This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The content here is written by Oguz Kosebalaban except for the few quots from CNN and alike. The author Oguz Kosebalaban ( Oğuz Kösebalaban ) is still leading tours in Istanbul and rest of Turkey as a licenced official tour guide. You can contact him for your private tours at email@example.com If you can bare with patience to the few sample tour programs at the beginning, it will be followed by insightful useful material, not stated , underestimated, or unincluded by other sources.
istanbul highlighs – site descriptions and 2 days tour program
Filed under: 1 — Tags: article on topkapi hagia sophia blue mosque basilica cistern hippodorome, facts on top istanbul sites, istanbul top site descriptions, istanbul's top sites, old town istanbul highlights, private istanbul tour program for two days pdf article, top 5 sites of istanbul, top sites of istanbul in two days — Private İstanbul Program for 2 or 3 days ( until I include the photos to the article below , you may access the photo version of this text also at scribd.com : http://www.scribd.com/doc/28502706/Istanbul-Highlighs-Site-Descriptionsand-2-Days-Tour-Program ) This program includes visits to special Istanbul sites some of which are not the focus of large tour groups due to requiring special interest or convenience which includes difficulties with parking tour busses : As an instance in an interesting list named “ 1000 places you should see before you die’ , the name of a mosque from Istanbul is given, Suleymaniye Mosque. This is more impressive than Blue Mosque; yet its location is not easily accessible for tour busses or parking is expensive for tour vans ; as a result less tours go to see this superior mosque of Istanbul. Your tour guide will adjust the order of the visits, with daily small fine tunings according to what accommodates you the best. On some of the days the cruiseship passengers crowd the major museums and on such days visiting especially Topkapi Palace around 4.30 – 5 p.m. may work better. Topkapi Palace stays open until 7 pm . Detailed descriptions of the sites mentioned in the program are at the bottom of these pages.
Day 1. You will begin your day by exploring the 4 century old narrow streets around the Spice Market before getting to the mainstream visitors’ interest, The Egyptian Bazaar named as Spice Market in English resources. Then onto Sokullu M. Pasa mosque for a brief stop which is close to the Blue Mosque to have the experience of a visit to a mosque that is not the mainstream tourist attraction. This is one of the most impressive mosques of architect Sinan of the 16th century despite being smaller in size than the sultan mosques. The mosque has got pieces of the most sacred stone for the Muslims, the black stone – hacerüleswed. Blue Mosque and Hippodrome will be the next stops. After lunch break explore Ayasofya , the Byzantine Cathedral, and Basilica Cistern. Day 2. Topkapi Palace and highlights of the Archaelogical Museum will cover the whole morning. Notice : Harem of Topkapi palace is only available before 3 p.m., guides are not allowed to give information in the Harem, and there is no palace guide inside. Only hiring an electronic talking guide hand unit is available. Dolmabahce palace’s harem section is recommended more, since it has got almost all of the original furnitures as opposed to few in Topkapi . After lunch a visit to a reputable warehouse, Sirca is possible, if you grow your interests in these Turkish arts : Ceramic and pottery. Sirca is the provider of state ceramic gifts to the dignitaries of the countries visited by their Turkish counterparts; Attending a pottery production performance is possible ( on most tours in the old town, walking from one site to another nearbye one may equal walking and standing all day long; such stops for brief demonstrations also help to rest a bit. ) Later you can also stop by the store of their major rival in Turkey , Iznik ceramic foundation if you have further interest. Proceed to Suleymaniye Mosque and Grand Bazaar. Late afternoon : Explore Istiklal Street with tunel area, Balik Pazari ( fish market ) Nevizade Street, Cicek Pasaji, Ara Guler’s café ( just walk by) , St. Antuanne Church. Day 3. Drive along Golden Horn Estuary to go to Chora. Chora the Byzantine church with its Christian mosaics and frescoes Is in any art book referring to the Byzantines. (visit http://www.pbase.com/dosseman/istanbul_kariye )
At 3 o’clock is the Ottoman military band performance in Nisantasi district. Half an hour stay will introduce this band that influenced in Mozart, Beethoven and Chaikowsky. If the concert is indoors there will also be an impressive slide presentation for 10 minutes. On a weekend day , lesser known by visitors but trendy for locals is Ortakoy district ( see the site desription section below ) , where unpressurised shopping with inexpensive souveniers from lady street vendors will be available, as well as a Bosphorus cruise. We recommend a 3.30 p.m. visit to this area with a cruise by 4.20 or an hour later. Time Planning : The tours are 8 hours, they may begin at 8.30 9 or 9.30 according to your selection ( most museums open at 9 or 9.30 ) Istiklal Street can best be enjoyed at early evening from 8 to 9 p.m. So, the day you would enjoy a late visit to Topkapi palace, Istiklal Street can be combined . Bosphorus Cruise and Ortakoy district is more fun at about 7 p.m. , this can be combined with your dinner, with the areas fine restaurants like Feriye. If you would like a late Ortakoy program after 5.30 p.m. though there will be surcharge for keeping your guide and your van longer, you will surely enjoy this better. Your Tour Guide We just use top guides for our tours. Your Tour Guide is Oguz Kosebalaban who also has a bachelor’s degree from Ankara University’s Faculty of Political Sciences. He is a short movie film maker and scenario writer. In April 2007 his short movie was found eligible to compete in the finals in a contest held by Nokia , Turkey in cooperation with İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts ( http://www.iksv.org/film/english/film.asp?Cid=195 ) His movie is at the end of the list , since the list of movies is in Alphabetical order. His travel articles are frequently being quoted in his colleague’s tours. His website address is www.welldoneturkey.com Site Descriptions : Ortakoy District This is a waterfront area that resembles to Seaport of New York City, the major difference being the mosque instead of the mall at Seaport. This is right before the first suspension bridge connecting Europe to Asia over
the Bosphorus Straits, as referred to in Homer’s book Odyssey, the site of the clashing rocks. 19th century Grand Mecidiye Mosque is situated on the shore as if it were floating. This was the setting as the background with the mosque and the bridge connecting two continents for the speech of President Bush during Nato summit in 2004, the context of which was the peace between eastern and western world, the brotherhood of religions. The location was intelligently chosen by The U.S. ( http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/06/20040629.html ) with especially the mosque being the background for president Bush at a time when American jets were bombing another muslim nation’s territory, Iraque. This contributed to the image of the U.S. to emphasise that the U.S. was friends with Islamic nations , the Iraque conflict does not have any religious connection. ( by then your guide Oguz Kosebalaban escorted CBS News, and analysed the choice for this setting for the tv commenter ) This area converts into an up scaled flea market – the look is the look of a flea market but the items offered on the stands are brand new and nice, and prices are much beter than the tripled or quadrupled rates of Grand Bazaar. But stil there is minor negotiation possibilities from the low profit margins of these sweat lady vendors. Daily after 4.20 there is a Bosphorus cruise departure from here. Istiklal Street Ayasofya (Below; on the left . Across Ayasofya on the right is Blue Mosque with 6 minarets) 532-537 emperor Justinian I erected the greatest Church in the ancient Christian world. The bold structure was a combination of Roman Basilica and domed Roman central building, the central element of which was a dome with a diameter of 101,7 ft (31 m) and a height of 160,7 ft. (49 m) after the example of Hadrian’s Pantheon in Rome. Neither in Byzantine nor Osmane days this dimension ever was surpassed. After several seismic shocks however the dome imploded in 558. The dome we see today was consecrated in 562. The dome we see today is 23 ft (7 m) higher and was consecrated in 562. Daylight is flooding the church through 91 windows, illuminating the incredible beauty of the interior, which is adorned with marble tiles, elaborate, colourful mosaics and pictures, created from ceramics, precious and semiprecious stones, gold… The structure of the interior and the play of light convey the impression of weightlessness, which certainly contributed to the churches
legendary fame. Thanks to its grandeur and beauty the church served as a house of God, even under the reign of Osmane Sultans, all together for almost 1400 years! After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by the Turks under Mehmed II, the Hagia Sophia was used as mosque until the Turkish republic was founded in 1923. Today it is a museum. Hippodrome This is the area in front of Blue Mosque. The most precious ancient remnant of the Hippodrome and oldest monument of Constantinople is the Egyptian obelisk, which was erected by Pharaoh Thutmosis III in Karnak 1471 BC. Tripod of Plataea : The three snakes of the Tripod of Plataea, seen on the left , was transferred to Constantinople by the emperor Constantine, where it stands today in the Hippodrome Square. The names of the cities, which took part in the battle, are written in the body. Basilica Cistern The cistern, built by emperor Justinian around 542, is also called the “Sunken Palace”, which aptly reflects the magical atmosphere of this subterranean building. The reservoir had a capacity of 80.000 cubic feet of water and provided the quarter around the Hagia Sophia as well as the emperor’s palace and later the Topkapi palace. On an area of 453 x 213 ft. (138 x 65 m) or 2,2 acres (8970 m²) a dim wood of 336 marble columns, which support the up to 8 m high vault, is reflected in the water. Walkways and atmospheric lighting make the Cistern a great tourist attraction, which takes you back into ancient times. Topkapı Palace The imperial Palace of the Ottomans is the hub of the Ottoman universe (complete sightseeing tour: allow for ½ day) After conquering Constantinople, Mehmet II chose the smartest spot in town as his home. At the tip of the peninsula on which Constantinople was located, washed by the waves of the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara, he built his Topkapi Palace subdivided into four courtyards. It wasn’t just his home, however. This is where the strings of world history were being pulled: the business of the empire was done , the Ottoman bureaucracy was educated, and the sultan’s elite troops, the janissaries, housed (first courtyard). By the way, from this first courtyard one path towards ( the direction of the street car street ) north takes you to the Archaelogical museum . And being less than careful in the second courtyard could actually cost you your head. If you were only waiting to see the sultan about something (third
courtyard), you’d better watch which queue you were in – the sultan’s executioners were also housed here, ready to fulfil their master’s wishes. And, if you thought you could catch a glimpse of what was going on in the harem (Buy a separate ticket , well worth the visit!), you’d be very wrong. The harem, well-guarded by the sultan’s mother, could be entered by only one man – the sultan himself (as you can well imagine, eunuchs could come and go as they pleased). From the early 16th century, when the brothers of the heir to the throne were no longer being sent straight back to meet their maker, they were also allowed to live in the harem. ( in a cosy cell ) And if now, like the sultan in former times, you feel like taking a break and a cup of coffee, go on to the fourth courtyard, a large garden with pavilions and an unforgettable view of the entrance to the Bosphorus. Spice Market Kuru yemis (KOO-roo yeh-meesh) means “dried fruits.” Turkey grows a lot of wonderful fruit. To preserve and store it in the days before tin cans and refrigeration, much of it was dried. Dried fruit is convenient! No cans or packages to open or dispose of, no need for refrigeration. Just add mouth! Plums, figs, dates, apricots, apples…even blackberries and other berries which are pressed and dried into sheets (“fruit leather“), the stuff you see right at the center of the photo above; from the Spice Market. Don’t forget the nuts: high protein, high flavor, low maintenance: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios and of course hazelnuts (filberts), of which Turkey’s Black Sea Coast furnishes half the world supply. Grand Bazaar Though this bazaar became rather touristy especially with cruiseships bringing couples of ten thousand visitors on some of the days! ; still this is an impressive site at least for window shopping ; if you are not pulled into a shop by a slightly more than enthusiastic! Vendor! ) The mother of all covered market places had humble beginnings as a much smaller market in 1461, during the reign of Mehmet the Conqueror. Now comprised of well over four thousand shops stretching over a maze of sixtyodd winding streets, it easily holds the title of largest covered market in the world. And inside: everything from belly-dancing outfits to ‘cezve’ (pronounced ‘jesveh’ – the special copper pots for brewing Turkish coffee). The bazaar’s streets are named and labeled, but still confusing. Unfortunately, this bustling space of the new and old has had its fair share of tragedies. Earthquakes and fires have both affected the building more than once – the most recent being the major fire of 1954. After each event, the Grand Bazaar was repaired, but original records have been lost forever. And so, we’ve lost that bit of history too. But life marches on in and around the bazaar. Around, because the marketplace is not merely within the walls of the official covered section, but it also extends past the surrounding areas to create an open-air shopping arena that disappears each evening until its subsequent morning arrival.
