The Mehter Concert at the Military Museum
It is worth visiting the Military Museum just to see the very fine Mehter Concert. This is a recreation of the march band that led the Janissaries of the Ottoman Empire as they marched through the Balkans. These bands and the Janissaries struck fear into the soon to be conquered peoples and their reputation for military skill spread through the rest of the Europe. Arguably they were the first marching military band in history. I thought that the show was more powerful than expected with the loud kettle drums, ancient horn and (recording) singing. The soldiers are dressed in old Janissary uniforms and are quite impressive.
To see the Mehter Concert you should attempt to reach the Military Museum by 3pm when it is held. The concert lasts one hour. I believe it is free to watch by if not then it might be included in the price to enter the museum which was $1.00.
Tell everyone that you are going to Turkey! The reason for this is because some of them will have friends who are from Turkey. That is nice because Turks are very excited about their country. I'd read this in several guide books but had no idea how real it was until I was having lunch with a friend who's colleague originally hails from Istanbul. After hearing I was going, he gave details all sorts of restaurants and bars that we should visit. He gave us the contact info of a friend who curates the Topkapi Palace, and even offered to call a friend to arrange entry into the best clubs for us.
Mind you, I'd only met the man once, but it was about the nicest thing I could have ever asked for! Turkish hospitality is not to be sneered at. The Turks are kind people and should be celebrated as such!
one of the two greatest teams of Turkey, Fenerbahce has a fascinating atmosphere in its stadium Saracoglu in Kadikoy.
the stadium is considered the capital of the Republic of Fenerbahce, and the saying "This is Kadikoy, there is no way out" is very famous.
one should get to the anatolian side of Bosphorus and watch a game of Fenerbhace -if there is of course- to live and experience the peak of football stadium atmospheres.
St Stefan is situated on the bank of Golden Horn, near of Fatih district. The church is Bolgarian and was built in 1896-1898 by Hovsep Aznavur who was Armenian originally. In building works Austrians took part as well as a winners of international competition for the building works.
The Biggest Mall
Tumultuous, frenetic - words do not do justice to the hyperactive ambience of the Grand Bazaar. On each street, dozens of vendors without an international brand name in sight each offering incredible selections ( images 2,3 ) and willing to create anything not in stock. What is not in the store may well be in the second and third level storage areas ( images 4,5 ). For many items, knockoff status for everything from Gucci to Cartier. Touts in the streets directing the visitor to specific stores ( mostly for carpets and kilims ). Crowds of shoppers scurrying hither and yon seeking out the greatest quality and the biggest bargain. A truly unique shopping experience.
Many believe the Grand Bazaar a tourist trap, and in some ways it may be. The vendors are grand past masters of separating suckers from their money. For those with the time, cheaper prices are undoubtedly available outside the bazaar. Yet for most visitors, the overall quality of the goods including the designer knockoffs is so good and the prices so low relative to full retail that the bazaar is still the venue of choice for those without days to pursue better deals. Everything P bought here has won compliments and obtained far cheaper than buying similar items at retail in New York. Wasting several hours to save 10% on a leather coat or a watch simply isn't worth it. Similarly, wandering from store to store will not really be worth the trouble. Visit a few, make a decision, buy, go see Istanbul.
Turkish hospitality will often lead to offers of tea or coffee - these are a tradition and do not obligate the buyer in any way. However, the seemingly innocent questions of the salesmen are not so benign. Where are you from, where are you staying, what ship are you from, have you found good places to eat, are you happy with your tour guide - these questions are intended to appraise your worth and are used to set prices and bargaining parameters. Our hotel, home state, etc, changed throughout our shopping experience -- straight down. Setting the original bargaining offer by the vendor as low as possible will pay off. Be aware that every salesman in Turkey has a relative in your home town, a business associate a few miles away, a recent visit to your home state. Trust me - these guys are good.
One principle - talk to friends who have visited the bazaar before you go and try and figure out just how much they payed for items of interest such as watches especially on knockoffs.
There are fabulous bargains at the Grand Bazaar - this is the place to shop quickly and efficiently.