The colorful Grand Bazaar, traditional pastries, hundreds of palaces and temples of Istanbul … will make you fall in love from the first sight. Istanbul is a special city for its location that lies between Europe and Asia, it has been a dream destination for every traveler around the world. The fascination of the solemn of the Oriental and the modern of the Western attract many people to come to explore the culture when they get a chance! Let’s discover the beautiful city through my trip to Istanbul and Istanbul trip blog: Visit the bridge city of Asia and Europe.
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- Where to go in Istanbul? — 10 must & best places to visit in Istanbul
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My trip to Istanbul: Get lost at the Grand Bazaar
Needless to say about the architectural, historical buildings, which are highly praised in Istanbul, I will tell you about the place that makes me most passionate: the Grand Bazaar.
Before I came here, I had read many things about the greatness of the market, but when I first discovered it, I still could not resist opening my mouth with surprise.
You will be stuck in the maze without knowing where you came from and how to get out. And I got lost in one of the largest and most famous market in the world. It is highly recommended to bring yourself a map of the market!
The Grand Bazaar is an exchange place of goods during the Ottoman Empire and also on the silk road and spices road to Europe. The Grand Bazaar has 12 entrances, including 4 main entrances. There is always a security guard at the door, using a scanner to check the security of each passenger upon entering the Grand Bazaar.
Grand Bazaar has a variety of areas, each focus on selling different items. You will be dazzled when you go to shops specialize in selling gold, jewelry and foreign currency.
Then coming to the shops where the spices of Turkey are sold with many eye-catching colors. It would be a miss if you can not go to the carpet selling area, the area dedicated to selling sweets with the traders standing at the door who are always enthusiastic to invite customers to taste some specialties.
Another great feature of the Grand Bazaar is that there are only salesmen out there! Read more Explore Grand Bazaar Market Istanbul.
Baklava – Traditional pastries satisfy every gourmet.
Baklava is considered the most popular dessert in Turkey. I was “drowned” in baklava bakeries that are located everywhere in the streets of Istanbul.
The basic type of baklava is thin, stacked, the bottom layer is covered with condensed milk, then each layer is covered with a characteristic syrup with a small laughing chestnut (pistachio). Chestnut is a very popular bead in this country, and you can find it in most sweeties here.
A traditional Baklava tray. There are also numerous variants with a variety of shapes, sizes or flavors.
The chestnut cake is covered by the laughing nut, coconut, and bean inside
Ideally, sipping a hot cup of tea and enjoy some of the just-baked sweet baklava in the morning. You will find yourself full of energy to start a new day. I was so infatuated that I called a series to try all the different tastes of this delicious cake. And then it feels like I have eaten the most sugar in your life, but only the next day you will find that you want to eat baklava again.
The palaces and mosques
Istanbul contains a huge cultural treasure. From the international airport to Istanbul, you will find a myriad of mosques built with large domes, and most of them are very grandiose and imposing, Istanbul alone has about more than 3.000 moques.
It would be a miss if don’t mention the Sultan Ahmed Mosque or Blue Mosque. It is the largest mosque in the city with 20,000 glazed blue tiles, with the main dome in the middle and many small domes around, with six pointed towers, rise to the sky.
When entering the Blue Mosque , women are required to cover their hair. Everyone must wear long pants, and go barefoot
Located not too far from the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia is also a must-see destination of Istanbul, symbolizing the Ottoman Empire. It was originally a cathedral of Oriental Buddhism, but was later converted to a mosque in 1453 and finally to 1935, the Hagia Sophia became a historical museum with a rich history and religious significance of Istanbul in particular and Turkey in general.
If the mosque make you feel the mysterious Oriental civilization, then there are two magnificent palaces in Istanbul, no less than the European ones are the Topkapi Palace and the Dolmabahçe Palace.
Not only being a massive historical treasure, The Topkapi Palace also offers the magnificent view overlooking the Golden Horn, a natural harbor in Istanbul, the Bosphorus and the Marmara Sea.
The palace has 4 gates separated by 4 large courtyards and a harem, covering an area of 70 hectares, surrounded by 5km long wall.
The Dolmabahçe Palace was the main center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922 and was built under Sultan Abdul Mejid I. The work was started in 1843 and completed at a cost of 35 tons of gold, with 285 rooms and more than 40 halls.
There are also special features that you should not miss such as the Galata Tower – the tallest ancient building in the city, the Basilica Cistern – the “submerged palace” located on the streets of Istanbul.
To fully spoil myself, I bought tickets for a cruise along the Marmara Sea to capture the beauty of Istanbul. On this journey, you will see the Bosphorus bridge connecting Ortaköy on the European side with Beylerbeyi on the Asian side, which is also the connecting point between the two continents.
Taking in the magnificent views of the mosque, the brilliant palaces on at one side while the other side is the elegant modern bungalows that lie on the shores of the blue sea, skyscrapers.
In the midst of a cool breeze, when the blue clouds and seawater blended in a blue color, you will see a modern but ancient Istanbul that appeals every travelers’ souls.
I left Istanbul in a rainy morning, I feel five days for Istanbul is still very short and not enough for me to experience more about that distinct city. I will come back for sure to spend more time here. A ferry from Kadıköy back to Eminönu, I saw Hagia Sofia covered with a twinkle of glittering golden star, such a brilliant scenery that I will not forget. Let go to Istanbul at least once in your life!
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Istanbul you can refer to
- Istanbul Welcome Card
- Hagia Sophia Introduction Tour with Audio Guide
- Istanbul Classics Tour
- Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque Small Group Tour
- Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, & Basilica Cistern Combo Tour in Istanbul
- Istanbul Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tours (Open-Top)
- Hop-on Hop-off Bosphorus Sightseeing Cruise
- 4G SIM Card (MY Delivery) for Turkey from joytel2u
- Istanbul Museum Pass
- [Sale] Sea Life Aquarium Ticket in Istanbul
- Round Trip Ferry Tickets between Prince’s Islands and Istanbul
- Princes’ Island Full Day Tour from Istanbul
- Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise Tour
- Istanbul: Mevlevi Sema and the Whirling Dervishes Show
- Istanbul: Bosphorus Music and Dinner Cruise w/ Private Table
- Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise with Audio App
- Istanbul: Blue Mosque & Hagia Sophia Small-Group Tour
- Best of Istanbul in 1 Day
- Istanbul: Topkapi Palace Guided Tour and Skip The Line
- Istanbul: Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on a Luxurious Yacht
- Istanbul: Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
Are you looking for more top things to do in Istanbul: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here. And Istanbul travel blog — The fullest Istanbul travel guide for a great budget trip for first-timers.