Turkish Delights Aug ’13
Travelling on the Turkish Airlines made Istanbul a quick stopover on our way to Croatia. While going to Croatia was a touch and go , on our way back home we stayed to enjoy the hustle bustle of this vibrant city.
A big Kudos to my brother-in-law for expertly fitting in all the main monumental sight seeing tours as well as accommodating our shopping cravings in such a short time frame.
With oodles of historical gems , a rich and colourful culture and the best Kebabs and Kunafah you have ever tasted . Istanbul is truly a Turkish Delight !
The Blue Mosque ( SultanAhmet Mosque)
An architectural treat and one of the most beautiful structures you have ever laid eyes on, the Blue Mosque truly is a divine structure. With intricate marbling both on it’s exterior and interiors , beautifully coloured stain glass and mosaicked domes and walls and layered circular chandeliers the Blue Mosque can keep one mesmerised for hours, and even though the Mosque is bustling with tourists there is a certain sense of serenity and peace.
Hagia Sofya ( Aya Sofya)
Probably the most popular Man-made structure in Turkey, is this beautiful structure has been re-built thrice and what we see today is the third and final structure. Originally a Greek orthodox church the Hagia Sofya was later converted into a Mosque without the complete destruction of the former, and is today open as a museum for public viewing. With constant restoration work to keep this one-of-a-kind monument in place , a visit to Hagya Sofya is a must !
Model of the Topkapi Sarayi
Topkapi Palace Museum ( Topkapi Sarayi)
This opulent palace was built to serve as the residence of the Ottoman royalty during the Ottoman Empire for about 400 years. Today open to the public, this museum holds thousands of important artefacts both cultural and religious and has some beautiful calligraphy within its walls as well. Although be warned with number of things to see and ponder over this could be a long tour and might leave you a bit hungry. Which is perfect if you love your kebabs and a scenic view !
Konyali Cafe ( Topkapi Sarayi)
Yes yes i know … Istanbul is known for its bazaars and markets. However, this one of the most visually enticing malls I have ever been too and I grew up in Dubai ! (aka mall culture city) With everything you might want to purchase under the sun and every brand one can fancy this mall is ginormous with a gorgeous outdoor and indoor shopping expanse. Must visit !
P.S : I was too busy “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing” over every store to have taken pictures. Hence images courtesy Google.
The Egyptian Bazaar ( Spice Bazaar)
The Egyptian Bazaar is one to tingle your sense of smell taste and sight. With spices , herbs , teas , dried fruits and much more the bazaar is bustling with colour and is a real treat to visit. My favourite picks from this bazaar were Iranian Saffron, rose flavored turkish delights and Amber Oud.
The Grand Bazaar
In my opinion the second most sought after place by the average tourist (First being the Hagia Sofya) this maze of gullies is filled with stores selling all sorts of things from Turkish tea sets to stained glass lanterns to evil-eye amulets. A real market filled with sounds of haggling and hustle the Grand Bazaar is an explosion of touristy purchases. Buy 10 things you probably don’t need…Check. Haggle for 50 % discounts….Check. Eat Kebabs and Kunafah …. Check !
Although the food all over Istanbul is fairly good ( especially if you love your grilled meats as much as my family). However, a special mention must go to this beautiful restaurant with 11 separate dining rooms , each with a different feel but all within traditional Turkish elements. The food and service are both impeccable. My personal suggestion to those visiting Beyti is to go with a good appetite and space out your courses.What makes Beyti truly special is the sheer amount of memorabilia you will find here from the “Who’s who” globally. Kings, presidents, leaders and founders almost every person of importance that you can imagine from all over the world has dined at the Beyti (while visiting Istanbul) and Beyti has very kindly put up all the gifts souvenirs, letters and photographs for all their guests to view and enjoy throughout the eatery.