Sunday afternoon on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. I read that as many as 3 million people will walk this one mile pedestrian street on a weekend day, and that certainly seemed to be the case on the Sunday afternoon that I was there. The street is lined with shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and movie theaters. A historic red tram can take you up and down the street, but don’t take it if you are in a hurry. The tram has to go very slowly to let the sea of bodies part so that it can pass. This certainly seems to be the place to go to see and be seen.
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You’ll see Whirling Dervish performances advertised throughout Istanbul, offering an evening of entertainment. But for an authentic experience, I chose to attend a true Mevlevi religious ritual at the Galata Dervish Monastery.
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A hamam, or Turkish bath is a unique experience to Turkey. I wanted to try it on my first visit to Istanbul, but to do so, I would have to set aside my inhibitions about being seen naked by strangers. Could I do that?
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Photo location – street vendor selling Turkish mosaic lights in Istanbul.
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Early morning fog shrouds the Bosphorus Bridge, the first bridge to connect the European side to the Asian side of Istanbul. At the time of its completion in 1970, it was the fourth longest suspension bridge in the world. Since then, two additional bridges have been built across the Bosphorus. In December 2016, the Eurasia tunnel connecting the two continents was also completed. But Istanbul’s expansive ferry system is still an integral means of transport as 300,000 passengers use them daily to get from one side to the other.
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Street art may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of art in Istanbul. But on my recent visit, I discovered some great examples in the area of Kadikoy on the Asian side of the city. Searching out the street art was also a great way to explore this less touristy part of Istanbul.
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Simit is a common street food in Istanbul. Dough is formed into a ring, dipped in grape molasses and sesame seeds and then baked. Vendors sell it from street carts, or, as in this case, by carrying a tower of freshly baked simit around the neighborhood to sell to local residents. This gives a whole new meaning to a balanced breakfast.
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Istanbul’s bazaars are a riot of colors, flavors and fragrances. They will completely engulf all your senses. Narrow covered passageways are lined with small store fronts that sell a rainbow of spices, a kaleidoscope of colorful Arabic lamps, scarves in every conceivable color, tiles and pottery with the traditional blue and red tulip designs, a multitude of patterned pillows, fabrics and carpets, and much, much more. The walls reverberate with the noise of local and tourist shoppers haggling to get the best prices. Shopkeepers are relentless in their calls to get passerby’s attentions. It’s busy. It’s noisy. It’s chaotic. And it’s one of the quintessential Istanbul experiences, even if your senses can only take it for a short time.
Continue reading “PhotoPOSTcard: The Colors of the Silk Road in Istanbul’s Bazaars”
When I travel, I am always on the lookout for new and unique experiences or classes, especially if they involve a creative element. So, when my friend and traveling companion discovered a class where we could learn Turkish Paper Marbling in Istanbul, I knew I needed to fit that into my Istanbul itinerary.
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Photo location: side street in Istanbul, Turkey
Continue reading “Photo Inspirations”