Fun things to do in Istanbul Ili

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Istanbul Ili

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    Pammakaristos Church

    by June.b Updated Nov 22, 2012

    The Church of Theotokos Pammakaristos is built in 1292. It was the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate headquarters from 1456 to 1586.

    Although it was converted to a mosque - Fethiye Camii - in 1591 by the Sultan Murat III, an impressive elaborate 14th century Byzantine mosaic survived in the parakklesion (funerary chapel) which is the main focus of visit to the church part of the place which is now a museum.

    Entry is TL5 sold by the funny and very friendly security staff at the gate.

    The Fethiye Mosque entrance is at the back, along the road down the street. I really wanted to see the mosque inside but unfortunately, they're closing it after prayer times.

    Take the bus no. 99A from the Eminonu bus station (near the Rolex sign) and get off at Balat bus stop and walk your way up the neighborhood, ask local people, they're more than willing to help.

    Pammakaristos Church The minaret and the church. the funerary church The dome of the small church. Back side of the church.
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    Ioannes Prodromos Greek Orthodox Church

    by June.b Written Nov 22, 2012

    The 14th century church was recently renovated with the financial endowment from Kommenos family. It stands along the main Ayvansaray Caddesi highway in the Balat neighborhood of Fatih.

    It isn't even noticeable as a church and there's some digging going on around it.

    It's called Prodromos Baptistis Knigon in a document found dated 1334, then again in 1394 as Tou Kyrou Nikolaou' (Church of Nicholas). The Sinai Monastery renovated the church in 1729 and eventually became a lodging to the monatery's monks.

    The church. at the back of the church back of the church
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    Phanar Greek Orthodox College

    by June.b Written Nov 22, 2012

    Considered to be the most prestigious oldest surviving greek orthodox school in Istanbul, the Phanar Greek Orthodox College red building is constructed in 1881. Located in Fener neighborhood, I happen to stumble upon it when I was looking for the Pamakarristos Church. I thought the red building visible from a distance on top of the hill is the church I was looking for, so I headed onto there despite my aching back -- the climb on the steep street is exhausting.

    It is often referred to as the 5th largest castle in Europe owing to its castle-like design, the locals call it the Red Castle or Red School for obvious reason (red color?). It really looked like a castle on top of the hill overlooking the golden horn. The beautiful dome of the castle-looking school is actually is an observatory used for the astronomy class of the college.

    Standing infront of the building with its high walls, immediately reminded me of the red fort in New Delhi for some reasons, I don't know.

    The Church of St. Mary of the Mongols is beside this college building.

    It was weekend and the gate to the building is closed.

    Boy & his wolf beside the college.
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    Rustem Pasha Mosque

    by June.b Written Nov 21, 2012

    On the opposite side of the vast plaza of the Yeni Mosque (Mosque of the Valide Sultan) in Eminonu is the Rustem Pasha Mosque.

    An ottoman imperial mosque designed by no other than the imperial architect Mimar Sinan for the Grand Vizier Rustem Pasha (husband of Princess Mihrimah. Located right at the beginning of the Uzuncarsi street (local markets that winds up to the spice bazaar) in Tahtakale Mahallesi.

    The mosque is constructed on a terrace with several shops under it. Entrance to the mosque is from both ends through narrow winding stairs that leads to the courtyard where there are about 5 domes supported by columns.

    The mosque is famous for its elaborate iznik tiles inside and out. It's smaller than some of the best works of Sinan but this stands out for reason that it's probaly the only mosque in Istanbul with so many beautiful iznik tiles decorating the whole interior and exterior of the mosque.

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    Skating at Barbaros Park, Besiktas

    by June.b Updated Nov 21, 2012

    I happen to (mistakenly actually) get off the bus from Camlica Hill to Besiktas when I'm supposed to go back to Taksim Square. From Besiktas bus stop I walked to the harbor side to the Besiktas Park where the statue of Barbarossa Hayrettin Pasha stands and beside it is his turbesi (tomb).

    This park in Besiktas facing the bosphorous is full of skaters, from beginners to professionals, particularly during the weekends. There are several kids practicing their kickflips here, skateboarders and rollerskaters competing with various tricks as well as bikers too.

    So for families with kids and adults alike who have time to skate, this is the place to go and compete with the locals.

