However , Istanbul is not only historic , it ,s also a magnificent city that is fascinating and vividly alive . Beneath the unchanging skyline of her domes and minarets there is the continual bustle and movement of crowds , the rumbling of vehicles along ancient cobblestone streets , the incessent coming and going and the cries of street sellers mingling with shipping sounds from the busy port .
Istanbul has endless variety : museums , ancient churches , palaces , great mosques , bazaars and the Istanbul Bogazi (Bosphorus). However long you stay , hether for just a few days or longer , your visit to this eclectic city will be unfurgettable.
Museum of Ancient Orient
This little but interesting museum is just in fron of the Archeological Museum, inside the Topakapi Walls.
It shows many interesting pieces of the Mesopotamian, Anatolian, Egyptian and Arabic civilisations.
Here you can find the oldest PEACE treaty in Human History, the Kades Peace treaty which was signed between the Hittites and Egyptians.
Everyone knows that Turkey has some of the finest rugs in the world. The art of rug weaving was brought to Anatolia from central Asia when the Seljuks began to arrive in the 11th century. The Ottomans continued this tradition after the collapse of the Seljuk dynasty. To this day, handmade Turkish rugs are a prized possession in many homes throughout the world, and can fetch a pretty penny!
It was really interesting to see the process of a rug being handwoven. One day as we were walking through Sultanahmet, we passed a store that sold rugs. There was a woman right near the window weaving a rug. It was so facinating we watched for over 10 minutes, but then felt kind of weird for staring at the her. But really cool to see! :)
Yes to Yesilkoy
If you're a looking for a place to kill time during transit that does not involve maxing out credit cards on duty free shopping, Yesilkoy seems the perfect location. It's right next door to Ataturk International Airport, and offers a slice of real Istanbul - the more affluent side that is. This quaint seaside village is characterized by lowrise colorful, homes, inviting roadside cafes and a fairly scenic beach and marina complex where affluent Istanbullus take their dogs for an early morning run.
If you have 3-4 hours to spare between flights, take a cab (costs about 10 lira one way) to Yesilkoy (less than 10 minutes), enjoy a slice of delicate borek and a strong cup of coffee at one of the borek shops on the main road, stroll down to the beach to enjoy the fresh sea breeze before you get back to the airport for your next flight. There are plenty of taxis waiting along the main road to take you back to the airport.
Yesilkoy is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered for travellers tired of touristy Istanbul. I wouldn't have discovered this nice little slice of real Istanbul if it were not for the excellent suggestion of my arkadas (friend) Ozan (neodue) in one of the VT forums. Thanks, Ozan!
Most traditional things!
Istanbul's Grand Bazaar (Kapali Çarsi, or Covered Market) is Turkey's largest covered market offering excellent shopping: beautiful Turkish carpets, glazed tiles and pottery, copper and brassware, apparel made of leather, cotton and wool, meerschaum pipes, alabaster bookends and ashtrays, and all sorts of other things.
Most guidebooks claim that it has 4000 shops. Because of consolidation and replacement of shops by restaurants and other services the number is certainly lower, but you get the idea: it has lots of shops. Not all of them, by the way, are for tourists; locals shop here as well, lending a welcome dose of authenticity.
Kapalýçarþý is a great bazaar in Nuri Osmaniye and Beyazid Mosques and Mahmutpaþa Bazaar, made up of streets of various shops sheltered by roofs and domes. Though not very regularly shaped, it holds and area of about 31 thousand square meters. It has hundreds of domes which are covered with lead and windows. The nucleus of Kapalýçarþý is a Byzantine building which is today called Old Bedesten. The section of the bazaar where valuables and jewellery are bought and sold was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror and the main great bazaar itself was commissioned during Kanuni Sultan Suleyman, on a wooden basis. Kapalýçarþý, today has a surface of 30.7 hectares, 61 streets, 10 wells, 4 fountains, 2 mosques and over 3 thousand shops, managed to claim its present look within 250 years.
Kapalýçarþý, which burned in years of 1546, 1618, 1652, 1660, 1695, 1701, 1750 has always been repaired after each disaster. After all this, it had undergone great damage in the earthquake of 1766. It is partially burned in fires of 1791 and 1826. The bazaar which had just regain is composure was again shaken by an earthquake in 1894 this time. It catches fire again in 1954 at the latest and could only be repaired in five years. Beautiful Turkish carpets, glazed tiles and pottery, copper and brassware, apparel made of leather, cotton and wool, meerschaum pipes, alabaster bookends and ashtrays, and all sorts of other things. BE CAREFUL!!! THE PRICES ARE NOT REAL PRICES!! AT LEAST DOUBLED OR SOMETIMES TRIPLED!!!