I dedicated a post to the Hagia Sophia and Blue mosque and I still can’t do it justice.. However, I did spend a few more days in Istanbul. The constant beating of the wave of the East against the rock of the west. The Dolmabahçe Palace dominates around half a kilometre of the Bosphorus shorelines. With over 280 rooms and about 5-6 turkish baths, this beauty was constructed in 1843 and is an extravagant mystery. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take pictures inside the building but you are more than welcome to stroll through the gardens and check out the interior.
You need to also visit the Topkapi Palace which was home to the Ottoman Sultans for almost four decades. The Palace boasts high walls and four courtyards and now serves as a museum.
Visit the courtyards and the harem which was once the quarters of the Sultan’s family which shows you a mix of many architectural styles.
The street side shops and the grand bazaar is just great! One of the largest and oldest markets in the world, with bustling shops and happy hagglers. From coffee sets to evil eyes, to some of the finest turkish sweets, this colourful and chaotic bazaar adds poetic charm to the city of Istanbul.
Oooh and the best sweets? Hazer Baba’s Turkish Delights in the Bazaar. You can mix and match, they even vacuum pack it for you!
If you prefer a sit-down kind of sweet shop, then head to Hafiz Mustafa . They have been around since 1864 and it’s a quaint but VERY busy store with locals. You can opt for the turkish tea along with a platter of sweets and the Baklava is just out of this world!
So there you have it. A part of Istanbul. Next up : The whirling Dervishes, dinner and lunch spots and cruises.