Istanbul the Magnificent

I was fortunate enough to spend one week of my summer holidays in one of the most fascinating cities in the world – Istanbul. For a long while I wanted to visit this beautiful city, a perfect mix of Europe and Asia, old and modern. How many towns are situated on the two continents and are so rich with often unpredictable, but important history behind them? Once known as Constantinople, Istanbul was the capital of four great empires. Being located on the Bosphorus waterway, one of the worlds busiest passages between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, it has a great cultural, economical and strategic position.

This travel was even more special because I was traveling with my mother – this was her first time outside Croatia! – and with two Marija’s – my sister and my longtime high school friend.

The moment we entered the city with our taxi I knew I will love it! Fascinating mosques, busy and colorful streets, amazing food and sweets…what is there not to love πŸ™‚ ?!

Hope you’ll enjoy these pictures, and I hope I will return to Istanbul once more…

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Classical start – Duty free shop :)….and air view of Asian side of Istanbul

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Enjoying my tea and the night view on one of the Istanbul symbols – Ataturk Bridge

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Great dinner in Turkish restaurant – tasty finger food or Meze and meatballs or Kofte

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Entrance to the Topkapi Palace – first royal residence of Ottoman sultans. Palace is beautiful beyond words, I didn’t know where to look first!

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Wonderful details of Topkapi’s Harem

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Beautiful Iznik tiles – heaven for my colorful soul!

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We were often spending our time in the oldest Istanbul public park – Gulhane park. It is constantly full of families, children and tourists walking around, having picnics on the grass or enjoying cup of tea.

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Enjoying my lunch – Ayran (cold beverage made of yogurt with added salt) and Kumpir, baked potato with different fillings

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In the Suleymaniye Mosque, which was built by Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent and his architect, Sinan from 1550. – 1558.

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In the gardens of the Mosque are mausoleums of Sultan Suleyman and his wife, Hurrem Sultan

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Entrance to the fantastic and colorful Grand Bazaar – it is so huge that you rarely return to the same place twice!

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Tea pots, water pipes, gold, carpets, spices – total overload!

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We visited Istanbul Aquarium with some amazing sharks and medusas…

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…and just across the Aquarium we had to check out Istanbul’s Ikea – just before it opened in Croatia πŸ˜‰ !

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At the entrance and in the garden of Dolmabahce Palace, which replaced Topkapi palace as Sultan’s residency in the 19th century. It is forbidden to take the pictures inside the palace, and we had to wear these fashion forward plastic bags πŸ˜‰ on our feet, but do check out her internet page – Ceremonial Hall and Crystal staircase are fascinating!

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Don’t you dare to return from Istanbul without visiting it’s most famous pastry shop, Hafiz Mustafa 1864., where we enjoyed pistaccio and chocolate puddings, plates of Turkish Delight and where we left the most of our money πŸ™‚

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Interior and Byzantine frescoes inside Hagia Sophia

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Outside look on Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque – in the centre is a rather special picture – Blue Mosque seen from the gallery window of Hagia Sophia

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Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Mosque, one of the most popular attraction in Istanbul – her interior walls are completely covered with blue Iznik tiles.

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Detail of busiest Istanbul Street, Istiklal Street, with a rather interesting shop (Machka, or Cat in Croatian), and amazing leather handbag and lamp shops

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Istiklal Street is home of St. Anthony of Padua church, largest Roman Catholic Church in Istanbul

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Trying out some hookah or water pipe – orange flavored, of course πŸ™‚ !

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Morning cruise around Bosphorus canal…

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…and enjoying some tea in the company of our not so impressed labrador friend πŸ™‚

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If you are planning to marry soon, I recommend amazing streets around Grand Bazar were you can cheaply find already made bouquetes and wedding dresses – Turkish women know how to do it πŸ™‚

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Loving these cushions and over the top boots!

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Me and my sister on the Asian side of Istanbul, overlooking Dolmabahce Palace.

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We have done a great shopping spree on the Asian side of Istanbul. Asian side of the city is quite modern, with a a lot of shops with quality and very affordable Turkish clothing brands, handycraft shops and a rather great and relaxed street life – we loved it!

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Miss Dee manages to find “Moda” or “Fashion” Street and has some questionable fashion choices πŸ™‚ !

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My mother enjoys her Turkish coffee πŸ™‚ ….

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…and we are saying goodbye to the beautiful and inspiring Istanbul…

PS. At least I have my very own Bazaar in my living room πŸ˜‰

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Kisses to everyone!

Dee

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