Beyoglu hatirasi - A memory from Beyoglu
Favorite thing: In the pedestianised street Istiklal Caddesi in the historic Beyoglu district stand a few information touch screens which offer basic information about the weather, upcoming events and things like that.
Here you can also take a photo of yourself and send it by e-mail to family and friends at home. Your photo will be framed with a picture of Istanbul’s historic tram and the Galata tower, which both can be found nearby.
Also the photo will be topped by the headline “Beyoglu hatirasi”, meaning “A memory from Beyoglu”.
VT member revontulet called my attention to these touch screens, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have noticed them.
The touch screen which I used, stands somewhere on the right of the street Istiklal Caddesi (when coming from Taksim Square) between house numbers 158 and 178.Related to:
- Budget Travel
The new Turkish lira
Favorite thing: The new Turkish lira (YTL) is in circulation as of 1 January 2005. Both the old and new Turkish lira banknotes will be in circulation until the end of 2005. After that only the new lira will stay in circulation. According to the brochure on the picture, if you withdraw money from ATM you would probably get a combination of the old and the new bills.
The difference between the old and new Turkish lira is that they had cut out 6 zeros (000 000), which means that 1 000 000 TL = 1 YTL.
Thus, the price for one and the same item had to be quoted (but it is not as far as I had seen) both in new and old Turkish liras. This basically means that, for example, you will have to pay either 13 000 000 TL or 13 YTL.
This could make you feel a bit strange but for me it was OK since we had denomination of the currency in Bulgaria in 1999. The only difference is that we had cut off only 3 zeros :)
What you see on the picture is the old bill of 250 000 TL, the old coin 250 000 TL and the new coin of 25 kurus. Kurus is the equivalent of the cent, i.e. 1 YTL = 100 YKr.
Favorite thing: The Gülhane Park is one of the green lungs in Istanbul’s busy city centre. During Ottoman times it was part of the gardens of the residence of the Ottoman Sultans (Topkapi Palace).
Since 1912 the park is open to the public. At its northern end a nice tea house with large outdoor terraces can be found.
The spot is perfect for panoramic views of the Bospurus and the Golden Horn.
The Gülhane Park is situated between the districts of Sirkeci and Sultanahmed. The neartest tram stop is “Gülhane”.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: Eminönü is the area where the Golden Horn meet Bosphorus and the Galata Bridge crosses the water.
Here you can eat a fishsandwich bought from one of the boats at the quay or visit the Spice Bazaar and Yeni Camii.
Travelling around in Istanbul you will probably come here, maybe to take one of the ferrys or change bus at the busstation.
Favorite thing: I guess it happend to most of us :)) When you travel, you might happen to see some signs that are a bit wierd, funny or just strange. I think easyoar had a pretty good colection of such signs :)))
I have the habit of taking pictures of such signs, so I could not resist the temptation of taking a picture when I saw what you see on the picture. It was in an underground passage near the Galata bridge.
If I had more time I would have checked the WC to see what is so modern about it but I guess I will have to solve this mystery next time I go to Istanbul ;)
Favorite thing: Taksim Square (Taksim Meydani) is a big, livley square in Beyoglu. It is a meetingplace in the northeastern end of Istiklal Caddesi.
Here you find an Atatürk statue - a must in every Turkish city. Buses are leaving from the square to many places in Istanbul.
When Life Gives You Lemons
Favorite thing: Like your average tourist, we couldn't leave Istanbul without buying something to take home. I mean you have to have some kind of souvenir, right? And bargaining in the bazaars is considered part of the "Istanbul experience." Coming from Jerusalem, we've been to marketplaces before, so you'd think we would be old hands at this. We didn't try anything as complicated as buying a carpet or a leather coat, which can set you back hundreds of dollars. We limited ourselves to a few fake designer shirts, a jogging suit, some leather wallets and belts, a couple of decorative pillows.
Turns out most of it was junk. The designer shirts, which were packaged, turned out to be damaged. One of them ripped down the front in the first washing. The tassels of the pillows fell off after one day. I still have my doubts about the wallets being genuine leather.
But we did buy one item that I am very happy with, and cost me all of 1 Turkish lira - a lemon squeezer. This gadget (see photo) is a kind of plastic screw that you twist into the top of the lemon. When you squeeze the lemon, the juice gathers in the cup-like top. If you don't need that much, the lemon, with the screw still in it, can be kept for a whole week in the fridge without drying out. Just put it in a glass or a small container so it stands upright.