Bosphorus Cruise Bosphorus Straits divides Europe from Asia and connects Black Sea to Marmara Sea and never fails to impress visitors with upscaled waterfront wooden mansions, palaces, fortresses, parks and woods. Bosphorus is mentioned twice in Mythology : Jason and the Argounats crossing the clashing rocks ( Bosphorus Straits must then be an earth quake fault line – hence ; “clashing rocks” ) , and its link with Io , the mistress of Zeus , giving it the name Bosphorus , meaning the passage of the heifer. Not to forget Persian King Darius crossing his army on a bridge made up of boats anchored next to one another. 2 impressive suspension bridges, palatial houses on both sides, Ottoman Palaces (Dolmabahce, Beylerbeyi, Ciragan ) , Castles ( Rumeli and Anadolu Castles ), mosques, forests and more. Blue Mosque Sultan Ahmed I, who ascended the throne at the age of fourteen was an extremely religious-minded sultan, who displayed his religious fervor in his decision to construct a mosque to compete with Ayasofya. For the site, a suitable place was long sought before the decision was taken. At last the mosque decided to build on the site of the palace of Ayse Sultan. The owner of the palace was compensated and the site prepared by the architect Sedefkar Mehmet Aga, who began the construction in 1609. This architect poet and inlayer completed this great work in 1617. An imperial lodge, school, service kiosk and single and double storied shops were included in the complex, which spread over the area around the mosque. The mosque itself is surrounded on three sides by a broad courtyard, and is entered on each side by a total of eight portals. The inner court is reached through three gates, and is paved in marble, and surrounded by revaks supported on columns of pink granite and marble, and two of porphyry, and surmounted by 30 cupolas. A fine fountain for ablution takes up the center of the courtyard, surrounded by six marble columns. The mosque is unique with its six minarets in Istanbul. Four of these have three balconies, two have two balconies each, a total of 16 in all. The most original feature of the mosque is the 260 windows through which it is so well lit. A total of 21043 tiles have been used in the interior. The mosque received its synonym as the Blue Mosque from the bluish haze given to the interior by these tiles. The faience consists of floral and rumi motifs of various colors on white ground. These are very fine examples of the art of tiling. The bronze and wooden decorations and artifacts of the mosque are also very fine. Calligraphy is the work of Kasim Gubari and the fine mother-of-pearl window shutters are the work of Sedefkar Mehmet Ada. Ahmed I died in 1617 and was buried near the mosque. Süleymaniye Mosque The cascading domes and four slender minarets of the Imperial Suleymaniye Mosque dominate the skyline on the Golden Horn’s west bank. Considered the most beautiful of all imperial mosques in Istanbul, it was built between 1550 and 1557 by Sinan, the renowned architect of the Ottoman Empire’s golden
age. Erected on the crest of a hill, the building is conspicuous for its great size, emphasized by the four minarets that rise from each comer of the courtyard. Inside are the mihrab (prayer niche showing the direction to Mecca) and the mimber (pulpit) made of finely carved white marble and exquisite stained-glass windows coloring the incoming streams of light. It was in the gardens of this complex that Suleyman and his wife, Hurrem Sultan (Roxelane), had their mausolea built, and near here also Sinan built his own tomb. The mosque complex also includes four medreses, or theological schools, a school of medicine, a caravanserai, a Turkish bath, and a kitchen and hospice for the poor. Turkish Bath Another great experience in Istanbul is experiencing a Turkish Bath visit at one of the historical Istanbul Baths in the Old Town. Before the times everyone had a bathroom in their homes, a trip to the hammam was essential, in order to perform your ritual cleansing which was also a must according to Islam. While declining in popularity amongst the local folks since the widespread availability of hot and cold running water, the hammam continues to be a “try it once” type activity for enthusiastic visitors. A funny action Turkish bath sequence of one of Jackie Chan’s Movie – Golden Fist was filmed in one of these Baths. ( as described by a visitor in past years : ) “ Wiley and I paid 10 million lira ( the ongoing rate for full service is about 70 Lira , today = 55$ ) each for our scrubbings. Then we parted, as the hammam we were in wasn’t co-ed, but apparently many are today. I didn’t really want a guy giving me a bath, so we specifically hunted this place down. Once in the women’s changing area, I was given a thin cloth, a locker key, and told to “take everything off”. ( you may wear your bathing suit, but still they provide a bath material the size of a bath towel , which you wrap around your body ) I obeyed, somewhat tenuously, and silently wished that I had read more closely the section of the guidebook that describes exactly WHAT you’re supposed to do, once inside. The changing room attendant pointed the way into a hallway, which I followed, until it came to a large, domed room, with a round marble slab in the center, and marble sinks all around the outside. There was one woman in there already, laid out on the slab, so I followed her lead. I took off my cloth, spread it out on the warm marble, and laid myself out. I was somewhat uncomfortable at first, but more and more women came into the room, and it became obvious that none of us had a clue what was going on, so I relaxed. It was very warm in the room and I was sweating profusely, but it was quiet and calm in there, and I just laid back and looked lazily at the warm sunlight filtering in through the small circular windows in the dome. Eventually I was called over to another part of the slab by a large Turkish women, who was wearing nothing but navy blue panties and the evidence of a Caesarean section. She spread out my cloth, and motioned for me to lay down. She then proceeded to pour buckets of warm water all over me, then
scrubbed me down with some type of exfoliating mitt. Then she brought over a bucket of warm, sudsy water and began my “soap down”. I’m pretty sure I’ve never been so clean. The cleaning also included a light massage, which was nice. Once she had soaped me up and washed me, she rinsed me with more warm water, then lead me into another room, where she washed my hair. After a couple more rinses with warm water, she hit me with a final bucket of cold water, which felt really good. After that, I dried off, dressed, and met Wiley back in the lobby. We both agreed that it was a somewhat bizarre experience, but that it certainly must have been luxurious in the days before hot running water.”
add IQ -Istanbul for advanced visitors :)
Tags: istanbul for advanced visitors, istanbul for those who have been before, less common highlights of istanbul, lesser known jewels of istanbul, not the common highlights of istanbul, other highlights of istanbul
Lesser Known Jewels of İstanbul Istanbul For Advanced Visitors
( until I include the photos to the article below , you may access the photos included version of this text at http://www.scribd.com/doc/28502758/Add-IQ-Istanbul-for-Advanced-Visitors )
This tour program is designed for visitors who have already been to the typical highlights of Istanbul like Ayasofya, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Spice Market. At each site on this tour the duration is between 45 minute to 1 hour which is plenty to appreciate each site without overdoing it; this also enables inclusion of other sites to the program. The detailed site description is below the itinerary information. We will begin our day with a stop at the Byzantine church Chora – now a museum; famous for the Mosaics and frescoes showing the life cycles of Christ and Mary; especially Mary’s life cycyle based on St. James’ apocryphal Gospel . The highlights of the Archeological Museum ( sarcophagi and Istanbul & Environs sections only )
Basilica cistern from 6th century is our next stop before lunch. This structure is also famous for a sequence of a James Bond movie – From Russia with Love, filmed here. After lunch we are heading to the 19th century Dolmabahce Palace’s – Harem Section where we will explore the interesting details of the Harem life with incredible decorations from ceiling to the floor. Then we will visit Ortakoy district; a lovely waterfront area which turns into a nice street market on weekends. Here you may take your own postcard quality photo of the famous mosque Grand Mecidiye and the suspension bridge connecting the two continents as well as the Bosphorus straits. Note : 1. There is an Ottoman military Band performance at 3 o’clock in the Military museum for half hour, including an incredible slide presentation. Addition of this expands the program for 1 hour. 2. Below you will also find the details of a stroll on Istiklal Street , as well as lesser known interesting off Spice Market areas. Modifying the program by adding or subtracting some of these sites is available.
Site Descriptions : Spice Market and neighboring streets
Kuru yemis (KOO-roo yeh-meesh) means “dried fruits.” Turkey grows a lot of wonderful fruit. To preserve and store it in the days before tin cans and refrigeration, much of it was dried. Dried fruit is convenient! No cans or packages to open or dispose of, no need for refrigeration. Just add mouth! Plums, figs, dates, apricots, apples…even blackberries and other berries which are pressed and dried into sheets (“fruit leather“). Don’t forget the nuts: high protein, high flavor, low maintenance: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios and of course hazelnuts (filberts), of which Turkey’s Black Sea Coast furnishes half the world supply. Off-Spice Market shopping streets are at least as impressive as Spice Market ( Egyptian Bazaar) itself : The four century old streets with four century old spice shops around Rustem Pasa Mosque is where we begin our exploration of these streets, lesser known to tourists. The stroll will introduce secrets of Turkish cuisine: Hanging dried eggplant and pepper skins, black sesame, varities of olive and chilly pepper, henna for your red hair, sumac, cheese market, and pet market will reveal insights from life in Istanbul with an half hour stroll, which may be combined with your Spice
Market visit to buy Turkish delight with mastic or classical version with pistachios in it according to your choice. The pomegranate vinegar also available which is the taste enhancing factor of “mountain of the infidels salad” – “Gavurdağı Salatası” , which is found only in very few fine restaurants including the nearby Hamdi, which also happens to have one of the best Baklava and şöbiyet ( special baklava with touch of cream in the center ) of all of Turkey.
Ortaköy District + 1 hour Bosphorus Cruise
This area is missed by most visitors to İstanbul due to guide books not emphasizing its charms at the right dose. It offers incredible Bosphorus view , fine street markets and the best plus the most efficient Bosphorus cruise for 1 hour . ( afternoons only, after 3 or 4 pm at 20’ pasts ) These reasons make this one of the top waterfront strolling areas for İstanbul citizens. Best time : afternoons and early evenings, preferably weekends , if you would like to enjoy the street market at its zenith. This is a waterfront area that resembles to Seaport of New York City, the major difference being the mosque instead of the mall at Seaport. This is very close to the first suspension bridge connecting Europe and Asia over the Bosphorus Straits ; as referred to in Homer’s book Odyssey, the site of the clashing rocks. 19th century Grand Mecidiye Mosque is situated on the shore as if it were floating. This area converts into an up scaled flea market – the look is the look of a flea market but the items offered on the stands are brand new and nice, and prices are better than the tripled or quadrupled rates of Grand Bazaar. But still there is minor negotiation possibilities from the low profit margins of these softly spoken female vendors.
Highlights of Archaeological Museum – 40 minutes
Lots of visitors think Arch. Museums are boring : If you spend a half day in Istanbul in an Arch. Museum instead of covering more territories of this vibrant city , you are probably right; though special interest visitors are thrilled here. The compromise is a 40 minute tour offering highlights of this museum : The sarcophagi collection never fails to impress visitors including the one that is called Alexander the Great.
Dolmabahce Palace – the Harem Wing
Harem section makes up the two thirds of Dolmabahce Palace. Passage from Mabeyn and Muayede Hall to Harem is through corridors with iron gates and heavy timber doors, a remark of the traditional segregation. The spacious halls lightened by the reflections of Bosporus, the bedrooms of Sultans, his wives, concubines, sons and daughters, and study and lounge rooms are all in this section. The apartment of Valide Sultan (Mother Sultan), Blue and Pink Halls, the rooms of Sultans Abdülmedjid, Abdülaziz and Resad, concubines section, matrons rooms, Great Atatürk’s study and bedroom and many valuable artifacts such as furnitures, rugs and kilims, inscriptions, vases, chandeliers, oil paintings are the most interesting and impressive features of Harem.