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    Buyuk Camlica Hill

    by June.b Written Nov 21, 2012

    Camlica Hill, is located on the asian side of Istanbul, about 4kms from Uskudar and is the highest point of the city, thereby commanding a great view of the city and the bosphorous.

    Camlica Hill is divided into Buyuk and Kucuk (big and small), I went to the big hill though. Since I was staying in Taksim area, the bus is the most viable means to get there. I took bus no. 129T al[though the driver wasn't helpful - who told me he's not going to Camlica - I still boarded the bus as I know that bus will pass by there. I missed my stop along Alemdag Caddesi (it should be the Turistik Camlica Cd. bus stop) by one stop so I've to walk back a little to Turistik Camlica Street.

    The walk is uphill so a little challenge for some people (like me), the walk up is less than a kilometer up to the entrance of Buyuk Camlica Hill Park.

    It's a huge park with all sides have a view of the city -- at one side, the Bosphorous and the other side some tall building from the business district. Vast green lawns where children were rolling, there's a picnic ground with wooden tables on one side beneath big trees and a children playground at the end of it. Large parking lot, some restaurants and cafe and wide panorama view decks.

    Rising above sea level at 260 meters +, it's host to probably more than a dozen television and radio antennas.

    It's a favorite retreat park for resident families and some tourist alike. it's far from the main sights in Sultanahmet or Taksim, so few tourists go there. I saw mostly arab tourists during the time I went there.

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    The Cistern of Philoxenos

    by June.b Written Nov 21, 2012

    Also known as Binbirdirek Cistern which means 1001 columns, but in reality there are only 224 columns supporting the hypostyle chamber. Each column measures about 15 meters in height.

    This is a water reservoir built under the palace of Antiochos during the 4th century during Constantine the Great's reign. it is the oldest known water reservoir in Istanbul, a little earlier than the Basilica Cistern beside the Hagia Sophia which was built by during the reign of Justinian I in the 6th century.

    With several trips to the city, i just happen to see this sight from a documentary film I've seen online so I've searched for it. Located just behind a little on the side of the Sultanahmet Park, the small street called Imran Oktem Caddesi, where there's a small store kiosk, few meters from McDonalds. It's few meters from Sultanahmet tram station.

    In my opinion though, the Basilica Cistern is a lot more interesting than this one. This is very commercialized with restaurant inside with a catering service, and it's used as a mini concert venue. Huge white curtains adorned some arches. As you enter the place, you'll hear a somewhat mystic music that makes the place enchanting.

    Entry is TL10 and would take probably 10 minutes of your time as it's not really a big area to wander around in comparison with the basilica cistern.

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    Church of Holy Savior in Chora

    by June.b Updated Aug 17, 2012

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    Considered to be one of the best example of a byzantine church, the Chora Church or Kariye Muzesi boasts one of the best and well preserved mosaics in its interiors. These mosaics depicts the life of Christ from childhood to adulthood to crucifixion and beyond, so watch carefully. It's impressive, so take a day out of the usual tourist path and go to there. People say it's out of the way or transport is complicated, but those were in theory, in reality it's easy.

    I'm always is Istanbul and I always ignore this place, so one day I decided to check the location on google map, and I figured there must be a way to go there by tram -- not bus.

    I was staying near Beyazid tram station (2nd stop from Sultanahmet, so if you're in Sultanahmet, it's the same tram) so I took the tram the one going to Zeytinburnu, get off at the 8th station called Topkapi (10th from Sultanahmet), then from Topkappi tram station walk up to the gound level and few steps - you will see it immediately, take the Metro that goes to Mescid-e-Selam and get off at the 3rd station called Edirnekapi. Get out and walk your way to the wall and you'll see what looks like an entrance between walls which is actually a highway/road, just beside one of the wall to your left is a small stairs and go up there and on the first street on your right walk your way down until the end and youll find the Chora Church on your left. Don't worry, all people in that area knows the place, I asked the old man selling bottled water near the walls of Constantine, and there's also a sign.

    Entry Fee = TL15.

    I took some pictures that may help you find it on the Transport Page (click).

    Chora Church Mosaic at one of the dome's interior beautiful small garden at the backside arch mosaics
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    Cable car ride at the Golden Horn.

    by June.b Updated Jun 2, 2012

    For the _nth time, I went to Pierre Loti cafe at the golden horn, this time with a a family. The kids love it.

    The view of the golden horn is nice up there. Order a cup of tea while enjoying the view.

