The Deep Blue Bosphorus
The Bosphorus Strait is the body of water that divides the continents of Europe and Asia. Historically most great cities are built by a body of water for trade and agricultural purposes. Istanbul is no exception.
The shoreline offers a stunning view of the historic buildings cascading over the hillside, with mosques and minarets that cast their shadow across the marigold sky.
This modern duplex has spacious rooms and breathtaking views. Aside from the rooftop terrace, my bedroom has gorgeous crown molding, hardwood floors, a princess chandelier, and my own private balcony. 😀This may be the only, rather disturbing compromise for us foreigners. Gag me with a spoon! The area itself is residential and quiet, with lots of shops and cafes nearby. We even found our new local hangout. 🙂
We first had to head to the harbor, where we would cross over from Asia to Europe.
Harbor street eats. My hangover breakfast sandwich of multiple meats. Hah. Just what the doctor ordered. 😉To cross over the Bosphorus Strait, we took the Marmaray, which is an underwater metro that transports passengers from Asia to Europe in under 30 minutes, for a mere 60 cents.September is the beginning of pomegranate season, and vendors will squeeze fresh juice for you for a healthy dose of antioxidants. 🙂 Delicious! 🙂
Sultans from the Ottoman Empire, along with 4,000 other royal family members, staff and servants lived amongst these grounds for over 500 years. From great rulers and triumphant victories, to tragic bloodshed and tumultuous scandals, this sight is jam-packed with history.
Highlights of Topkapi Palace
The harem housing provided these women six floors of lavish living quarters, all with jaw-dropping interior design.
Washing up the old fashioned way. 🙂
After a visit to the palace, we stopped for lunch at Lale Pudding Shop, which offers hearty home cooking, buffet style. They even had vegetarian options, like the lentil and eggplant stew. 🙂
Narrow cobblestone streets lined with charming cafes and speedy mopeds. On the other end, the funicular tram, street art, and overall hipster vibe of Beyoğlu felt like trendy San Francisco as well.Roasted chestnuts.Street art.Snazzy shoes. 😀Galata Tower.While in Beyoğlu, we stopped at an inviting vegan cafe.We tried homemade seitan, a meatless protein source, and the local owner offered us hibiscus tea and vegan brownies with agave syrup. My roommate is a vegetarian nutritionist, so she was in heaven. 🙂
The Whirling Dervishes
UNESCO recognized “The Mevlevi Sama Ceremony” of Turkey, performed by the Whirling Dervishes, as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The Whirling Dervishes use rituals of prayer, dance and music in order to attain a closeness wıth God.
We saw the performance at the Mehlvahni Cultural Center for around 20 dollars per ticket. It was a sold out show, but we were OK with standing. 🙂Cats gathered in the adjacent cemetery, while we waited.History of the Whirling Dervishes
They began the show in their intimate oval dance hall, by explaining the religious significance of the ceremony.
The performance known as Sama, has been present since the 10th century. It is a practice of spirtual spinning, arms fully extended, which ascends the dervish to a euphoric state, next to Allah.