The modern quarter of Beyoglu, especially Taksim Square and Istiklal Street, symbolizes the cosmopolitan setting and the cultural openness of the city. Also described as a Mecca for the young and beautiful in İstanbul, the street is offered as a big Istanbul attraction in the numerous travel guides. It is lined with impressive 19th century buildings along the whole street for two kilometers as well as funky cafes, bluesy bars, restaurants, and cinemas. The highlights tour here begins with a stroll from Tunel district ( the whirling dervishes center, Galata Mevlevihanesi is also here ) through nice narrow streets with fine street cafes. You will also get a chance to learn where famous Turkish bar – meze restaurant Refik is situated ( towards Pera Palas hotel ) Then walk by St. Antuanne Church, stop by Galatasaray High School, Ara Guler’s photo exhibition on the street where his cozy café Ara is situated, Flower Arcade ( cicek pasaji ) , fish – vegetable market , Nevizade Street. You will also be familiar with the location of great Istanbul view bars, restaurants including 360, Hacı Baba, and Hacı Abdullah on this strolling tour.
Ottoman Military Band & its Beethoven Connection
At 15:00 o’clock ( not available on Mon & Tue ) is the Ottoman military band performance at Nisantasi district. Half an hour lasting first half of the concert will introduce this band that influenced in Mozart, Beethoven and Chaikowsky, as a result of which the style called “Ala Turca” was born. When the concert takes place indoors there will also be an impressive slide presentation for 10 minutes. You may listen to their favourite tune at: http://www.islamicity.com/Travel/turkey/2.mp3 Basilica Cistern The cistern, built by emperor Justinian around 542, is also called the “Sunken Palace”, which aptly reflects the magical atmosphere of this subterranean building. The reservoir had a capacity of 80.000 cubic feet of water and provided the quarter around the Hagia Sophia as well as the emperor’s palace
and later the Topkapi palace. On an area of 453 x 213 ft. (138 x 65 m) or 2,2 acres (8970 m²) a dim wood of 336 marble columns, which support the up to 8 m high vault, is reflected in the water. This is where a sequence of the Bond movie, “ From Russia with love” was filmed. Walkways and atmospheric lighting make the Cistern a great tourist attraction, which takes you back into ancient times. Chora Chora Church (Kariye Camii in Turkish) is the most interesting Byzantine church after Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The importance of the church does not come from the building itself , the frescoes and the mosaics are superb and reflect the magnificient heritage of Byzantine Art. The Chora Church Museum is open every day from 9 a.m to 4:30 p.m except Wed. The word “Chora” means “in the country” because of the original church which was outside the city walls. There are no remains left from the original church and the first form of the present structure dates back to 11C. The church was founded by Maria Doukaina, mother-in-law of Alexius Comnenos I between 1077-1081. Today’s church was constructed after two centuries, the walls were revetted with superb mosaics and a pareclession was added decorated with beautiful frescoes. The founder of the church was Theodore Metochites who served as a prime minister during the time of Emperor Andronicus Palaeologus I. He was also an astronomer, poet, theologian and philosopher. Actually he lived a very sad life, after Palaeologus was replaced by another emperor, he was sent to exie. After he came back to Konstantinople, he devoted himself to the church as a monk and he died there. Early in the 16C, the church was converted to a mosque by Atik Ali Pasha and the mosaics were covered with plaster. In 1948, it was restored by Byzantine Institute of America and opened as a museum in 1958.
February 2010 – US $ to Turkish Lira exchang rate
Tags: can I pay in us $ in turkey, currency exchange turkey, did turkey convert to euro, Exchange Rate of the Turkish Lira, is euro accepted in turkey, is US $ euro in turkey, is us $ good in turkey, paying in us dollar in istanbul, payments in us $ in istanbul, traveller's cheque information turkey, what does turkish lira look like, where to change money in istanbul — mristanblue @ 12:13 pm 1U.S. $ = 1.52 lira
1 Euro = 2.2 lira
( the rates will fluctuate just slightly )
US $ will move between 1.48 – 1.53 lira ; the trend lately is dollar’s going up, as euro goes down. Best place to change money in Turkey is anywhere outside the banks of airports. They charge ridiculous unnecessary commissions. In the city there are these free exchance offices , almost anywhere. That is where you get the best deal. Traveller’s cheque is a bit difficult to cash , only certain main branches of banks will cash it, vendor’s will prefer credit card ; they will avoid American Express because of high commission rates; a number of them will accept visa or master like cash. But one gets better value by cash in a number of cases in grand bazaar, as this reduces the ( tax! ) costs of the vendor. You can make majority of your payments in US $ or Euros in Turkey , needing local money Lira few times . You will need lira for museums, but a number of them do accept credit card ( ( including Hagia Sophia ( Ayasofya ) and Topkapi Palace ( The ticket of the Harem is sold seperately inside the palace, at the entrance of Harem ) , Basilica Cistern.
Orhan Veli – I am listening to Istanbul
Tags: I am listening to Istanbul, Orhan Veli poem, İstanbul'u dinliyorum — mristanblue @ 11:51 am Istanbul Poem by A notable Turkish poet, Orhan Veli : LISTENING TO ISTANBUL I am listening to Istanbul, with my eyes closed. At first there is a light wind; The leaves on the trees Are gently swaying. And far, faraway The endless jingling of the water-sellers’ bells, I am listening to Istanbul, with my eyes closed. I am listening to Istanbul, with my eyes closed. High above the birds are flying, Flocks after flocks shrieking loudly. In fish traps the nets are drawn; A woman’s foot touches the water. I am listening to Istanbul, with my eyes closed. I am listening to Istanbul, with my eyes closed. Delightfully cool Covered Bazaar, Busy, lively Mahmut Pasha, Courtyards teeming with pigeons, Sounds of hammering coming from the docks.
Smell of sweat in the lovely spring breeze. I am listening to Istanbul, with my eyes closed. I am listening to Istanbul, with my eyes closed. Drunk with its old time memories, A seaside mansion with gloomy boathouses, Amid the humming of waning south winds, I am listening to Istanbul, with my eyes closed. I am listening to Istanbul, with my eyes closed. A sexy girl is passing by on the sidewalk – Curses songs ditties taunts… Something in her hand falls to the ground It must be a rose. I am listening to Istanbul, with my eyes closed. I am listening to Istanbul, with my eyes closed. Round the edges of your skirt a twittering bird; I know if your brow is hot or cold, I know if your lips are moist or dry. I can sense that from the beatings of your heart. A pale moon is rising behind the umbrella pines; I am listening to Istanbul. Orhan Veli
The first love letter of the world – Istanbul Archaeological Museum
The first love letter of the world
love letter istanbul archaelogical museum A Sumerian letter. Scholars say, this was a ritual taking place in Mesopotamian festivals for fertility and power which also included the initiation of a sacred Marriage. The new year for the Sumerians is around the spring equinox, and every new year the Sumerian king “married” the Sumerian goddess of love and war, namely Inanna. Inanna is the Babylonian version of Ishtar. Inanna’s powers included renewing the land’s fertility. Every summer at the special festival Inanna’s high priestess of Inanna representing Inanna married the King : The King would provide offerings ; and the priestess would accept the king into her bed, preceded by an invitational love poem : In the one below Sumerian king is Shu-Sin, and we are introduced to Enlil, the high priestess. This is the oldest love poem known in the world :
Bridegroom, dear to my heart, Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet, Lion, dear to my heart, Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet. You have captivated me, Let me stand tremblingly before you. Bridegroom, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber, You have captivated me, Let me stand tremblingly before you. Lion, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber. Bridegroom, let me caress you, My precious caress is more savory than honey, In the bedchamber, honey-filled, Let me enjoy your goodly beauty, Lion, let me caress you, My precious caress is more savory than honey. Bridegroom, you have taken your pleasure of me, Tell my mother, she will give you delicacies, My father, he will give you gifts. Your spirit, I know where to cheer your spirit, Bridegroom, sleep in our house until dawn, Your heart, I know where to gladden your heart, Lion, sleep in our house until dawn. You, because you love me, Give me pray of your caresses, My lord god, my lord protector, My Shu-Sin, who gladdens Enlil’s heart, Give my pray of your caresses. Your place goodly as honey, pray lay your hand on it, Bring your hand over like a gishban-garment, Cup your hand over it like a gishban-sikin-garment. Dünyanın ilk aşk mektubu – İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzesi 1889 yılında, Bağdat’ın 150 kilometre uzağındaki Sümer kenti Nippur’da bulundu. Tablet 55 yıl önce ABD’li Sümerolog Samuel Noah Kramer tarafından okundu. Aynı dönemde tableti Türkçe’ye ise bugün 94 yaşında olan Türkiye’nin ilk Sümeroloğu Muazzez İlmiye Çığ çevirdi. Şiirin hikayesi: Sümer inancına göre, toprağın bereketini ve toprağın verimli olmasını sağlamak amacıyla, Kral’ın yılda bir kez Bereket ve Aşk Tanrıçası Enlil yerine bir rahibe ile evlenmesi kutsal bir görevdi. Bu şiir büyük bir olasılıkla Kral Şusin için seçilmiş bir gelin tarafından yeni yıl bayramını kutlama töreninde söylenmek üzere kaleme alınmıştı ve ziyafetlerde şölenlerde müzik, şarkı ve dans eşliğinde söyleniyordu. Şiir : “Okşayışları baldan tatlı “rahibe Enlil “aslanı” Damat Şuşin’e mektubunda şöyle yazıyor:
Güveyi, kalbimin sevgilisi, Senin güzelliğin fazladır, bal gibi tatlı Beni büyüledin, Senin önünde titreyerek durayım, Güveyi, seni okşayayım, Benim kıymetli okşayışım baldan hoştur, Bağışla bana okşayışlarını, Benim beyim Tanrım, Benim beyim baygınlığım, Enlil’in kalbini memnun eden Su-Sin’im, Bağışla bana okşayışlarını. bir diğer detaylı tercümesi : Damadım, kalbimin sevgilisi. Güzelliğin büyüktür baldan tatlı. Aslan, kalbimin kıymetlisi. Güzelliğin büyüktür baldan tatlı. Benim değerli okşayışlarım baldan tatlıdır. Yatak odasında bal doludur. Güzelliğinle zevklenelim. Aslan seni okşayayım. Benim değerli okşayışlarım baldan tatlıdır. Damadım benden zevk aldın. Annem söyle sana güzel şeyler verecektir. Babam, sana hediyeler verecektir. Sen beni sevdiğin için. Lütfet bana okşayışlarını. Benim Tanrım, benim koruyucum . Tanrı Ellil’in kalbini memnun eden Şusin’im. Lütfet bana okşayışlarını . Philadelphia Üniversitesi profesörlerinden Hilprecht, 1889 1900 yılları arasında Mezopotamya’nın Niffer Vadisi’nde bir kazı yaptı. Bu arada topraktan çıkarılan önemli bir vesika, içeriğinin ne olduğu bilinmeyen çivi yazısı ile yazılmış diğer binlerce levha ile birlikte, kazı yapılan yerin sahibi olan Osmanlı Hükümeti’ne teslim edildi. 70 bin levhanın içine sıkışmış bulunan bu tarihi vesika; 58 yıl sonra, dünyaca ünlü Sümerolog Muazzez Çığ ve Hatice Kızılay tarafından ele alındı. Bu taş levha üzerindeki yazının ne anlam içerdiği çözülünce, uzmanlar hayretler içinde kaldılar. Çünkü bu taş levha, dünyanın ilk aşk mektubuydu. Hem de Sümer Medeniyeti’nin en büyük kral ve kraliçesinin aşkını anlatan bir mektup… Milattan önce 2300 2500 yılları arasında Mezopotamya’da yaşayan ve şahane bir güzelliğe sahip olan Enlil adında Sümerli bir rahibe, Kral Su-Sin’e aşıktı. Sümerlilerin yeni sene bayramında, tesadüfen kralın gözüne çarparak onunla evlenmeğe muvaffak oldu. Evlendiği gün de ateşi ile, sevgilisi krala bir şiir yazdı. Gerçek sevginin sembolü olan şiir sarayda o kadar beğenildi ki, daha sonra o devrin en ünlü musiki üstatları tarafından bestelendi ve kısa zamanda halk arasına kadar yayılarak ebedileşti… *Oguz Kosebalaban is a travel writer, photographer , travel consultant and official professional tour guide who have been leading tours through Turkey including prime sites like Istanbul, Ephesus and Cappadocia for many years. The pdf file belongs to a quarterly Turkish magazine where some of his photos have been used , including the cover : www.kartonsan.com/pdf/paylasim/paylasim2009-1.pdf Oguz Kosebalaban is spellt as Oğuz Kösebalaban in Turkish.