    Cable car ride costs TL2, very short ride up and down about 3 minutes. You can use the Akbil card or the Istanbul Kart to pay for the cable car fare.

    You can take the the bus 99A from Eminonu port to the place. Or if you're a group or family, take a taxi, it's more cost-effective.

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    Princes Island

    by June.b Updated Jun 2, 2012

    Take the "N" out of the princes and that the equivalent of the island. But seriously, although most prices are expensive at Princes Island, you can always get away with it, it's nothing different from the center of Istanbul. If you get used to it and got the hang of it. Things are pretty normal and Princes Island is a nice place to spend a day or two or just a day trip.

    We went to Princes Island as I took my friend and his family there for a couple of days stay. It's a long ferry trip. We just stayed in Buyukada, the biggest of the 9 chain of islands.

    The island is bustling with local and foreign tourists and it was April, so I could not imagine the rush on this island during summers or weekends on summers.

    Good to spend a full day for day trippers from morning til late afternoon, a good rest from the traffic in Istanbula s the island is devoid of cars. People walk or take the horse-driven phaeton.

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    Street dancing at Istiklal Street

    by June.b Written Jun 1, 2012

    This is one of the things that is a staple event along Istiklal Street.

    Stop for a moment and dance with the local people or just watch and join the merriment of the people dancing in circles, arms on each others shoulders. When you go and walk along this famous pedestrian street, more often than not, you'll find people dancing in circles - mostly group doing iot for a cause. Don't be surprise when a lot of people stop, even the tram stops.

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    Atik Ali Pasha Camii

    by June.b Written Jun 1, 2012

    The entrance to the Atik Ali Pasha mosque is along the Yeniceler Caddesi very near the tall column of Constantine. When you're walking from the Grand Bazaar along the main tramvay track to Sultanahmet, it is on your left side just after the Corlulu Ali Pasha Medresesi.

    Atik Ali Pasha mosque is an old Ottoman mosque built by by Grand Vizier Bosnali Hadim Atik Ali Pasha in 1496 during the time of Sultan Beyazit II.

    Inside the Atik Ali Pasha Mosque
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    Sultanahmet Park

    by June.b Written Jun 1, 2012

    This is the counterpart of Taksim Square in Beyoglu - In Sultanahmet. Sultanahmet Park is the meeting place of all tourists in the historical peninsula. Sultanahmet Park is surrounded by all the historical sights in Sultanahmet and by tousands of flowers in diffent colours too.

    It also has an amphitheater where musicians hold their concerts on many nights. There's an open-air exhibit like a bazaar selling wares like plates with custom-made calligraphy and a couple of sketch artists.

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    Taksim Square

    by June.b Written Jun 1, 2012

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    This is the very central part of Beyoglu area, if not the center of Istabul. They call it the heart of Istanbul.

    This is the start of the most famous pedestrian street of the city called Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Street). It's a park in itself, you'll find everything on this square - the Monument of the Republic done by the famous Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica and inaugurated in 1928. The historical tram also starts here, the underground Metro train and funicular tram, the bus terminal, several restaurants, hotels surround the square.

    There are regular police troups here as all street demonstrations start at the square.

    Most often than not, you'll either start or end at this square.

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    The imposing Galata Tower

    by June.b Updated May 14, 2012

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    The first aviator to have flewn with artificial wings launched his first attempt at the Galata Tower, passing the bosphorous and landing at Uskudar... sounds like a movie?

    It was not my plan goin' to Galata tower (originally known as the Tower of Christ). I took a tram from Sultanahmet got down Eminonu and walk along the bridge and watch people trying to catch fish along the Bosphorous straits, twas an awesome sight, stand there for quite sometime and didn't see any big catch from anyone. I wonder if they're doin' that as a hobby or ...well... I guess it's the fun of it! Standing at the bridge I turned my head up right and saw this imposing tower, so I walk to it's direction, passing traffic lights and going up the road... believe me, it's a deal of a sweat. I climbed the atypical-looking stairs with an old man standing selling those round bread that looks like huge pretzels and walk some more winding road going up and the sight of the 67meters high tower is just marvelous! Go up the tower to see the whole of Istanbul or dine at it's restaurant & cafe.

    You can also take the way coming from Taksim to the tunnel going to the tower.

    Hours: 09.00 - 20.00 Daily
    Admission: YTL10 (YTL5 for locals)

    The Galata Tower The stairs I took going up Galata Front of Galata tower
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