48 "free"hours in Instanbul..suggestions?

Jul 27th, 1998, 12:45 PM
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48 "free"hours in Instanbul..suggestions?

My husband and I will be touring Turkey with a tour company in late April/early May,1999.The tour has scheduled 3 days in Istanbul and will cover the Hagia Sophia,Hippodrome,Blue Mosque,Topkapi Palace,the Church of St.Savior in Chora,the Grand Bazaar and a cruise on the Bosphorus. We plan to arrive 2 days earlier than the tour date to explore parts of the city not covered on the tour..Any suggestions?Nurdogan, where is your art gallery and what type of art do you feature? Thanks for all of your prior info on your country.
Jul 27th, 1998, 11:53 PM
George Holt
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Only two days? Lets see, what can we leave out? Seriously Istanbul is one of those open ended cities, always something to see even for seasoned visitors like myself.

A lot depends on what you're interested in. Get a decent guide book, there are lots - I have the Blue Guide, and a good scale street map because Istanbul is emminently walkable.

Typically the tour companies offer a one day sight seeing tour taking in all or some of the places you mention, trips like the Bosporus are usually another half day extra. These tours are great for getting a taste of the city but you don't get long at any one place. Speaking for myself I don't think they spend enough time at Topkapi, there's lots to see in the treasury and the kitchens and it can be a little rushed on a guided tour. My advice is to spend a morning at Topkapi on your own, arrive at opening time, buy a ticket for the main palace and once inside head across to the harem and buy a ticket for the optional extra guided tour, the tour is optional but if you want to see the harem the guide is not. The number of people on each tour and the number of tours are limited each day so if you don't get there early you could wait a long time for a tour. The main highlights of Topkapi are the china collection in the kitchens, the jewelery etc in the treasuries, the memorabilia (for want of a better word) of the Prophet Mohammed, the Baghdad Kiosk and last but not least the cafe overlooking the Bosporus. There are other displays and ephemeral exhibitions as well.

Right next door to Topkapi, left of the main entrance, is a suite of three museums, the Archaeology Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Cinili Kiosk.

One of the buildings around the Hippodrome is an ethnographic museum and also in the general Hippodrome/Hagia Sophia area is one of the underground cisterns once used to store water for the city.

With time on your hands and a guide book in them you should head out and just drink in the atmosphere of the city. There are literally hundreds of mosques, large and small, narrow bustling streets, local markets and workshops. When you get lost, I've done it many a time, someone friendly will put you back on track. Its worth wandering up Divan Yolu past the entrance to the covered bazaar to the gate at the entrance to the university. Inside the university there is a tower, it used to be possible to go up this and get a view of the city but I don't know if you can do this now. Around the university there are some flea markets and behind it is the Sulimaniye (the Suliman the Magnificent mosque).

Opposite the Galata Bridge is the Yeni Cami and the Misir Çarisi, the 'Egyptian Market' famous for its spices. Across the Galata Bridge and up the hill is the Galata tower which you should be able to climb for a view.

Thats just a selection, should be a couple of days worth, but there's lots more. If you're not careful you'll end up going back and back, as I do!
Jul 28th, 1998, 12:00 AM
George Holt
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Oh, and pop out one evening and see the, free, son et lumier at the Blue Mosque. You'll have to pick the right night as it cycles through several languages, a board outside the mosque gives details of dates and times.
Jul 28th, 1998, 06:23 AM
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Thanks for all good info,just what I was looking for.The tour we are taking is a small National Geographic tour that will spend about 2 1/2 days in Istanbul but after just reading about the city I'm sure we will return again.
Thanks again,
Jul 28th, 1998, 08:45 PM
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I suggest a Turkish bath in one of the many bath houses. Sorry I cannot remember names.
Jul 31st, 1998, 10:35 AM
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There are so many Turkish Baths in Istanbul.I can recommend you two of them.One is called (CAGALOGLU)
It is located near SANTA SOPHIA.The Other one is called ( CEMBERLITAS ) near Grand Bazar.And both of them are very near to my Art Gallery.If you stop at my Art Gallery,I will point you where they are over
tea.We make and sell Calligraphie,Miniatures.Gravure
Paintings and Photos etc.
If you need more info about Turkey and Istanbul ,I might be able to help you.
Best wishes from Istanbul
[email protected]
Aug 18th, 1998, 10:55 PM
Tracey farmer
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The archaeology museums are definitely worth seeing,as much for the interesting pieces outside the museum as the ones inside. There is a nice tea garden outside where you can sit among ancient columns and sarcophagi and have a snack.
If you are museum nuts I also recommend the Sadberk Hanim Museum, it's in Sariyer which is an area if Istanbul on the bosphorus on the european side, easy to get to, e-mail me for directions, also if you want to get out of the Sultanahmet area (where many of the places your tour takes you to) you can easily take a walk around Ortakoy on a sunday for a change of scenery. There are loads of things to do in Istanbul, The Chiran Palace Hotel has a great jazz bar right on the Bosphorus, a great one o'clock in the morning hang out

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