Posting your comment. Leave a Comment
February 18, 2010
Gourmet dining Istanbul – Sentimental meatball for tears of happiness :))
Filed under: 1 — Tags: alinazik, asiatic istanbul restaurants, çanak, best beyti kebab of istanbul, buhara restaurant sultanahmet, ciya, dining in old town istanbul, eggplant dishes, gourmet dining istanbul, gourmet istanbul restaurants, gourmet turkish meal, hacı abdullah, hacıbaba, istanbul restaurant advise, istanbul restaurants, kanaat, low budget high end taste in istanbul, not too pricy but superior restaurants in istanbul, sentimental meatball, stuffed eggplant, wher to dine in istanbul, where to dine in Istanbul, İçli Köfte — mristanblue @ 10:24 pm Edit This Hi there ; As a tour guide in Istanbul offering high end tours ( yes, and I am still being humble when saying so ) , try and see for your self ) ; one of my duties mixed with pleasure is keeping my visitors away from touristy restaurants offering mediocre food; hey , didn”t you know that? Yes, there are such restaurants. If you care for a gourmet bite as a treat read on ) Taking care of upmarket clients I always need special charming restaurants , that doesn’t need be pricy but charming and special; and below are the ones. (In most of them one main dish will be in the range of 10$ – 14$ price range for those budget concious who would like to plan ahead. In the list below Buhara is the least expensive, a turkish pizza ( lahmacun ) is around 3,5$, most veggy meals 5$ or so, the beyti mentioned below for 12$ , but it is like 1,5 portion, you may order a half size. ) here are my comments from my visits to the restaurants mentioned below enough times to give you the good advice. Of course there are tons of others which are also perfect. In central old town ( around blue mosque square ) , there are very good and also but mediocre and touristy places. In that neighborhood a real treat vegetable dish restaurant like the named Ciya of Kadikoy district ( take a boat from almost across Spice Market to Kadikoy district ; details of this is also another link in my opera.com blog you will find below.
Just outside the Nuruosmaniye gate of the Grand Bazaar, the gate on your left and the mosque on your right walk “3″ minutes , and on your right the corner of the first block is Tarihi Subaşı lokantası, that is the right place to dine when you are in its neighborhood. On Istiklal street in new town, yes there are tons of places, but beginning from Taksim square, past Burger King, on the left , 2 min walking , corner of the first block is Haci Baba, if you like lamb schank, I go there for lamb schank and warm sarma , grape leaf roll with ground meat and rice and spice filling – Greeks (wrongly) call it dolma ; the rest of their specials are a bit like Ciya, and Canak ( in Acibadem district of Kadikoy ( take a minibus or taxi – 7 lira , 5$ ride from Kadikoy ) and I DO PREFER THESE TWO to Hacibaba. For a superior vegetable ( usually mixed with chunks of beef and lamb ) also a turn on Istiklal street is a historical one called Haci Abdullah; this will be superior to HAcibaba for vegetable dishes, same leage with Ciya and Canak for some selections , but this one is full of character of an old business with a tradition, 1950’s or so. Above the main entrance of Spice MArket there is this sort of historical restaurant, though a bit too pricy. In the old town a number of very good and not necessarily pricy places can be pinpointed : My favourite kebab and home made vegetable dish place nearby Blue mosque is Buhara; location is easy 5 – 7 min walking to Blue Mosque , inexpensive, my American clients just liked it so much , and some of them were gourmets. Their Beyti kebab ( ground beef and lamb made into a roll with thin flat bread just warm out of oven , with pistachio crunches , mushroom and pepper on side in it ) is a real treat, the order may begin with a much smaller lahmacun ( turkish pizza ) called bardakaltı ( saucer sized ) lahmacun . Sentimental meatball for tears of happiness )
Sentimental meatball is a slightly wrong translation; it is originally called icli kofte ( içli köfte ) içli means there is something on the inside – in other words stuffed or filled in ; literal translation is more like with inside . But in Turkey if you have feelings inside yourself, you have something on the inside . The word is considered too be a gentle touchy word when referring to feelings ; in 2009 a plastic pipe company in its commercials used the metaphoric meaning of the word as in ; so many things go through on the inside, yet nothing is heard on the outside; the reference is to someone with deeper and possibly unrevealed feelings. ( well this was supposed to be an article on dining , I throw in a bit of the culture around it ) Almost next to Spice market Hamdi Restaurant is also a treat ; but you should go for certain selections only – I do not advice the vegetable starters there, since they are not known for it. But again this is one more a kebab place, and but their baklava is ‘one of the best’ in Istanbul; you may read my recent article on it at my blog, somewhere below also at my : http://my.opera.com/istanbulinsider/albums/showpic.dml? album=471930&picture=6528806
Bon appétit ! Oguz Kosebalaban p.s. Sightseeing advise: for a Bosphorus cruise google ” bitter or better bosphorus cruise” or scroll down my blog to find about this “better cruise ” option , that is shorter but better than the one offered by the city lines. Leave a Comment
February 13, 2010
Turkish Herbal Remedies – Brand new Spice Market article , Feb. 2010! :)
Filed under: 1 — Tags: antihistamines, baklava, cinnamon, cloves, geniz akıntısı, gourmet turkish meal, green tea, Hamdi Restaurant, herbal medicine Istanbul, kebab, mad honey, mastic turkish delight, sinüzit, sinusites, Spice Market Istanbul, spice market specials, turkish cuisine, visiting spice market area, where to dine in Istanbul, şöbiyet, İçli Köfte — mristanblue @ 1:06 am Edit This This is not the regular turkish delight, henna, safran , coffee article , that is over-saturatedly and boringly repeated almost in any source.Yes info on these items is also juicy, but it is a shame there is lack of information on other interesting items as well as these . My first introduction is a delicious herbal tea mixture : Green Tea, cinnamon sticks and cloves. This may well replace antibiotics (just google and see some scientific research result on how powerfull cloves against microps, germs, fungi, etc ) . This mixture is especially great for those who suffer allergy with postnasal flow ( which may also cause sinusitis) , those who are addicted to antihistamine pills. At least for me, and for the 80 or 90 other repeated Spice market shoppers ( who were advised by one of the Spice Market vendors , encouraged by me ) it worked . Here is how to prepare it : ( Well you better also buy an inexpensive turkish tea set , which is a kettle with a smaller pot sitting on the kettle; small pot allowing to brew tea better while being warmed up as the water in kettle boils, the small sets run for about 20 -30 lira = 14 – 20$ US As you walk straight through the market , at the end that is straight ahead step outside and take a right turn. That is the market place for glasses , tea sets, coffee pots etc ) Boil the cinnamon stick in the kettle, ( after the water boils lower the temperature until the water turns red from cinnamon . You should be able to
smell the cinnamon in the kitchen, in the hallway. 8 cloves in the upper pot with just enough water to cover them will also heat up meanwhile. By now you need to be able to smell cloves as well. Well , approx by then you need to put two tablespoonful green tea to the upper pot and 3 min or so later fill this pot up with the cinnamon water from the kettle. Allergy and this herbal tea : Give this a try especaially if you are suffering from allergy symptoms, you may get rid of the antihistamine pills. Also if you will take a flight , be exposed to places where clean air lacks , contagious diseases are more likely to spread around. So, in those cases this is also your drink.My name is Oguz Kosebalaban and I put my name to this drink. It works. This is my dedicated effort to contribute to your health. This drink saved my life from being partly and continuously dependent on antihistamine pills, and so I am indebted. Now is the time to pay back. More spice market specials will be here, at my store, check back ( Of course you can make this tea anywhere in the world , but it will taste better while in Istanbul, with the sinergy of your new experiences ) Regular Tea : May the British forgive, but I feel sorry for them ( and the rest of the world ) as they do not know ( read the rest with a British accent please how to brew the tea properly : The tea set I descirbed above is a must. Tea leaves should be used ( never tea bags ) , tea leaves should simmer in the upper pot. Initially before brewing the tea leaves you should wash the tea leaves ( or moisturise ) , so that while the water in the kettle warms th pot up, the tea leaves won’t overdry. I have heard so many of my visitors telling that was the best tea they ever drank. nearby hamdi restaurant : Also one of the best pistachio-lamb kebab and baklava + shobiyet ( şöbiyet ) is at the nearby Hamdi Restaurant, should be combined with your Spice MArket visit. Hey backpacker, you too : this time pay a little bit more than a Burger King and treat yourself with this Kebab ( 14$ Us + two slices of sobiyet 7$ Us approx cost ) ; Visual Istanbul is a great Istanbul , but why not take back home a bit of Istanbul in your stomach or belly , you can walk and burn it do not worry ) Also at the same restaurant is Icli kofte ( mistakenly metaphoric word by word translation in some menus elsewhere reads sentimantal meatball, as opposed to stuffed ground meat paddy. Also Gavurdagi Salatasi ( Gavurdağı salatası ) – Infidel’s mountain Salad : Includes Crushed walnut,
pomegranade vinegar , finely chopped cucumber, tomato, onion – preferably red, pepper, fresh mint ( replaced by parsley in most places as well as Hamdi. But if you ask for it you can get mint in it as well. This meal better be accompanied by good Turkish Red wine, a decent one with which you will never go wrong is Yakut, and Antik ( this one’s white is also available, also very good ) For white Çankaya is decent. These are brand names by the way. The large bottles will sell for about 45$ US , between two a small bottle for a day time to tour afterwards is sufficient. A wine called Kalecik karası is available by many wineries, a bit more pricy. In a bit more The balcony of Hamdi is a good place for a photographer overlooking Galata Bridge, Golden Horn , New Mosque, and partial Bosphorus view, across from Galata Tower. I am not their partner, but a good client : Since they keep my visitors so happy; I end up there a number of times a year. What to do after spice market: After a slow lunch if it is 2.20 you are on time to catch a taxi to Military Museum to watch the live performance of the military band – mehteran with a superb 5 minute film on their origin and how thet influenced classical composers like Beethoven, Mozart, Chaikowsky and as a result how the music called Ala Turca was born. Coming soon : Pepper Paste – The best well kept secret of Turkish kitchen for the amazing meals ( hot and not hot pepper paste Mastic ( may come in Turkish delight ) Mad Honey Also for a visual guide of Istanbul you may visit my photo pages : http://www.flickr.com/photos/23822697@N02/sets/ some photos there are also from Spica market experiences, that will give you some insight. Leave a Comment
January 14, 2010
Eyup District – Islamic Sacred Site of Istanbul
Filed under: 1 — Tags: A unique experience on an Istanbul private tour, Eup Mosque, Islamic Sacred Site of Istanbul, Islamic sites in Istanbul, Pierre Loti Hill — mristanblue @ 3:01 pm Edit This
Eyup Mosque, Tomb of Eyup El Ensari & Pierre Loti Hill
Gwendolyn (*) disappeared going up the steps through the gate behind her seen in the photo to explore the women’s section of this truly impresive Eyup mosque; among top sacred religious sites of Islam in Istanbul, also sacred site for all of the Moslems of the world ; next to the tomb of Eyup El Ensari ( Halid Bin Velid ) the flag holder of prophet Mohammed who passed away during the early Moslem’s siege of Constantinople. …and she disappeared for a little less then hald an hour. Since most visitors go in and out onr whole mosque in 5 -10 minutes, ı was beginning to wonder what was going on; and there she came back; with some experiences : The women reading Koran , praying and chanting offer her a seat ( that is usually you sit on your knees ) on the carpeted floor; and she enjoyed their company including exchanging of smiles; reading of comforting Koran. An experience she was not expecting she was touched by the warm welcome , the good company and a close up authentic Islamic prayer experience. This just followed the Islamic sacred Friday noon prayer. Gwendolyn agreed in changing the schedule just slightly to stay for a lunch in that area for the prayer to be finixhed, and then her patience in return was awarded. I believe Gwendolyn had some unique times because of her enthusiasm , openness and pozitiveness in all circumstancess. We later took a wonderful cable-car ride up the Pierre Loti hill to sip our tea while enjoying a great Istanbul scenery. The tea came from a tea set boiling above a charcoal heater, with some imagination one could get the charcoal smoked flavour, or no imagination? )) Well, this is definately a treat, do not