Fondest memory: And where did I get this little marvel? On the ferry to the island of Buyukada. These ferries provide enterprising Turks with a chance to peddle their wares to a captive audience. On the way to the island, a fellow got up and put on a whole act, squeezing lemons and handing the screw around for people to examine. Packs of two were going for 1YTL. We bought a few and gave some as gifts. In this case, my only regret is that I didn't buy more.Related to:
- Women's Travel
- Historical Travel
- Food and Dining
Favorite thing: The wonderful architecture, history and sights, the absolutely fanstastic people, and the tea!!
1. You will likely be visiting some mosques. Read up on mosque etiquette.
2. If possible buy/pre-order any museum/attraction tickets online.
3. Ask the taxi fare before taking off in a taxi, especially if it’s late at night or coming from an airport.
4. Charge your camera batteries every night.
5. Learn at least Hello, Thank you, and Goodbye in Turkish.
6. Turn your cell phones off inside mosques, churches, museums, etc. If it rings and you must take the call, do it outside!
7. If there’s a running commentary (live or recorded), be polite and be quiet.
8. Dress appropriately and be respectful in mosques and churches.
9. If you’re traveling with children, don’t let them disrupt others around you. If they cry or throw a tantrum, take them outside.
10. If you have a complaint, do it reasonably without yelling and cursing.
11. Regarding pictures:
a. If there are signs saying “No pictures”, don’t take pictures! There’s a reason for the signs. b. Learn how to use your camera before the trip. If there are signs saying “No flash”, make sure you know how to use the camera without it.
c. If you see a couple or family with one person taking pictures of the other(s), offer to take a picture of both/all of them. Maybe they’ll reciprocate.
12. Check local holidays. Since many museums and stores will be closed, you’ll need to have other plans for the day. Also many museums close on specific days so be sure to check that as well.
13. Try new things, especially food (including street food).
14. Don’t try to do too much. Leave some open time to just explore.
15. You’re on vacation so relax and have a good time!
Quick Pointers on Money
Favorite thing: If you need money for transportation from the airport, just change a small amount. The airport banks always take a commission. As you walk around town, you will pass change shops with posted signs and get a better idea of the exchange rates being offered. When you see a good rate, go for it. We found a little place inside the Grand Bazaar that offers decent rates and takes no commission. The customers were all Turkish. Maybe that says something.
Don’t pay in Euros or dollars or you’ll end up paying more. The market people will chat you up and pretend to be your best friend, but they are all out to make a buck. Don't be afraid to say no, even if they run after you (which they very often do). If you're not sure about something, don't buy it. Chances are you'll find what you’re looking for around the next corner. There are stacks and stacks of the same merchandise wherever you go. Just make sure to check everything carefully before you buy. In the bazaars, many items are cheaply made and have small damages that may not be noticeable at first glance.
The currency now in use is the YTL, or Yeni Turk Lirasi, which means New Turkish Lira. All the zeroes have been lopped off, so you will no longer pay millions of lira for a Coke. One YTL = 100 kurus (pronounced “kooROOSH”). This changeover took place in January 2005, but there are still shopkeepers who quote prices in “milyon.”Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
An Open and Shut Case
Favorite thing: Few things are more disappointing than arriving in Istanbul and finding out that the sites you were planning to visit are closed. So pay close attention to what is open and shut on the days you are there. It can be confusing.
(Note: This is not the word of God. Schedules have a way of changing, so check before you go)
1) The Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays. Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
2) Aya Sofia (St. Sophia) is closed on Mondays. Winter hours: 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.; summer hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
3) Supermarkets are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
4) The whirling dervishes perform at Sirkeci train station on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 p.m. The performance lasts 1 hour. Get there half an hour early.
5) Topkapi Palace is closed on Tuesdays. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours during the summer.
6) The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet) is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but is closed to non-Muslim tourists during prayer times.
7) Dolmabahce Palace is closed on Thursdays. The English tour begins at 11 a.m.
8) The Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Saray) is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
9) The Military Museum is closed on Sundays and Thursdays. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. An Ottoman military band plays in the afternoons, from 3 to 4 p.m.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Women's Travel
- Museum Visits
Favorite thing: Istanbul has many many beautiful beaches that you may enjoy if you are visiting during summertime..
The Bosphorus line is not very recommended to swim,however there are many alternative beaches ...
The beaches of Kilyos,Uskumrukoy are located in Black sea coast of Istanbul,where you can reach within an hour from Taksim Square..
Ypu can also reach Princess Islands by ferry from Eminonu and Kabatas ports...
