Five Star Vagabond

Super travel tips, all road tested by David Herd. I'm an Australian guy who moved to Thailand in 2011 & still travel the world as often as possible.

Istanbul, Asia meets Europe

February 26, 2015 by David Herd

Bosphorus Bridge

Bosphorus BridgeIstanbul, Asia meets Europe, experience the incredible diverse population that coexists in this huge metropolis. Minarets dot the skyline and there seems to be a noisy bazaar around every corner.

Istanbul, Constantinople & Byzantium are three of the names this ancient city has been called since it was founded in 660 BC.  However Istanbul may have been inhabited as early as 3000 BC, but it was not a city until Greek colonists arrived in the area in the 7th Century BC. The city has been conquered, fought over and rebuilt many times over the centuries.

Bosphorus bridge connecting Europe and Asia was completed in 1973,  it is the 22nd longest suspension bridge span in the world.

If the world were a single state, Istanbul would have been its capital” …said Napleaon Bonaparte.

Hop on, hop off

Istanbul, Asia meets EuropeAs in many other cities around the world the best way to quickly become acquainted is to ride the ‘hop on, hop off” bus. You can buy a two day pass for about $33, great value.

Istanbul cultures nations religions

Istanbul, Asia meets EuropeI don’t think I have ever seen a city with so many markets and bazaars, I certainly have not seen one with so many mosques, there are over 3000 here and 83,000 in the whole country.

OK, lets’s compare our shopping

Istanbul Constantinople Byzantium

The ladies seem rather excited with their shopping.

Spice market

Istanbul cultures nations religions

A fantastic area for fresh food and spices.

Fresh fish

Istanbul, Asia meets Europe

As you would expect the Istanbul markets are chaotic and fascinating.

Fish roll

Istanbul Constantinople ByzantiumFish sandwiches come as half loaves of bread, sliced in two and stuffed with a freshly grilled mackerel, the problem for was the little bones were still in the fish. After eating half I got tired of nearly swallowing bones so I left the rest.

The Turkish name is balık-ekmek, it’s a grilled fish fillet in a half-loaf of bread along with a scoop of alata, lettuce, tomatoes and onions.

Spice market

  Spice Bazaar IstanbulThe Spice market is one of Istanbul’s largest.  

Spice market Istanbul, Asia meets Europe

Istanbul, Asia meets Europe

So many photo opportunities here.

More spice   Spice BazaarEverything is perfectly presented here.

New Mosque

New Mosque istanbulJust outside the spice market is Yeni Cami, the New Mosque. Construction of the mosque began in 1597  with it’s reconstruction and completion between 1660 and 1665.

Live entertainment

Istanbul Constantinople Byzantium   Sulerman the Magnificent          Istanbul, Asia meets Europe  

Throughout the centuries some of Turkey’s rulers gave themselves some very good names, from 1494 to 1566 we had Suleiman the Magnificent. In 1453 we had  Sultan Mehmed II “the Conqueror”  who captured Constantinople and declared it the new capital of the Ottoman Empire.  

The Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.

The Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

I’m quite sure the bazaar has not changed in centuries.

Nuruosmaniye Mosque in background

Nuruosmaniye Mosque Located beside the Grand bazaar

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia Istanbul Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later an imperial mosque, and now a museum.

Hippodrome German Fountain

Istanbul, Asia meets Europe This octagonal building with water taps around was constructed in 1898. Inside the fountain, there are lovely mosaics which depicts the signatures of Wilhelm II and Sultan Abdulhamit II, the sultan of that time. This fountain was to commemorate the alliance of German Empire and Ottoman Empire against the allied powers of Russia, Great Britain,France and Japan before the World War I.

The Blue Mosque

Blue MosqueThe Sultan Ahmed Mosque is a historic mosque in Istanbul. The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I.

Blue Mosque from the other side

The Blue Mosque

This amazing mosque was right beside my hotel.

 Hotel Spectra

  Hotel SpectreA great location 80 meters from the Blue Mosque, in fact the first photo above was taken from the hotel restaurant. The food is reasonable, the rooms are nice & the staff are very helpful. As usual I booked through Agoda and got a great deal.   To clarify my take on food and wine in Istanbul,  Wine is very drinkable , but the food was not to my taste, in my top 5 cities for food you have Tokyo, New York, Bangkok, Cape Town and Sydney, Istanbul would struggle to make the top 50. Here is an example to back up my comment, while paying my bill at the hotel restaurant I noticed the waiter and the barman were eating some nice looking food. I asked what is was because it did not seem to be anything on the menu. They said it is not from the kitchen here, we order from outside and they deliver, I rest my case.

Wine with dinner at the Spectra Hotel Istanbul, Asia meets Europe

The Turkish wine was very good indeed.

Galata Tower

Istanbul Constantinople ByzantiumOn the hill in the distance is the Galata Tower, called Christea Turris by the Genoese, it’s a medieval stone tower in the Galata/Karaköy quarter of Istanbul. The boat above is a much nicer sister ship of the rust bucket that I spent 4 hours cruising on along the Bosphorus.

A couple of blocks from the Hotel Spectra

  Istanbul Constantinople ByzantiumThere are many interesting streets to wander near the Hotel Spectra.  

 The local police station

  police station  It certainly does not look like a police station.

Basilica Cistern

  Basilica Cistern The Basilica Cistern, is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul.

Nice Istanbul bar

David Herd Thailand A nice spot for a few drinks before dinner, 

Thanks for visiting my Istanbul, Asia meets Europe post.

  Istanbul cultures nations religions  Istanbul, Asia meets Europe, this city certainly has it all. The people are friendly and the city seems quite safe.

Thanks for visiting my Istanbul, Asia meets Europe photo blog.

That’s all folks  photo 1hh Duck.jpg  

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A nice river cruise in Istanbul

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