miss it! ( do this tour during the week or early on a weekend or there will be a cue for the 2 cable cars for 6 – 8 passengers on each. —————————————————— * Gwendolyn and her husband, a top professor whose prophesies of economy could shake the world a bit ( he could only join us on few occasions as he was invited as a speaker to a world economy forum in Istanbul ) were on a 4 day private tour of Istanbul with me , me as their private tour guide and host in Istanbul. —————————————————— notes : A large size of this photo is at : http://www.flickr.com/photos/23822697@N02/3997077516/sizes/o/ My blog has got more of my Istanbul comments and introductions : http://mristanblue.wordpress.com/ ——————————————————Great trips and Experiences to everyone in 2010 from Istanbul, 2010 European Capital of Culture Oguz Kosebalaban professional tour guide, Istanbul addict ——————————————————poetry supplement : ….Eyüp is an orphan, Kadiköy is dressed up, Moda is haughty …. ( by NECİP FAZIL KISAKÜREK-1905-1983 ) MY DEAR ISTANBUL They have melted my soul and frozen it in a mould; They have named it Istanbul, and put it on earth. There’s something smoking inside me; air, colour, grace, and climate; That’s my beloved who came from beyond time and place. Its flowers are golden stars, its water is sweet; The moon and the sun have always been Istanbullian. The sea and the earth have reached their union in her And the dreams have turned to reality in her. Istanbul is my life; my motherland… Istanbul, Istanbul… History has eyes, the riddles on ancient walls;
Cypresses, cypresses are of fine stature, they’re the curtains Of two worlds… A steed rears up on the clouds; Diamond domes, perhaps there are billions of steeds… The minarets are index fingers pointing to the sky. In every embroidery a meaning: we must die. Death is more alive than life mercy is greater than sin; When Beyoğlu is drowing in worldly pleasures, Karcaahmet weeps… Seek the meaning, find it! Find it in Istanbul! Istanbul, Istanbul… The Bosphorus, the silver brazier of the Bosphorus, boils the coolness; The depths of heaven on earth are in Çamlıca. Playful waters are the guests in the basement of the sea-side house; A photo of the sad face of a former diplomat hangs on the wall. Every evening flames on the windows in Üsküdar, A haunded house, big as the city… A song from the Ud or the Tanbour? It sings “Katibim” behind the bay-windows… Its women are like sharp knives, Warm like fresh blood, Istanbul, Istanbul… Time on the seven hills embroiders Seven colours, seven voices, endless manifestation…! Eyüp is an orphan, Kadiköy is dressed up, Moda is haughty, Wind in the Island plays tricks with the girls. Each dawn, the arrows fly from their bows. Cries come from Topkapi Palace still. The mothers are the best of sweethearts, Istanbul is the best of places; Never mind the cheerful crowd, those who cry are happier. Its night smells hyacinth, Its Turkish the nightingale’s voice. Istanbul, Istanbul… Canım İstanbul Ruhumu eritip de kalıpta dondurmuşlar; Onu İstanbul diye toprağa kondurmuşlar. İçimde tüten birşey; hava, renk, eda, iklim; O benim, zaman, mekan aşıp geçmiş sevgilim. Çiçeği altın yaldız, suyu telli pulludur; Ay ve güneş ezelden iki İstanbulludur. Denizle toprak, yalnız onda ermiş visale, Ve kavuşmuş rüyalar, onda, onda misale. İstanbul benim canım; Vatanım da vatanım…
İstanbul, İstanbul… Tarihin gözleri var, surlarda delik delik; Servi, endamlı servi, ahirete perdelik… Bulutta şaha kalkmış Fatih`ten kalma kır at; Pırlantadan kubbeler, belki bir milyar kırat… Şahadet parmağıdır göğe doğru minare; Her nakışta o mana: Öleceğiz ne çare?.. Hayattan canlı ölüm, günahtan baskın rahmet; Beyoğlu tepinirken ağlar Karacaahmet… O manayı bul da bul! İlle İstanbul`da bul! İstanbul, İstanbul… Boğaz gümüş bir mangal, kaynatır serinliği; Çamlıca`da, yerdedir göklerin derinliği. Oynak sular yalının alt katına misafir; Yeni dünyadan mahzun, resimde eski sefir. Her akşam camlarında yangın çıkan Üsküdar, Perili ahşap konak, koca bir şehir kadar… Bir ses, bilemem tanbur gibi mi, ud gibi mi? Cumbalı odalarda inletir “Katibim”i… Kadını keskin bıçak, Taze kan gibi sıcak. İstanbul, İstanbul… Yedi tepe üstünde zaman bir gergef işler! Yedi renk, yedi sesten sayısız belirişler… Eyüp öksüz, Kadıkoy süslü, Moda kurumlu, Adada rüzgar, uçan eteklerden sorumlu. Her şafak Hisarlarda oklar çıkar yayından Hala çığlıklar gelir Topkapı sarayından. Ana gibi yar olmaz, İstanbul gibi diyar; Güleni şoyle dursun, ağlayanı bahtiyar… Gecesi sünbül kokan Türkçesi bülbül kokan, İstanbul, İstanbul… Necip Fazıl Kısakürek Leave a Comment
January 3, 2010
Weather statistics for Istanbul
Filed under: 1 — Tags: istanbul weather, Weather statistics for Istanbul — mristanblue @ 1:20 am Edit This
• • • • • •
Total Total Total Total Total Total
number number number number number number
of of of of of of
days days days days days days
with snow: 19 with lows (nights) below freezing: 21 with precipitation: 152 with thunderstorms: 22 with fog: 228 above 32.2 °C (90 °F): 5
Month Record high °C (°F) Average high °C (°F) Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F) Record low °C (°F) Precipitati on mm (inches)
Weather data for Istanbul Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 40. 40.5 38.8 18.3 24.0 26.2 32.9 33.0 2 33.6 34.2 27.2 21.2 (10 (10 (65) (75) (79) (91) (91) (10 (92) (94) (81) (70) 5) 2) 4) 26. 8.7 9.1 11.2 16.5 21.4 0 28.4 28.5 25.0 20.1 15.3 11.1 (48) (48) (52) (62) (71) (79 (83) (83) (77) (68) (60) (52) ) 21. 5.8 5.9 7.55 12.1 16.7 0 23.4 23.6 20.2 16.0 11.9 8.2 (42) (43) (46) (54) (62) (70 (74) (74) (68) (61) (53) (47) ) 16. 2.9 2.8 3.9 7.7 12.0 0 18.5 18.7 15.5 12.0 8.5 5.3 (37) (37) (39) (46) (54) (61 (65) (66) (60) (54) (47) (42) ) -16. 8.0 -9.0 -7.0 -0.6 3.6 10.5 8.2 5.2 2.0 -2.0 -3.4 1 (46 (16) (19) (31) (38) (51) (47) (41) (36) (28) (26) (3) ) 106. 87.3 71.3 63.2 44.9 32.6 25. 23.7 23.6 44.3 70.7 84.7 7 (3.4 (2.8 (2.4 (1.7 (1.2 3 (0.9 (0.9 (1.7 (2.7 (3.3 (4.2 4) 1) 9) 7) 8) (1) 3) 3) 4) 8) 3) ) 75 6 17 74 3 16 71 0 14 72 0 12 70 0 8 67 0 5 68 0 6 68 0 7 72 0 12 74 0 16 76 4 19
Year 40.5 (105 ) 18.4 (65)
10.3 (51) -16. 1 (3) 678. 3 (26. 7) 72 19 152
% Humidit 77 y Avg. snowy 6 days Avg. 20 precipitatio
n days Leave a Comment
Women building Mosque in Istanbul ; Sakirin MosqueCNN Article
Filed under: 1 — Tags: club 5 times a day, New site for an Asiatic Istanbul tour, not to miss in asiatic Istanbul, Women building Mosque in Istanbul, zeynep fadıllıoğlu, Şakirin Mosque — mristanblue @ 1:14 am Edit This
photo by Oguz Kosebalaban CNN article on Şakirin ( Shakirin ) Mosque: ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) — There is a shiny addition among the Ottoman mosques and palaces that make up Istanbul’s stunning skyline: the metallic, mirrored dome of the new Sakirin Mosque, a Muslim place of worship built with a woman’s touch. When sun reflects off Sakirin Mosque’s dome, light can be seen across the Bosphorus Strait. When sun reflects off Sakirin Mosque’s dome, light can be seen across the Bosphorus Strait. For what may be the first time in history, women have been at the forefront of the construction of a mosque in Turkey.
One of the project’s leaders is Zeynep Fadillioglu, an interior decorator who has designed restaurants, hotels and luxury homes from New Delhi, India, to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and London, England. She helped organize a team of traditional mosque artists specializing in Islamic calligraphy, along with craftsmen in glassworks, metal-casting and lighting who, like Fadillioglu, have built careers working in exclusively secular architecture and design. “I want people to feel peaceful and be left with themselves as much as possible and yet have beautiful art and artistic symbolism around them,” she said. Istanbul has a venerable tradition of mosque architecture, dating back centuries to when Ottoman sultans declared themselves caliph, or spiritual leader of the Muslim world. Video Watch Zeynep Fadilioglu show off her work and inspirations » The shores of the Bosporus Strait are studded with 16th century masterpieces such as the Suleymaniye Mosque, built by the Ottoman Empire’s most famous architect, Mimar Sinan, and ornate, neo-Baroque jewels designed by the Armenian Balyan family in the 19th century. But Istanbul’s most senior Muslim cleric laments that mosque design suffered a decline after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the wake of World War I. “In the last 70, 80 years, we have built mosques that are copies of Ottoman architecture,” said Mustafa Cagrici, the mufti of Istanbul. “This wasn’t a good development, because the copy can never be as good as the original.” Fadillioglu and her team of artists are hoping to change that. Photo Look at photos of the mosque » The Sakirin Mosque was commissioned by a wealthy Turkish Arab family and built in one of Istanbul’s oldest cemeteries. The designers put a number of contemporary touches on the structure, giving it plate glass walls etched with gold-leaf verses from the Quran, framed by giant cast-iron grids. Fact Box “If we think about this place as a home of God, we can also say women will make this place much better.” Carpenter Metin Cekeroglu The mihrab — the alcove that points worshippers in the direction of Mecca — is made of asymmetrical ovals, similar to a design used by Fadillioglu to decorate a restaurant in London. And the chandelier is a multi-layered series of metal and plexiglass rings, carrying Quranic inscriptions and dripping with scores of delicate glass teardrops. “The glass chandelier brings the high dome down to the people,” Fadillioglu explained. “So when they pray and kneel they don’t feel lost with the light and
it shelters them.” Many of the artists here never worked on a mosque before. “It’s special that a woman’s hand is involved in this,” said one of them, a male carpenter named Metin Cekeroglu. “If you think about it, a home is made by woman. And if we think about this place as a home of God, we can also say women will make this place much better.” Fadillioglu said one of her goals was to bring extra attention into the design of the women’s section of the mosque, an area that she says is often neglected by architects. According to Islamic tradition, worshippers are segregated by gender at mosques. “I have seen mosques where women have been pushed to the worst part of stairs, cramped area. Sort of as if (they are) unwanted in the mosque,” she said. “That is not what Islam is about. … Women are equal in Islam to men” Five minutes’ drive from the Sakirin Mosque stands the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, a 16th century structure built by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in honor of his favorite daughter. Unfortunately, female worshippers do not get to enjoy its stunning stained glass windows the way the men do. They have to pray in a small women’s section, hidden behind a bank of chest-high shelves that store shoes. At the Sakirin Mosque, Fadillioglu said, she gave women praying on the balcony an unobstructed view of the dome, the ornate chandelier, and the area on the floor where the imam will lead prayers. “I would like to come here to pray,” said Elif Demir, an 18-year old art student with a funky, orange-dyed haircut who was working on the chandelier. “This mosque is completely different because of the light that’s coming through the walls, through the glass.” Fadillioglu’s role in the Sakirin Mosque is all the more surprising because she comes from a jet-set side of Turkish society not normally associated with Islam. “It is unusual,” she conceded, “because first of all not many modern people have been commissioned to design a mosque.” She spoke in a recent interview at Ulus 29, the expensive Istanbul hilltop restaurant and bar that is owned by her husband. Amid the Ottoman- and Selcuk-inspired flourishes she has sprinkled around the restaurant are echoes of designs seen at the Sakirin Mosque. A glass chandelier made of hundreds of crystal tear drops hangs above the bar, similar in style to the mosque’s chandelier. Fadillioglu said being a night club owner does not prevent her from also being a Muslim.
