom of it you will see the main attraction : the medusa.  The both Medusa head pillar and at the mid of cistern are the Hen’s Eye column.

Average time : 1 hour
Price: 6€

Gulhane park and museums

topkapi

After a little stroll around the garden and sit for a break, You can eat here if you have picked up some lunch. After that I visited The History of Science & Technology in Islam Museum which is located inside the garden. It took me one hour.

Average time : 2hrs
Price: FREE

Day 3

The Istanbul Archaeology Museums

The third day I woke up late because I was tired.. It’s important to rest and take time for you, don’t forget that you are in holliday and not in a rush. Obviously you won’t see all the attractions.. Its OK!! Don’t push yourself too hard.

The museum is between Topkapi palace and Gulhane park. The particularity of the Eminönü district is that is contains the majority of the must see places and they are close to each other. The museum have 3 buildings, you can visit all of them for one entrance fee.

To look around the main building, will take you more than 1 hour. Inside of it there are one million objects that represent almost all of the eras and civilisation in world history.

Average time : 2hrs
Price: 6€

Galata tower

topkapi

Galata tower offers you a wonderful view of both sides of Istanbul. You have a lift that takes you to the rooftop.
You have access to the restaurant inside. Once you finished the crowded circle tour, the exit is by stairs.
Taksim place is not far away.. Just follow the people until you see the crowded avenue. 🙂
A lot of people like to go to chill out in this avenue, you can find traditional pastry, perfume, drinks and usual occidental stores.

Average time : 3hrs
Price: 6€

The Cemberlitas Turkish Bath
The famous Cemberlitas Bath is situated on the Divanyolu, facing the Vezir Hani side of the hooped Column of Constantine. It’s part of Turkish history because it was commissioned by the wife of Sultan Ahmet II. The masseur (for men) and the masseuse (for women) will take care of you 🙂 . Its open at 6am until midnight. Females and males are in separate quarters.

Average time : As you want (Yes ! yes !)
Price : The starter pack will cost you 22€.

Day 4

Bosphorus Boat Tour

topkapi

There are 3 ports at Eminonu, you have to take the one for tourists which is based near the bridge.
You have 2 options :

Catch the boat at 10 o’clock ==> Stop every time to take passengers until the last stop. Total travel time including return trip will take around 5-6 hrs.
Catch the boat at 12 o’clock ==> Bring you to next and last stop Anadolu kavagi. TTT: 2-3hrs.

When you reach the Anadolu kavagi, first thing to do is to check the time of the return ferry, there are again two/three ferries coming back.

Anadolu kavagi is a small village, you can climb up to the hill and reach the walls of Fortress. There you will see the Bosphorus meeting with the Black sea, very nice panoramic view. There are many nice fish restaurants you can have lunch in one of them. Prices are relatively good.

Bonus

LETS GO TO TRT !
TRT – Istanbul Turkey Radio and Television Radio is one of the Turkey’s oldest and largest radio buildings in Istanbul.
Located in the European side of Istanbul, there are a lot of events like the Turkish Opera with traditional instruments like Baglama.
Eventually for those who are planning to visit Istanbul more than few days and love museums considering buying Istanbul museum card. With the card you have access to a lot of them.

Take a look at the opening days :

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem Apartments, Museum of Turkish and İslamic Arts, Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam, Chora Museum, Galata Mevlevi House Museum, Yıldız Palace, Rumeli Hisar Museum and Fethiye Museum
Hagia Sophia Museum – Ä°stanbul Archaeological Museums – Ä°stanbul Mosaic Museum – Museum of Turkish and Ä°slamic Arts, Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam, Chora Museum, Galata Mevlevi House Museum, Rumeli Hisar Museum and Fethiye Museum
Hagia Sophia Museum – Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem Apartments – Ä°stanbul Archaeological Museums-
Ä°stanbul Mosaic Museum – Museum of Turkish and Ä°slamic Arts, Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam,
Galata Mevlevi House Museum, Yıldız Palace, Rumeli Hisar Museum and Fethiye Museum
Hagia Sophia Museum – Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem Apartments – Ä°stanbul Archaeological Museums –
Ä°stanbul Mosaic Museum – Museum of Turkish and Ä°slamic Arts, Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam,
Chora Museum, Galata Mevlevi House Museum, Yıldız Palace, Rumeli Hisar Museum and Fethiye Museum
Hagia Sophia Museum – Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem Apartments – Ä°stanbul Archaeological Museums -Ä°stanbul Mosaic Museum – Museum of Turkish and Ä°slamic Arts, Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam, Chora Museum, Galata Mevlevi House Museum, Yıldız Palace, Rumeli Hisar Museum and Fethiye Museum
Hagia Sophia Museum – Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem Apartments – Ä°stanbul Archaeological Museums -Ä°stanbul Mosaic Museum – Museum of Turkish and Ä°slamic Arts, Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam, Chora Museum, Galata Mevlevi House Museum, Yıldız Palace, Rumeli Hisar Museum and Fethiye Museum
Hagia Sophia Museum – Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem Apartments – Ä°stanbul Archaeological Museums –
Ä°stanbul Mosaic Museum – Museum of Turkish and Ä°slamic Arts, Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam,
Chora Museum, Galata Mevlevi House Museum, Galata Mevlevi House Museum, Yıldız Palace, Rumeli Hisar Museum and Fethiye Museum
Price: 25€
Validity period: begins with your first museum visit and end 5 days later.

Conclusion

Do you need more than four days to visit Istanbul or any other city in the world ? Well.. It’s a tough question, there is lot of things to think about. I don’t have any response, besides it’s on you to judge if your travel are long enough to fulfil the goals that you sets before. Completing 30% of your goals by visiting a city it’s already a success, don’t try to copy a friend’s to do list. In the end, choose places that inspire you, where you feel comfortable to stay.

Some other places are worth the detour
– Covered Bazaar
– Dolmabahce Palace
– Miniaturk
– Maiden Tower
– Chora Church
– Hippodrome
– Suleymaniye Mosque
– Beylerbeyi Palace

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