Travel diaries: Istanbul

by - 11 aprilie

Istanbul is a land where the east and the west meet in every sense of the word- geographically, historically and culturally. Most people who have never ventured into Turkey will probably only have heard of Turkish delight (which is everywhere in Istanbul), but the fact is Istanbul has so much more in store other than a sweet dessert. Serving as a bridge between Asia and Europe, and its roots dating from the Greeks to the Ottoman Empire, the resulting architecture and culture is diverse and incredibly fascinating.

Formerly a Byzantine church and then transformed into an Ottoman mosque, Hagia Sophia (called Aya Sofya in Turkish) is now a museum open to tourists. It’s fourth biggest cathedral in the world, right up there with the likes of St. Pauls in London and St. Peters in Rome. Just a short walk from Hagia Sophia, also pay a visit to the early 17th-century Sultanahmet ‘Blue’ Mosque, which is directly facing Hagia Sophia. It is famous for boasting six minarets, as most mosques typically have only up to four minarets. 

The Spice Bazaar is a bustling bazaar that sells every edible Turkish souvenir you can imagine, such as baharat (spices), incir (figs), pestil (dried fruit) and of course the ubiquitous lokum (Turkish delight). An active marketplace since the 16th century, the market is housed in a well-preserved building and this is where you can get the best price for those tasty Turkish souvenirs. While you’re at it, stop by the Grand Bazaar, the most famous souq in the world. With 61 covered streets and over 3,000 small shops selling jewellery, ceramics, antiques and tourist trinkets, it is one of the largest bazaars in the world. Given its size, there’s a high likelihood of getting lost, but isn’t that the whole beauty of travel? Also be sure to bargain with the friendly shop vendors, it is common practice here.

Our trip had it all: fun, adventure, shopping, interesting places, mix of cultures and gorgeous sites.

Hope to get back soon! XOXO

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