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Istanbul experts, please help with Istanbul sightseeing plan!

Istanbul experts, please help with Istanbul sightseeing plan!

Old Jul 25th, 2008, 08:52 AM
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Istanbul experts, please help with Istanbul sightseeing plan!

We will have 4 full days in Istanbul at the beginning of the trip, and another half a day at the end. First 2 days we will be on own, and another 2 with the tour. Here is what tour covers: Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, and Camlica Hill on the Asian side,morning walk through the Egyptian Bazaar,half-day Bosphorus waterway cruise,tour of St. Sophia Basilica,free time to explore the Covered Bazaar.
Here are the things we would like to see on our own - Kariye Müzesi, Yerebatan Sarnici ,some of the Sinan’s mosques –like Süleymaniye Cami and Sokollu Mehmet Pasa Cami, visit Cemberlitas hammam (this is the must for me), Dolmabahçe Sarayi (not sure on this one, the time is limited, and we have see a lot of European palaces before), and spend some time around new town. These sites are kind of spread out, so I am not sure how to best organize and combine the sightseeing. What sites should I group together for one day sightseeing? How nuch can I fit in one day? What should I skip? I still want to have some time for lunch, dinner, and tea/coffee breaks
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 09:45 AM
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Add the Chora Museum to your list.

You can see 3 small mosques which are near the Grand Bazaar (Suleymanyie, Rushem Pasa, and Yeni). I would add the spice market which I liked better than the grand bazaar since the vendors weren't as aggressive. There's a lot more than spices in this market.

Try to see the Whirling Dervishes. I saw them in Capadoccia and it was a very moving and amazing experience. There were many tour groups at the same time but there was not a sound during the ceremony; everyone was intently watching - no rustling, moving,coughing, talking. This is a religious ritual so there's no photos during the ceremony (held in a circular, darkened room) but we were allowed 5 minutes afterwards to take photos. Our tour guide arranged for our group to speak with the head Dervish and ask him questions - it was great. We all agreed that the ceremony was mesmerizing and we were almost in a trance-like state. The Dervish said that if we felt that way then they had performed their task properly. None of the other groups had the advantage of speaking with a Dervish so I felt very fortunate.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 09:54 AM
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The Egyptian Bazaar and the Spice Market are the same thing, so the OP has this covered on the tour. I don't know when you are going, but we were in Istanbul in May and Süleymaniye Cami was mostly closed for major restoration. There is still something to see there but not much. Dolmabahce is okay, but not a must see in my opinion. The Chora Museum, however, is must see. I also saw the Whirling Dervishes in Capadoccia, which were interesting but not amazing.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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I mean this in the most helpful way, but why don't you get a tourist map? Then you'll easily be able to group the sites all together, get to them, and have a little guide book to boot. I bought the Eyewitness Pocket Map & Guide (Amazon, $7). It has a good guide to neighborhoods.
Here's a quick rundown off the top of my head though:
Kariye is near nothing. I missed seeing it, so hopefully someone will give you good advice on getting there.
Yerebatan Sarnici (Basilica Cistern) is near the Hippodrome, etc. and does not take much time to see.
Blue Mosque=Süleymaniye Mosque
There is also the Yeni Cami next to Galata Bridge and the Rustem Pasa Cami near the Egyptian Bazaar.
Next to Topkapi is the Archaeology museum, which I highly recommend. There is a restaurant in the park overlooking the Golden Horn behind Topkapi.
If you do go to Dolmabahçe, maybe go early and then make your way south through the newer part of town. That will certainly fill one entire day.
Maybe do the hammam and Asian side the other free day.
Good Luck!


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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 10:04 AM
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Sorry, I misspoke about Suleymaniye--definitely check to see if still undergoing renovation before going over there.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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helen:



We're big fans of afternoon tea/coffee/beer/snacks. etc. at the famed Pierre Loti Cafe, overlooking the Golden Horn...I always suggest going there before 5 pm, and listening to the calls-to-prayer from several mosques, slightly out of sync..great experience. You can taxi there.

Here are two pre-digital scanned photos of the subject.

