Istanbul Hagia - Blue Mosque

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here’s some useful travel information on Istanbul and because i didn’t really enjoy istanbul as much as i should since i fell sick, i am going to share the research that i did here for the trip, mostly for the benefit of kenties and whoever might be heading towards istanbul in the near future (though i think it’s not a common travel destination amongst the people i know and even kenties is going there because of work).

nonetheless, here’s some of the places that i was planning to visit, in no order of preference.

1. hagia sophia (aya sofya). used to be an orthodox patriarchal basilica, then a mosque.. today it is a museum. It’s closed on mondays and operating hours are 9.30am – 4.30pm. The entrance fee is about 20YTL

2. blue mosque (sultan ahmed or otherwise known as sultanahmet camii) & the hippodrome, the biggest and most majestic mosque in istanbul. The entrance is free and its open from 9am – 6pm daily. For female travellers, do note that a head scarf is required if you want to enter the mosque, and of cos, long pants/jeans and covered shoulders.

3. topkapi palace (also known as topkapi sarayi) used to be the homes of the Ottoman sultans for 400 years during the period of their reign. Now a museum, it opens daily (except tuesday) from 9am – 5pm. Entry cost is 20YTL and there is a separate Harem section @ 15YTL. The tours operates every 1/2hr from 9.30am – 4pm and there are audio guide available at 15YTL.

4. Basilica cistern (yerebatan sarayi) or also known as the sunken palace is the largest of the several hundreds of cisterns that lie beneath the city of istanbul. the key highlight is that there are 2 medusa heads so do remember to see this when u are there. the place operates from 9am – 6.30pm and entrance is 10YTL.

5. Grand bazaar is the world’s largest covered bazaar.

6. Dolmanbahce palace (dolmabahce sarayi) was the main administrative center during the ottoman empire. Closed on mon to thurs and opens on the rest of the week from 9am – 3pm. you could take the train (towards the sirkeci direction) and alight at the last stop. The entrance fee is about 20YTL and you need approximately 45 mins to tour the place.

7. Miniaturk is a miniature park with mini models of old ottoman architectural works. Opens 9am – 7pm on weekdays and 9am-9pm on summer weekends. The entrance fee is 10YTL and u could take bus nos 47C & 47E from Eminonu (city centre) or taxi (cost about 10YTL)

8. maiden tower (kiz kulesi) or known as the leanders towers in the ancient greek period, this place used to be a lighthouse but is now a restaurant with an excellent view of the former roman, byzantine and ottoman capital.

9. Chora Church (kariye muzesi) is one of the most beautiful byzantine church with frescoes and mosaics and a magnificent heritage of the byzantine art. Opens from 9am -4.30pm daily except wednesday.

10 hippodrome of constantinople (capital of the byzantine empire) was a circus that was the sporting & social centre of the constantinople and today, it is a square with some of the structures still surviving. look out for the 4 monuments – egyptian obelisk, serpentine column (from the Temple of apollo), colossus (column of constantine porphyrgenitus) and the “german fountain” or “fountain of Kaizer Wilhelm II” which is a octagon building with water taps.

11. galata tower is a medieval stone tower residing in the galata district, offering the best panoramic views of the entire city. the place operates from 9am-5pm and entrance fee is 7YTL.

and of cos, the spice bazaar that i talked about in my previous post.

oh. you might also want to hop onto a bosphorus cruise to view some of the places i mentioned above from the sea. the cruise usually takes about 1.5hr and the city has one of the nicer sea views of the cities on both sides of the sea. it’s a pretty sight and i was blown away when i was crossing the bridge, so i could imagine if i was on a boat..

that’s all i have planned for the 3 days that i had there. do share if you have more interesting places to add to the list for the benefit of anyone who might be reading this! 🙂

have fun kenties! and take loads of pictures and let me see the stuff that i missed.

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