“You might be surprised in Turkey to find some very modern-looking people being very religious at the same time,” she said. Religion is a hot-button political issue in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country with a strict secular system of government. For the past eight years a fierce power struggle has been under way between an urban secular elite and a rising new class of religiously conservative Turks from the Anatolian heartlands. Unlike the wives of Turkey’s Islamic-rooted president and prime minister, Fadillioglu does not wear the Islamic headscarf that is often seen as the symbol of this new class of Turks. Fadillioglu said politics have polarized society. “In my childhood … you didn’t differentiate between who was religious,” she explained. “Whoever wants to worship or visit this mosque, its open, its ready for them.” On May 8, Turkey’s prime minister attended an inauguration ceremony for the Sakirin Mosque. advertisement Afterward, in an interview with CNN, the mufti of Istanbul called it the start of a new era of mosque design in Turkey. “It is in Islamic tradition for women to commission mosques … and now we have women who are building mosques as well,” Cagrici said. “God willing, I hope the world will see more of these beautiful mosques, touched by women’s hands.” Leave a Comment Older Posts »
January 3, 2010
Sacred non touristy destinations istanbul – Eyup District
Filed under: 1 — Tags: Eyup District, Sacred non touristy destinations istanbul, sample on what goes on my versatile Istanbul private tours, the perfect istanbul private tour experience, unique istanbul tour experience — mristanblue @ 12:34 am Edit This
Gwendolyn (*) disappeared going up the stairs through the gate behind her in the photo to explore the women’s section of this truly impresive Eyup mosque; among top sacred religious sites of Islam in Istanbul, also sacred site for all of the Moslems of the world ; next to the tomb of Eyup El Ensari ( Halid Bin Velid ) the flag holder of prophet Mohammed who passed away during the early Moslem’s siege of Constantinople. …and she disappeared for a little less then hald an hour. Since most visitors go in and out onr whole mosque in 5 -10 minutes, ı was beginning to wonder what was going on; and there she came back; with some experiences : The women reading Koran , praying and chanting offer her a seat ( that is usually you sit on your knees ) on the carpeted floor; and she enjoyed their company including exchanging of smiles; reading of comforting Koran. An experience she was not expecting she was touched by the warm welcome , the good company and a close up authentic Islamic prayer experience. This just followed the Islamic sacred Friday noon prayer. Gwendolyn agreed in changing the schedule just slightly to stay for a lunch in that area for the prayer to be finixhed, and then her patience in return was awarded. I believe Gwendolyn had some unique times because of her enthusiasm , openness and pozitiveness in all circumstancess. We later took a wonderful cable-car ride up the Pierre Loti hill to sip our tea while enjoying a great Istanbul scenery. The tea came from a tea set boiling above a charcoal heater, with some imagination one could get the charcoal smoked flavour, or no imagination? )) Well, this is definately a treat, do not miss it! ( do this tour during the week or early on a weekend or there will be a cue for the 2 cable cars for 6 – 8 passengers on each. —————————————————— * Gwendolyn and her husband, a top professor whose prophesies of economy could shake the world a bit ( he could only join us on few occasions as he was invited as a speaker to a world economy forum in Istanbul ) were on a 4 day private tour of Istanbul with me , me as their private tour guide and host in Istanbul.
Leave a Comment
November 6, 2009
Egyptian Bazaar – Saturdays to be avoided
Filed under: 1 — mristanblue @ 2:54 am Edit This
Egyptian Bazaar Istanbul comment by your tour guide in Istanbul Egyptian Bazaar is the same as Spice Market . In many ways this is becoming the compact version of Grand Bazaar. Some of the spice vendors are replaced by craft or souvenier stores of almost all sorts one gets to see in Grand Bazaar. It gets overcrowded on a saturday , though early morning will still be allright. On any day early morning visits to the bazaars will be a better option; will be less crowded, vendors will be fresh and not cranky. Do not miss to see the courtyard of the neighboring New Mosque , one of the most impressive courtyards of an Ottoman mosque, even more charming then the Blue Mosque’s courtyard. But do get dressed accordingly; shorts or exposed sholders upset the worshippers, and it is not proper. Leave a Comment
October 31, 2009
Weather in Turkey : Western Turkey & Cappadocia in Winter
Filed under: 1 — Tags: weather in cappadocia in winter, weather in Istanbul in winter, winter in Istanbul — mristanblue @ 11:22 am Edit This Cappadocia Weather for December and rest of Winter : Within Cappadocia driving on snowy days works well with extra care , roads are maintained well, the inexperienced also do fine , the risk of accident of course increases. weather and statistics : Average snowy days in winter in Cappadocia will be around 25 days, in december there are 12 days with snow or rain. Since some snowy days are expected a little bit more in January and February risk of snowy day around 25 dec is a little less. JAnuary is typically expected to be more snowy then other months. But a number of dECEMBERS in the past Cappadocia was dry ; here is a sample weather from 25 dec 2008 : http://arsiv.sabah.com.tr/2008/12/25/hava.html Ankara may be similar to cappadocia on that page. http://www.dmi.gov.tr/veridegerlendirme/il-ve-ilceler-istatistik.aspx?m=NEVSEHIR Also : http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/city_guides/results.shtml?tt=TT004360 At night time there is a frost problem , night driving is not advised. No snow in these locations : Izmir, Kusadasi, and Ephesus are in the Aegean region under the Mediterrenean climate and it snows there like every 10 years or so briefly, symbolicly. This is also the same for the whole Mediterrenean region close to the sea level , from Antakya to Adana, to Antalya,Demre, Kekova, Fethiye, Kas, Bodrum. Around central Turkey Ankara, Konya, Cappadocia , there is a chance of having to drive under snowy conditions . The highway Istanbul to Ankara is deluxe, so to speak, it is a speedway, well looked after, but few days a year from snow around Bolu mountain the road will be blocked. My advise : 1.Drive around western Turkey 2. from Istanbul to Cappadocia a. if you buy a flight ticket in advance, it will be as inexpensive as a bus ride; b.or take a sleeping compartment train to Ankara or KAyseri and istead of Hotel pay it to the train c. Take a bus ride busses still do well in winter conditions. 3. Within Cappadocia – rent a car. Enjoy it – Oguz Kosebalaban professional tour guide / Istanbul / Cappadocia / Ephesus email : firstname.lastname@example.org webpages – blogs : myistanbulguide.wordpress.com mristanblue.wordpress.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/23822697@N02/ Leave a Comment
October 28, 2009
Click & Hear : Greeting /Essential Turkish words like hi , thanks How to pronounce them /
Filed under: 1 — Tags: Click & Hear Essential Turkish words — mristanblue @ 11:00 pm Edit This ( pre-recorded “click and hear” pronounciation links of key Turkish vocabulary is also included to the text below ) ( click and listen most needed at this link Turkish words ( described below ) with my pronounciations (
http://forvo.com/user/mristanblue/ ) 1. how to say hi in turkish : Merhaba click to hear 2. how to say thanks in Turkish : Tesekkur click to hear 1 . The word in short is “Tesekkür” , in long ” tesekkur ederim “ Turkish spelling is teşekkür and teşekkür ederim ( if your pc does not display the latter properly; s has got an accent mark at its bottom. ) Tesekkur is shortened version , less formal , more common in daily conversation. It is singular, and tesekkurler is plural. The plural form is used iin more social circumstances. 3. Even less formal thanks is Sagol ( Sağol in turkish ) click to hear This is used in a number of former Ottoman States as well, including Kenya (?) ( *) – Mombasa Ottoman Castle connection and more at the bottom ) , Egypt etc. ‘ G’ letter has got an accent mark, so that is semi silent, G is pronounced a bit like a w ———————————————————————————————————————— ———————– Keywords to remember tesekkur ederim : ” tea , sugar , a dream” Remember, these are the key words to remember ; if you prononuce them altogether it gives you something similar , but pronounce them speedy. ———————————————————————————————————————— —————————4. Yes = Evet click to hear 5. No = Hayır click to hear
6. How much = Ne kadar
click to hear
Islamic way of greeting someone that will work in any Moslem country : ( usually expected from a Moslem , but it will show the great interest of a visitor, and will work well will religious people ) Selamun Aleykum = click here for pronounciation As-salaamu Alaikum – click here to hear Greeting in Moslem countries means peace be upon you , sholom aleichem is its hebrew version, it is amazing how close the hebrew ( yiddish ) and the Arabic word. Good morning : Gunaydın ( turkish spelling is Günaydın ) say ” united ” a bit fast : click this link to hear gunaydın ok tamam click here to hear
please lütfen click here to hear goodbye hoşçakal or bye bye click here to hear sorry / excuse me ( pardon is also used in Turkey) = Affedersiniz click here to hear good morning günaydın click here to hear good evening iyi akşamlar click here to hear good night iyi geceler click here to hear good iyi click here to hear bad kötü click here to hear big büyük click here to hear small küçük click here to hear average / medium orta click here to hear prononunciations to the words below is not added yet : a lot / very / too çok click here to hear a little az click here to hear slow yavaş click here to hear quick hızlı / çabuk click here to hear hot sıcak click here to hear cold soğuk click here to hear entrance giriş click here to hear exit çıkış click here to hear pull çekiniz open açık closed kapalı right sağ left sol straight on doğru near yakın far uzak up yukarı down aşağı
broken bozuk and ve or ya da / veya but ama here burada there orada Greeting – Turkish body language : Shaking Hands Turks do like shaking hands, so this is a good tip for good communication; but when you are sure the person is a religious orthodox moslem Turk ( he will usually have short hair and beard and moustache), or in a mosque, cross sex hand shaking may spoil his or her ablution required for prayer; so , better avoid in this case , and then greet like a japanese by bowing slightly, or nodding; or a great Turkish way of celebrating someone is by putting your right hand to your chest – heart, and padding gently twice: This body language sign ( your hand padding on your chest twice ) is also a very polite way of refusing an offer, but around Blue Mosque in Istanbul do not try it on the street smart or vendors; just ignore them, orelse few may stick at you! Buying postcard from a street vendor, if the vendor does not have a stationed sales point is not recommended. (*) Kenya – Ottoman Sagol connection : The Ottomans entered Kenya and its environs shortly after conquering Egypt in 1517 as part of their expansion over the rest of North Africa. In 1517 Ottoman Naval Commander Emir Ali Bey came to Mombasa with only one galley, according to Kenyan history books. The commander was not intent on war, but on gaining an ally in the region against the Portuguese. Leave a Comment
October 27, 2009
The Most impressive Asiatic Istanbul visits
Filed under: 1 — mristanblue @ 9:52 pm Edit This 1. Sakirin ( Şakirin ) Mosque – Club Five times a Day
The only mosque of the world opened in 2009 and mentioned by all major tv’s and newspapers of the world like CNN, NY times , and my flickr photography blog ( as a matter of fact, if you google ” club five times a day” my photo from the mosque is the only one that shows up ( check my http:// www.flickr.com/photos/23822697@N02/sets/ ) 2. Kadıkoy street market – walking district
The non touristy version of Spice Market ( same as Egyptian Bazaar ) area , including the fish and produce market , is Kadikoy walking district, across from the pier; you can get there by taking the
Kadikoy passenger boat from across New mosque – Spice Market. 3. Ciya Restaurant in the district above ( the live music sea food restaurants offer wine or raki, not available at Ciya. 4. A superb Gaziantep Restaurant is Canak ( Çanak ) at Acibadem district of Kadikoy , learn where to take the minibus. 5. Strolling to Moda from Kadıkoy looking at the antique shop and art gallery window displays and sip your tea with sea view from Moda iskelesi, or the waterfront tea gardens. 6. Sunset Photography at Salacak facing Maiden’s tower, head on to Uskudar district Photograph Mihrimah Sultan Mosque of Uskudar and dine at Kanaat Restaurant.
