Istanbul is a very unique place which occupies both Europe and Asia.
On the Asian side, it is more of a quiet residential area while the European side is a bustling financial centre with tall buildings.

The Ancient City where East meets West Istanbul, Turkey

After the Romantic trip in Cappadocia, we flew directly to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. Istanbul is a very unique place which occupies both Europe and Asia.

On the Asian side, it is more of a quiet residential area while the European side is a bustling financial centre with tall buildings.

As Turkey is an Islamic country now, there are many beautiful mosques around, the most famous being the Sultanahmet Camii or the Blue Mosque as usually known to most people. It’s so authentically blue that while you can see blue in its outlook and upon entering the mosque, the 21,000 pieces of handmade blue tiles caught me in awe. I was told that each tile is worth
USD2000. This is the biggest mosque in Turkey that could accommodate 8,000 worshippers at
one time.

Hagia Sophia Museum is not far from the Blue Mosque. While the Blue mosque is 400 years old this beautiful pink architecture is even older with more than 1600 years of history. Hagia Sophia used to be a Greek Orthodox Christian Church before it was converted to Ottoman Imperial Mosque in 1453 when the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople. Most of the murals depciting Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary were still well preserved as it has operated as a public museum since the year 1935. Indeed it is very unique to have both Muslim symbolic wordings and Christian cross in the same building. This famous Dome building has inspired many architects and became one of the pieces of art that most artist will visit in their Istanbul is a very unique place which occupies both Europe and Asia.lifetime.

Hagia Sophia Museum

Next to the Hagia Sophia is the Topkapi Palace Museum which I personally liked very much.

We were led through a green garden with trees along the walk way towards the main building.

Each building or each room exhibits a different theme, it takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to visit the palace. Do not miss the backyard full of rose blossoms where you can see the Asian side, the Bohspohrus Strait, the 2 bridges that connect Asia and Europe.

The other magnificent view point, Camlica Hill, is on the Asian side and this is the highest point in Istanbul. The Bohspohrus Strait and Sea of Marmara connected by the three bridges can be seen from here. It is a very suitable place for picnic and relaxation in a nice and breezy surroundings.

Shopping seems to be one of the most attractive agenda in Istanbul. Even though I am not a shopaholic, there are some things that I would like to recommend.

Bagdat Street is like our Bukit Bintang. This is one of the most important streets on the Asian side of Istanbul. They are clean and lined with green trees, many shops and restaurants. You can find local branded goods and international brand names.

Grand Bazaar is a market place that has existed for 500 years. This is one of the oldest bazaars in the world and there are more than 4000 shops in the 58 alleys. Make sure you remember the gate number and look out for the main street for the Bazaar is a huge maze. You will be spoilt for choices of souvenirs. If you are looking for gold and leather, traditional carpet, mosaic glass and gourd lamps, beautiful ceramics and copper, this place will make you go crazy, but don’t go on a Sunday as they will be closed.

Blue Mosque

Grand Bazaar

To me I like Spice Bazaar better as the vendors are more friendly and the price is negotiable.

It is a smaller scale than the Grand Bazaar, selling more of spice, tea and coffee, and Turkish delights. Even the back alleys around the Bazaar are also very

interesting, I love the wood products along the street. If you would like to have Turkish coffee, there is a very famous one here that is always with a long queue.

The other happening place is Taksim Square which is located at the heart of Istanbul city.

There is a busy walking street, next to it and along the street are the shops you can look for anything you want. In the middle of the walking street is the old tram that

is one of the main transportation since long ago. I was told that this place is busy until 3 am in the morning where you will find night life entertainment .

The cruise tour on the Bohspohrus Strait is very enjoyable, sailing in between Asia and Europe.

With our very experienced tour guide, he could point out all the important and historical buildings, big private villas, palace, school, church, government office, high

class hotel, etc. This is the best moment when we can see Istanbul from a different angle.

Recommended hotel:
Istanbul Holiday Home & Suite
A hotel that combines accommodation, shopping and theme park.

Camlica Hill

Topkapi Palace Museum

Taksim Square

Travelution #53 OCT/NOV/DEC