Enjoy your visit to istanbul!

http://picasaweb.google.com/stuarttower/LotiCafe

stu t.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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Thank you so much for the replies! I think The Chora church/museum is the Kariye Müzesi (Byzantines mosaics), so it is on the list. Dervishes we will see in Cappadocia also. Thank you for the tip on construction on Suleymaniye mosque – I will check (going in September). It looks like we can skip Dolmabahce. The Archeological museum-I really want to go, but my husband will get easily bored. Pierre Loti Café – definitely, I am adding this to my list. I have the guide books, but it is hard to judge the distance by there map, and how much time we need at each location. Besides, the recommendation I get on this forum, I can not get anywhere else – no guidebooks match. I attribute all my successful trips to the recommendations I got on this forum.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 01:07 PM
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...just another thought. I don't think Dolmabahce is a must do (as I noted), but if you do go, Yorkshire's suggestion of going early and then strolling through the "new" city is a good one. You can walk right to the train/subway that goes up the hill to Taksim square, and then you can walk down Istikal street to the Galata Tower, which you might want to go up. Then, you can actually walk the rest of the way down the hill and catch the tram back across the bridge and into the old city where you'll probably be staying.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 06:29 PM
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We were in Istanbul in March. We loved the Kariye Museum, which was formerly called the Chora Church. We caught a bus near the Suleymaniye Cami that went to the Kariye. I couldn't tell you exactly where to catch it. We asked a man on the street and he was kind enough to take us to the bus station, waited for the bus to arrive, and told the bus driver where we wanted to get off. The friendly Turkish people! There's a wonderful restaurant right next door to the Kariye called the Asitane. They have a nice outdoor patio and they cook using authentic ottoman recipes.
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 01:06 PM
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Helen:


Sorry, I moved my Pierre Loti pix to another album...I will reinstate if you haven't seen them and wish to...just say the word.

Stu T.

[email protected]
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 01:24 PM
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The Süleymaniye Cami was closed for renovations in May. But the Mausoleum in the cemetary is well worth a visit. The Mustafapasha Mosque near the spaci bazaar is a little jewel, also designed by Sinan.
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 01:26 PM
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For pictures of my May sojourn in Istanbul, go to: http://tinyurl.com/5odgd3
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 02:18 PM
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Thank you, Ruff, jrjcollins,Stu, Yorkshire, Addriene, and Michael!
Stu, I have already seen the pictures, so no worries there. Seems like it is a little out of the way. Do you take a cab from Sultanahmet or somewhere else?
Michael, thank you for the tip, and your pictures are so beautiful!
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 02:29 PM
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near the <b>spice</b> bazaar.
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 02:50 PM
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I meant the <b>Rustempasha</b> mosque. Between my bad typing and bad memory, I am not sure I should be writing anything today.
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Old Aug 1st, 2008, 10:16 AM
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helen:

&gt;&gt;&gt;Do you take a cab from Sultanahmet or somewhere else?&lt;&lt;&lt;

Short taxi ride from Topkapu, Blue Mosque or anywhere in Sultanahmet. All drivers are quite familiar with the Loti.

stu t.
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Old Aug 1st, 2008, 10:51 AM
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Thank you, Stu!
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Old Aug 14th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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I wouldn't miss Gulhane park, I absolutely love it and it's one of my favourite Istanbul spots. It's especially great after having been at the Archeological Museum (which is really great) to sip tea or coffee at one of the cafes at the end of the park and watch the Asian side and the other part of the European side (Galata tower, Beyoglu etc.). It's one of my favourite memories there. I also loved the Museum of Modern Art. While I didn't particularly like some of the works, I loved the section on photography and it has a lovely cafe on a terrace overlooking the Bosphorus and with the view of the Asian side. I would, like many of you, skip Dolmabahce (when I was in Istanbul the first time for 7 days I didn't go to see it, only the second time), although its garden is lovely, the palace itself has no charm to me and no authenticity. I'd take some time to just stroll the streets of Beyoglu, not just the Istiklal street but the side streets with cafes, restaurants etc. I also liked Sehsadebasi(sp) mosque which is in the Fatih/Laleli part of the town, it's very low-key, decorative and pretty and it's not on everybody's itineraries. Although, I'd definitely skip it too if being only 4 days, it's not a must. I just happened to ''stumble'' upon it one day. Oh yes, last but most definitely not the least, I certainly wouldn't skip the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art (which is right across the Blue Mosque, on Hippodrome), it's probably my favourite Istanbul museum. It's not really big, so your husband wouldn't get bored and tired, and it houses some of the most amazing pieces I've ever seen. It also has a terrace on which you can sip tea and enjoy the view of the Blue Mosque and its surroundings. Have a great trip and enjoy Istanbul! You'll love it!!!
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Old Aug 14th, 2008, 05:20 PM
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Ena_m, thank you! It is really helpful! Helen
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Old Aug 14th, 2008, 05:29 PM
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I LOVED DOLMAHBACE Palace. It is very over-the-top. It looks like the kind of place Liberace would live in. Lots of crystal chandeliers and blood-red carpets.

You will see the bedroom of Ataturk. There is a giant black telephone on the nightstand that is as big as a toaster oven.

I thought the palace was fascinating. Don't miss it.

Thingorjus
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