7. Camlica hilltop brunch on a weekend day to see traditional middle class families enjoying a family day. A visit to Eyup district is compatible.
Check back this page for updates.
Leave a Comment
some notes on my private istanbul tours
Filed under: 1 — mristanblue @ 5:40 pm Edit This email : email@example.com / cellphone : +90 532 628-1896
your istanbul tour guide Oguz Kosebalaban The treasures of Turkey is both my profession and passion ( and I also explore the rest of the treasures of the world some of the other times ) and I have great joy of sharing the Turkish treasure trove with my visitors. I am glad to express that the info at my blog mristanblue.wordpress.com began to become reference photos and background on internet for searches : If you google as follows ; “mummy of king tabnit” , “first love letter of the world” , “better bosphorus cruise” , ” club five times a day ” , you would either come up a photo I have taken or one of my comments. It seems like some of the common famous guide books seem to have been saving some of insights and highlights for me to share with you , like the ones above; missed, ignored or underestimated. ( For quick references from my tours , my Istanbul blog and photographic Istanbul tour pages you may click their links on the right below where it says blogroll ) . ******************************************************************************** ************************ A little more about me :
My name is Oguz Kosebalaban. I am an official professional tour guide offering private tours of Istanbul and rest of Turkey. My name Oguz has got an accent mark above the ‘g’ letter, so actually its pronunciation is as in ” He ‘owes’ me a tour of Istanbul ” :=) I am a photographer and documentary short movie maker the other times I do not lead a tour. If you google my name you may come across some of my works. As an instance following is the pdf web file of a Turkish art magazine , the cover and the 6 pages of Istanbul sea gulls photography is my work : www.kartonsan.com/pdf/paylasim/paylasim2009-1.pdf
As well as my guiding license by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism, I also have a bachelor’s degree from Ankara University’s Faculty of Political Sciences. I will be glad to take you through my Istanbul time tunnel and your days in Istanbul will be as much fun as the movie “going back to future”. Or you may choose the wrong tour and end up listening to a guide repeating a text like a tape recorder; don’t risk yourself!
As a former photo-journalist of a trendy Turkish parents magazine I am into putting together a visual Istanbul guide. My blog and flickr and trekearth photo pages are as follows : http://mristanblue.wordpress.com/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/23822697@N02/sets/ http://www.trekearth.com/members/mristanblue/photos/ This year the a very nice compliment I received was “A Renaissance Man in a Byzantine city”. In Istanbul, all in one city you will find your self in a city, that is Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Republican Turkish western, eastern modern, orthodox, Moslem, Christian, Jewish, romantic, intriguing, vibrant, mysterious, timeless, extremely scenic, the arena for some of the most impressive events of the world history. More Details : About setting up a tour with a guide: I think your quest needs to be not limited to finding the best guide; but also the best host. That is what lacks on most tours. The tour guide on a tour is usually like a working professional , not able to project a unique personality with special great features of his/her home nation. I feel most visitors to a country also need to meet local people; qualified local people as well as the charming vendor who will offer you a taste of the black sesami, or the smell of the mastic, or a bite of the Turkish delight. I feel in the end of my tours my visitors feel like they made a friend in Istanbul, as well as exploring one city with some of the lesser known bits of juicy unusual facts, coming from years of study. My travel articles are frequently being quoted in my colleague’s tours. I will be glad to email you some samples. Though I am sensible enough to realize too much or too deep information over the dose kills the joy. Some of the guides are lecturers; they keep on telling and telling an article like a text taken from a book; they add enthusiasm into this lecture as well; but if they lack in interacting; visitors end up nodding for too much ‘impressive’ information too much too digest. Your tour guide should be a very good dose planner; to differentiate between a good medicine and the poison. Also on a private tour you have the comfort of doing what you like, but your guide should be a very good adviser: If he is too much into antiquity, you may end up visiting just old monuments of Istanbul, with little or no taste of Istanbul.
But Istanbul as a modern city also has got her charms like some of the other modern charming cities of the world that may cause addiction. I enjoy adding a flavor of well chosen new town features of Istanbul, though it could be limited to a half hour or more on a single day tour in Istanbul. I realized people enjoyed exploring the life of the citizens in Istanbul by joining them at a hip area still with some great neighborhood and monuments. As in ‘off off Broadway musicals’ I also enjoy offering some ‘off off mainstream sites’ where immediately you may find yourself on an exotic four century old street, with unique photo opportunities. A photographer makes a good observer; and I began converting some of my observations in Istanbul into short movies with a documentary approach. I will be glad to share some of the background at a related location if you would like to hear about my short movie works. I can also email one in which I am also playing a part, though I haven’t finished adding the English subtitles to it. I am a certified tour guide since 1987. Private tour is the best way to enjoy a visit; I am sure experienced travelers will agree how much more enjoyable this is when compared to a tour with a bus load of people; I know because I also guide a number of those bus tours as well. On a private tour you just experience what you like, the program includes what you like and excludes what you don’t; you do not dine at that tourist restaurant, you may either get a great local flavor or commute to your cruise ship’s buffet lunch, all as you like. Upon your arrival we can make small adjustments according to what accommodates you the best. Some of the groups or individuals I escorted : Between 2006 and 2009 I led shore excursions for passengers from cruiseships like Wind Song, Princess, Celebrity etc in Istanbul and Ephesus ; ( see the photos from these tours at my flickr pages ) but every year I do couple of round-trips through Turkey ; so I have enough expertise for the rest of Turkey . * 2006 CBS TV during Pope’s visit to Istanbul. * President of Latvia in Istanbul on a Bosphorus cruise. * 2004 American CBS TV to do with the visit of President Bush visiting Turkey during the Nato summit in Istanbul. * 2004 Minister of Iran visiting Turkey during Earthquake summit. -Chamber of Commerce of Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia * Members of Museum of Art of Hong Kong 1996. * Atache of President Bush the senior, during the President’s official visit to Ankara following ‘Gulf Crisis’. This is a long list, so I’m cutting it short here. Photography: I worked for some time for a renowned Turkish parents magazine as a photographer and interviewer. I like sharing my photo tips with visitors; so that you may have a great photo to be framed from a memorable visit to Turkey. I also email a great collection of print quality photos. Description of Services: * The entrance fees are not included in the price. * Services begin from the hotel, pier, airport and end at the pick up point. ———————————————————————————————————————— ————————–
(*) The tours described here are offered in association with Flo-Turkey Travel agency. ———————————————————————————————————————— ————————— Feedback from Previous Visitors: May 2004 Dear Oguz, I would like to thank you for the great time we had together on our tour through Greece, its islands and Turkey. You added to our trip, and we appreciate all your efforts. In the last 3 years time I traveled over 80 countries and I had over 80 tour guides. There was one that was close to you, but so far you are the best! Sandor Milesz Forever Living Products Director – Hungary June 16,1990 Dear Oguz, Please accept my deepest thanks and profound gratitude on behalf of the entire group of Californians, for whom you made the history, culture and mythology of Turkey a living reality. We will remember you with fondness and expect and look forward to your visit to California in the near future. Yours Sincerely, Rachael Balyeat (Rachael Balyeat and Her Friends-28 day tour of turkey) quot from comments sheet, 1995: tour guide: Oguz- Superior guide. Articulate, knowledgeable, and accommodating. Betty&Roy Hubbell ** Wood Rise, Falmouth, MA. USA Dear Oguz, Thanks for showing us Turkey old and new – you are a very good ambassador for your country. I shall certainly go back home with a much broader understanding of this part of the world. Anita Starret (1996) (10th May 1990) My dear Oz, I just wanted to thank you so much for adding to the interest and enjoyment of the Tour with your very well informed and witty comments. My sister and I really enjoyed the whole experience, mingled with pride and sadness when we visited my father’s grave at Hill 10 (of the Gallipoli peninsula). I enclose a very inadequate little book about Ireland- perhaps you’ll visit us one day. Thank you again for everything Yours very sincerely Vangie Kennedy Strathearn Park, Belfast, BT4 ***,Ireland Leave a Comment
October 11, 2009
2009 – Updated Operating Days and Hours of Museums in Istanbul
Filed under: must read info before going to Turkey — Tags: Closing Days and Opening Hours in Istanbul, Istanbul museums closing on major public vacations, Museum in Istanbul open and closed time hours and days, Operating Days and Hours of Museums in Istanbul, Operating Days and Hours of visitor attractions in Istanbul — mristanblue @ 2:39 pm Edit This summer 2009 – winter 2010 Operating hours and days of Istanbul’s tourist attractions (note ; holiday info below is a guideline, at each holiday the hours may vary slightly ) * Archaeological Museums (Arkeoloji Müzeleri) Open: daily from 09.00 – 17.00, no entrance after 16.00 ( summer time open until 19.00 last entrance by 18.00 , winter is as above from mid october on ) Closed: Monday, and until 12.00 on the first day of religious holidays * Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıcı) Open: daily from 09.00 – 17.30 Closed: until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays * Big Palace Mosaic Museum (Büyük Saray Çinileri Müzesi) Open: daily from 09.00 – 16.30 Closed: Monday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays * Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) Open: daily from 09.00 till dusk Closed: 30 min before until 30 min after prayer time, 2 hours during Friday noon prayer * Dolmabahçe Palace (Dolmabahçe Sarayı) Open: daily from 09.00 – 16.00 Closed: Monday, Thursday, January 1st and the first days of religious holidays * Egyptian or Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı) Open: daily from 08.00 – 19.00 Closed: Sunday, October 29th and the full duration of religious holidays * Fethiye Museum (Fethiye Müzesi) Open: daily from 09.00 – 16.30 Closed: Wednesday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays * Fortress of Europe (Rumeli Hisarı) Open: daily from 09.00 – 16.30, no entrance after 16.00 Closed: Wednesday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays * Fortress of Seven Towers (Yedikule Hisarı) Open: daily from 08.00 – 16.00 Closed: no closing days * Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi) Open: daily from 09.00 – 20.00 Closed: no closing days - It functions as a nightclub from 20.00 on ) * Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı)
Open: daily from 08.30 – 19.00 Closed: Sunday, October 29th and the full duration of religious holidays ( They began opening it also on sundays in summer 2009 ) * Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Müzesi) Open: daily from 09.00 – 17.00 Closed: Monday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays * Harem (Harem) Open: daily from 09.30 – 17.00, lunch break from 12.00 – 12.30 Closed: Tuesday, and until 12.00 on the first day of religious holidays * Imperial Porcelain Factory (Yıldız Porselen Fabrikası) Open: daily from 09.00 – 12.00 and 13.00 – 17.00 Closed: Saturday, Sunday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays * Kariye Museum ( Chora Church - Kariye Müzesi) Open: daily from 09.00 – 16.30 Closed: Wednesday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays * Malta Pavilion (Malta Köşkü) Open: daily from 09.00 – 22.00 Closed: no closing days Ottoman Military Band in the Military Museum Daily at 3 p.m. Begins with a 10 minute video in English offering great Ottoman period photos , paintings, footage and connections of Beethoven ,Mozart via Ala Turca . 3.30 p.m. second half of the concert begins – 10 min video in Turkish Museum is closed on monday and tuesday * Süleymaniye Mosque (Süleymaniye Camii) Open: daily from 09.00 – 17.30 Closed: during prayer time Note: due to restoration, till 2010 only a small part of the mosque is open The tomb of Suleyman the Magnificent and his wife Hurrem’s ( Roxalena ) tomb can also be seen. * Şale Pavilion (Şale Köşkü) Open: daily from 10.00 – 16.00 Closed: Monday and Thursday * Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı) Open: daily from 09.00 – 17.00 ( summer time 09 – 19.00 last entrance by 17.30 or 18.00 until mid october ) Closed: Tuesday, and until 12.00 on the first day of religious holidays * Turkish & Islamic Art Museum (Türk İslam Eserleri Müzesi) is across Blue Mosque. Open: daily from 09.30 – 16.30 Closed: Monday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays * Tünel (Tünel) the century old funicular , your easy access to Istiklal street across Spice market, cross Galata bridge, at karakoy Open: daily from 07.00 – 21.00 Closed: no closing days * Yıldız Palace (Yıldız Sarayı) Open: daily from 09.30 – 16.30
Closed: Tuesday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays * Yıldız Park (Yıldız Korusu) Open: day and night Closed: no closing days Typical Museum open – closed information for Istanbul on Bayrams – feasts, public holidays : Places that get closed on Islamic feast celebration days ( we call it bayram ) mainly in Istanbul Topkapi Sarayi Muzesi: (Tel: 0212 512 04 80): on the first day of Bayram it is 13:00 closed on second day 2. gun , open the following days. closed until
Ayasofya Muzesi Hagia Sophia : (Tel: 0212 522 09 89)on the first day of Bayram it is closed ; open the following days Kariye Muzesi Chora : (Tel: 0212 631 92 41): on the first day of Bayram it is closed until 13:00, the other days exccept wednesday open betwen 09:00-16:30 Dolmabahce Sarayi: (Tel: 0212 236 90 00): on the first day of Bayram it is closed . Istanbul Arkeoloji Muzeleri: (Tel: 0212 520 77 40): Closed on mondays. on the first day of Bayram it is closed . Basilica Cistern (Tel: 0212 512 15 70): on the first day of Bayram it is closed until 13:00 diger gunler 09:00-17:30 saatleri arasinda acik. Museum open – closed information for other major sites in Turkey : Ephesus ( Selcuk ) archaelogical Museum : (Tel: 0232 892 60 10): on the first day of Bayram it is closed untill 13:00 Efes Ancient site (Tel: 0232 892 60 10): Open also on bayrams, public holidays. Ankara Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi: (Tel: 0312 324 31 60): the first day of Bayram it is closed until 12:00 Antalya Muzesi: (Tel: 0242 238 56 88): on the first day of Bayram it is closed until 13:00 Goreme Acikhava Muzesi: (Tel: 0384 271 21 67): on the first day of Bayram it is closed until 13:00 Enjoy your visit! – Oguz (*) my visual Istanbul Guide pages : http://www.flickr.com/photos/23822697@N02/sets/ (*)Oguz Kosebalaban is an official professional tour guide offering personal tours of Istanbul and rest of Turkey alike.
