One of my most favorite destinations is Turkey, from ancient mosques to modern high-rise malls. It is a city steeped in culture and history. In Istanbul, it is the views of the Bosphorus that will dominate your visit.

I stayed around Sultanahmet Square, and I explored the old city bij foot. Things to do in Istanbul.

Sultan Ahmet mosque: Not to be outdone by the grandeur of the Hagia Sophia, the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed built his mosque directly opposite (on slightly higher ground). It is also known as the Blue Mosque because of the beautiful blue tiles inside and, unusually, it has six minarets – two more than normal. My family used to pray at this mosque during our visit.

Hagia Sophia: Used to be the largest cathedral in the world. In 1453 Sultan Fatih converted it to a mosque and in 1935 Ataturk turned it into a museum.

Topkapi Palace: Home of the Ottoman Sultans. One can easily spend a whole day going from one display to another of the Islamic museum inside this palace. A serene hour in the last courtyard overlooking the Bosphorus and the Marmara was most delightful.

A two-hour boat trip along the Bosphorus was a pleasure. The views are truly relaxing. The skyline of the Old City is nice.

Grand bazaar: I visited the colourful Grand bazaar. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world with 60 streets and 5,000 shops. It is well known for its jewellery, hand-painted ceramics, carpets, embroideries, spices and antique shops.

The cuisine is widely praised around the world for its diversity and one culinary item to try is traditional Turkish ice cream.  The taste is different. Traditional ice cream is sold from street vendors carts. The salesmen wear regional dress costumes and depending on their mood, it may be a while before you can sample the chewy and tasty ice cream.

Another culinary item to try is Traditional Güveç, Turkish dish with Cubed Lamb, Mushrooms, Onions, Green Peppers, Aubergine & Tomatoes cooked in a traditional clay pot with secret spices served with Rice.

A weeks visit to Istanbul is just perfect, but repeated visits are inevitable and advisable as the city has so much to offer.

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3 thoughts on “Turkey, the seat of the Islamic Ottoman Empire

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