Fondest memory: My favourites are:
BURC BEACH -Member's only but if you name a member,they let you in..Admission is 15 $
SOLAR BEACH A private beach club for everyone who pays $ 15 :)
and the beaches of Princess Islands..Related to:
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: I think that its time to help the visitors of Istanbul.
know already that, Istanbul is situated in two continents.Small portion on Asian side ...The most popular places of Asian side are Kadikoy,Uskudar,Beykoz,Maltepe,Bostanci,Tuzla,Pendik...
The European side is divided with a small bay which is called Golden Horn (Halic in Turkish)
The Old Town is situated in the left side ( west) of golden horn and famous places are called Eminonu,Sultanahmet,Fatih,Beyazit...
On the east side(east)of Golden Horn take place the modern site of Istanbul famous places are called Galata,Taksim,Beyoglu,Sisli,Levent,
Bosphorus is the channel between two continents and it links the Black sea with Marmara sea .There are also 2 bridges(Ataturk bridge,Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge) which links the Europe with Asia.
"Mimar Sinan" Fine Arts School, Istanbul, TR ...
Favorite thing: Mimar Sinan Fine Arts School is a Turkish state school dedicated to the higher education of fine arts. It is located in the Findikli neighborhood of İstanbul.
The institution was founded on January 1, 1882 as the "School of Fine Arts" by the renowned Turkish painter Osman Hamdi Bey, who was also an art historian, archeologist and museum curator. Being the first of its kind in Turkey, education in fine arts and architecture began on March 2, 1883 with 8 instructors and 20 students.
Academic units r natural sciences and literature (archeology, pedagogy, physics, statistics, mathematics, history of art, sociology, history, Turkish philology and literature), fine arts (photography, traditional Turkish handicrafts, graphic design, sculpture, painting, stage design and stage clothes, ceramics art and glass art, cinema and TV, textile design and fashion design, bookbinding, tilework restoration, calligraphy, rug and old textile design).
The school has a perfect designed building w live colors and located next to the Mimar Sinan University ...Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Not So Kemal
Favorite thing: Far be it from me to pass judgment on the national hero of a country I spent less than a week in, but all the idolization of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk has made me curious about the man versus the myth. Wherever we went in Istanbul we bumped into giant statues of him – overlooking the Bosphorus, in Gulhane Park, at the top of Istiklal Caddesi. A huge gold “death mask” of Ataturk is one of the first things you see when you walk into the train station. On the monument it says “No mutlu Turkum diyene” – Proud is he who is a Turk.
Clearly, Ataturk was proud to be a Turk, but it was Turkishness of his own invention.
When he was born, circa 1880, his parents called him Mustafa. His math teacher dubbed him “Kemal,” which means perfection, and “Ataturk” – father of the Turks – came later. In fact, he wasn’t even born in Turkey, but in the Balkans. He chose a military career in the Ottoman army and gradually worked his way up to the top.
As we see so often in this part of the world, military heroism became a springboard for politics. His nationalist movement, the Young Turks, overthrew the Sultan. When the Republic of Turkey came into being on October 29, 1923, Kemal was elected president. He introduced major political, social, legal, educational, cultural and economic reforms. In short, the man was a reformer par excellence.
Fondest memory: In this respect, he reminds me of some other national leaders I know (Israel’s David Ben-Gurion comes to mind). He was a democratic leader in name, but something of a dictator in practice. According to his leadership approach, you don’t give the people what they want. You give them what they need. And he decided what they needed was to shed Islamic customs – from hats to alphabets, as if these were responsible for holding progress back. What Turkey needed, in his eyes, was to be Europe.
Kemal’s intentions were good, but it turned out that they – and he – were far from perfect. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, his detracters say, was a womanizer, a pedophile and a drunk. He died at 57 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver, leaving behind a country that has indeed made progress, but continues to be torn between East and West.Related to:
- Women's Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: Taksim Square is in the heart of what we would like to think of as modern Istanbul. The square is a major traffic hub. It seems that all buses in the Beyoglu district end up here. It here that you will find all the big shiny hotels like the Hilton and other major chains. There are also many fast food franchises congregated here such as Arby's and Burger King. Most importantly it is here that the main shopping pedistran way, the Istiklal Caddesi, begins. Structures of note in the square include the Cumhuriyet Aniti, otherwise known as the Republic Monument. Also something to consider, is that it is here that protesters tend to horde when they choose to demonstrate. During my second trip through the square, I say numerous riot police massing in preparation for such a demonstration. Never did see any demonstrators.Related to:
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