October 9, 2009
Is there a better Bosphorus cruise in Istanbul?
Filed under: Visual Istanbul Background — Tags: Better Bosphorus Cruise, bosphorus cruise, Bosphorus sailing from Ortakoy, bosporus cruise, Boğaz turu şehir hatları, turyol bosphorus cruise — mristanblue @ 12:34 pm Edit This So you are in Istanbul and you are checking the best activities and maybe you even found my best of Istanbul, or top things to do in Istanbul : And now it is the time for an Istanbul cruise : One of the best ways to enjoy and experience Istanbul efficiently is going on a Bosphorus Cruise , but, possibly that cruise should not be this one, despite the fact that the fancy guide book you got usually gives you the details of this experience! waiting for you : There are limited outdoor areas on the regular Bosphorus cruise , so you are stuck indoors with limited view :
Is there a finer istanbul bosphorus cruise experience? As in the photo above , you will possibly end up in an overcrowded – packed Bosphorus city line boat ( Bogaz Hatlari Vapuru ) departing across from Spice Market ( Egyptian Bazaar ) : The earliest departure being at 10.35 ; and enjoy a mediocre cruise experience, as in the photo below ; or you found this page and you have a bright option! : ……………………………………………… Is there a better Bosphorus Cruise?
Yes there is; if quality is not meaning quantity for you, this departure from Ortakoy district in the afternoons is a truly good experience : You have outdeck seats with a nice outdect fresh air, Bosphorus experience : It departs from below the first suspension bridge, the pier is next to Ortakoy ( Buyuk Mecidiye ) Mosque.
………………………………………… * The photos above are from my visual Istanbul Guide for a better Istanbul experience . * Article is by Oguz Kosebalaban , professional Istanbul tour guide, with suggestions of finer ways to enjoy Istanbul , stepping up from tourist level tours to true experience with more insight. Forsome more insightful comments http://mristanblue.wordpress.com/
August 24, 2009
Istanbul Archaeological Museum & The first love letter of the World
Filed under: Visual Istanbul Background — Tags: Istanbul Archaelogical Museum & First love letter of the World * ( by Oguz Kosebalaban ) This museum is a missed jewel of Istanbul , despite the fact that it is situated steps away from inside the first courtyard ( accross from where ticket booth of the palace is situated ) of Topkapi Palace.
Courtyard of Istanbul Archaelogical Museum ( to see the rest of the photo with the explanation arrows ; you may use this link ; copy , paste, go http://mristanblue.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/tiled-kiosk-cafe2.jpg Most travellers miss this museum, or even if they visit they miss some of the most impressive artifacts because of the lack of a selective guide of this museum. As I keep on adding to this article accompanied with the photos I have been taking in this museum; I believe more visitors will get a chance to enjoy this museum, at least for a highlights tour of 1 hour . But one ends up spending only 1 hour in the most charming piecefull courtyard of the museum ; housing century old trees , the outdoor cafe with ancient sculpture, the 19th century main museum building designed after the Sidonian Sarcophagi. This building is one of the three buildings , another one is a 15th century mansion of Sultan Mehmet the Second ( Fatih Sultan Mehmet ) : This is the sultan who conquered Istanbul. Special features of the museum not to be missed : The first love letter of the world :
love letter istanbul archaelogical museum A Sumerian letter. Scholars say, this was a ritual taking place in Mesopotamian festivals for fertility and power which also included the initiation of a sacred Marriage. The new year for the Sumerians is around the spring equinox, and every new year the Sumerian king “married” the Sumerian goddess of love and war, namely Inanna. Inanna is the Babylonian version of Ishtar. Inanna’s powers included renewing the land’s fertility. Every summer at the special festival Inanna’s high priestess of Inanna representing Inanna married the King : The King would provide offerings ; and the priestess would accept the king into her bed, preceded by an invitational love poem : In the one below Sumerian king is Shu-Sin, and we are introduced to Enlil, the high priestess. This is the oldest love poem known in the world : Bridegroom, dear to my heart, Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet, Lion, dear to my heart, Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet. You have captivated me, Let me stand tremblingly before you. Bridegroom, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber, You have captivated me, Let me stand tremblingly before you. Lion, I would be taken by you to the bedchamber. Bridegroom, let me caress you, My precious caress is more savory than honey, In the bedchamber, honey-filled, Let me enjoy your goodly beauty, Lion, let me caress you, My precious caress is more savory than honey. Bridegroom, you have taken your pleasure of me, Tell my mother, she will give you delicacies, My father, he will give you gifts. Your spirit, I know where to cheer your spirit, Bridegroom, sleep in our house until dawn, Your heart, I know where to gladden your heart, Lion, sleep in our house until dawn. You, because you love me, Give me pray of your caresses, My lord god, my lord protector, My Shu-Sin, who gladdens Enlil’s heart, Give my pray of your caresses. Your place goodly as honey, pray lay your hand on it, Bring your hand over like a gishban-garment, Cup your hand over it like a gishban-sikin-garment. Dünyanın ilk aşk mektubu – İstanbul Arkeoloji Müzesi 1889 yılında, Bağdat’ın 150 kilometre uzağındaki Sümer kenti Nippur’da bulundu. Tablet 55 yıl önce ABD’li Sümerolog Samuel Noah Kramer tarafından okundu. Aynı dönemde tableti Türkçe’ye ise bugün 94 yaşında olan Türkiye’nin ilk Sümeroloğu Muazzez İlmiye Çığ çevirdi.
Şiirin hikayesi: Sümer inancına göre, toprağın bereketini ve toprağın verimli olmasını sağlamak amacıyla, Kral’ın yılda bir kez Bereket ve Aşk Tanrıçası Enlil yerine bir rahibe ile evlenmesi kutsal bir görevdi. Bu şiir büyük bir olasılıkla Kral Şusin için seçilmiş bir gelin tarafından yeni yıl bayramını kutlama töreninde söylenmek üzere kaleme alınmıştı ve ziyafetlerde şölenlerde müzik, şarkı ve dans eşliğinde söyleniyordu. Şiir : “Okşayışları baldan tatlı “rahibe Enlil “aslanı” Damat Şuşin’e mektubunda şöyle yazıyor: Güveyi, kalbimin sevgilisi, Senin güzelliğin fazladır, bal gibi tatlı Beni büyüledin, Senin önünde titreyerek durayım, Güveyi, seni okşayayım, Benim kıymetli okşayışım baldan hoştur, Bağışla bana okşayışlarını, Benim beyim Tanrım, Benim beyim baygınlığım, Enlil’in kalbini memnun eden Su-Sin’im, Bağışla bana okşayışlarını. bir diğer detaylı tercümesi : Damadım, kalbimin sevgilisi. Güzelliğin büyüktür baldan tatlı. Aslan, kalbimin kıymetlisi. Güzelliğin büyüktür baldan tatlı. Benim değerli okşayışlarım baldan tatlıdır. Yatak odasında bal doludur. Güzelliğinle zevklenelim. Aslan seni okşayayım. Benim değerli okşayışlarım baldan tatlıdır. Damadım benden zevk aldın. Annem söyle sana güzel şeyler verecektir. Babam, sana hediyeler verecektir. Sen beni sevdiğin için. Lütfet bana okşayışlarını. Benim Tanrım, benim koruyucum . Tanrı Ellil’in kalbini memnun eden Şusin’im. Lütfet bana okşayışlarını . Philadelphia Üniversitesi profesörlerinden Hilprecht, 1889 1900 yılları arasında Mezopotamya’nın Niffer Vadisi’nde bir kazı yaptı. Bu arada topraktan çıkarılan önemli bir vesika, içeriğinin ne olduğu bilinmeyen çivi yazısı ile yazılmış diğer binlerce levha ile birlikte, kazı yapılan yerin sahibi olan Osmanlı Hükümeti’ne teslim edildi. 70 bin levhanın içine sıkışmış bulunan bu tarihi vesika; 58 yıl sonra, dünyaca ünlü Sümerolog Muazzez Çığ ve Hatice Kızılay tarafından ele alındı. Bu taş levha üzerindeki yazının ne anlam içerdiği çözülünce, uzmanlar hayretler içinde kaldılar. Çünkü bu taş levha, dünyanın ilk aşk mektubuydu. Hem de Sümer Medeniyeti’nin en büyük kral ve kraliçesinin aşkını anlatan bir mektup… Milattan önce 2300 2500 yılları arasında Mezopotamya’da yaşayan ve şahane bir güzelliğe sahip olan Enlil adında Sümerli bir rahibe, Kral Su-Sin’e aşıktı. Sümerlilerin yeni sene bayramında, tesadüfen kralın gözüne çarparak onunla evlenmeğe muvaffak oldu. Evlendiği gün de ateşi ile, sevgilisi krala bir şiir yazdı. Gerçek sevginin sembolü olan şiir sarayda o kadar beğenildi ki, daha sonra o devrin en ünlü musiki üstatları tarafından bestelendi ve kısa zamanda halk arasına kadar yayılarak ebedileşti… *Oguz Kosebalaban is a travel writer, photographer , travel consultant and official professional tour guide who have been leading tours through Turkey including prime sites like Istanbul, Ephesus and Cappadocia for many years. The pdf file belongs to a quarterly Turkish magazine where some of his photos have been used , including the cover : www.kartonsan.com/pdf/paylasim/paylasim2009-1.pdf Oguz Kosebalaban is spellt as Oğuz Kösebalaban in Turkish.
Pages: About • First Love Letter of The world – Istanbul Archaeological Museum Blogroll • WordPress.com • WordPress.org Categories: • 1 • must read info before going to Turkey • Visual Istanbul Background
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.