TURKEY– Istanbul Day 2

22:17 Travel Bunny 1 Comments

DSC01351We visited the Topkapi Palace and enjoyed the Bosphorus cruise on day 2 in Istanbul.


DSC01310Good morning, Istanbul.


DSC01283Just noticed this bottle in the hotel room. Will you buy a bottle of ‘real Istanbul air’ for 60TL (Turkish Lira) which is equivalent to RM120? You must be mad if you do.


DSC01312Taksim Square in the morning.


DSC01316In 2013, the city municipal started to demolish the Taksim Gezi Park to make way for more shopping venues. Thousands of people protested against it. The government responded by sending police to attack the demonstrators sleeping in tents with tear gas, pepper spray and water canon. .


DSC01325People fishing at the Bosphorus.


DSC01332Once we crossed the bridge, we’re on the Europe side of Istanbul.


DSC01341We walked from Hagia Sophia to the Topkapi Palace.


DSC01342This is the Imperial Gate of the Topkapi Palace. The extensive Topkapi Palace complex is huge, covering about 175 acres. Once home  to 40,000 people, Mehmet II began constructing the building in 1462. The Ottoman empire was ruled from here for nearly 400 years.


DSC01343We’re now entering the First Courtyard. There are four courtyards in total that lead to each other.


DSC01346The first building on our left is the Church of Hagia Eirene.


DSC01347We’re now walking towards the Gate of Salutation or Middle Gate that leads us into Second Courtyard.


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DSC01354Only the sultan was allowed to enter this gate on horseback. All visitors must dismount before entering this gate.


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DSC01358Once inside, we have to go through the security checkpoint.


DSC01359This is the Tower of Justice between the Imperial Council and the Harem. The tower symbolizes the eternal vigilance of the sultan against injustice.


DSC01417The grand entrance to the Imperial Council building. It is the chamber where the ministers of state held meetings. It consists of three adjoining main rooms.


DSC01419The window with the golden drill where the Sultan was able to eavesdrop on the proceedings.


DSC01364This building with the tall chimneys is the palace kitchen. Unfortunately, it is now closed to the public due to restoration works.


DSC01365We’re now approaching Gate of Felicity, which is the entrance to the Third Courtyard. The Third Courtyard comprises the private and residential areas of the palace. Entry to the Third Courtyard was strictly off-limits to outsiders.


DSC01367This is the stone marker for the Holy Banner.


DSC01370And this is the building of Imperial Treasury. A vast collection of jewelled objects made of gold and other precious material is being kept and displayed here. I’m totally in awe of the vast treasure of the Sultan. You cannot take pictures inside the treasury though.


DSC01376At the corridor of the Imperial Treasury.


DSC01372A fungus hollowed out this tree trunk yet it remain standing which is remarkable.

We didn’t visit the Harem because you need to pay extra in order to enter the Harem.

DSC01379The Sultan break his fast under this bower in Fourth Courtyard.


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DSC01402This is the upper terrace with fountain.


DSC01404The Baghdad Kiosk was built to commemorate the Baghdad Campaign of Murad IV after 1638.


DSC01385Taking photo on the corridor of Baghdad Kiosk.


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DSC01405We then walked over to a cafe that have the view of the Bosphorus and Sea of Marmara.


DSC01406Hi there! Met other colleagues here.


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DSC01414Panoramic view of the Bosphorus and Sea of Marmara.


DSC01426Taking the group photo in front of the Middle Gate before we left.


DSC01431Where to next?


DSC01432To have lunch, of course. We got to enjoy some Chinese food at last.


DSC01330After lunch, we went to the Spice Bazaar.


DSC01441The Spice Bazaar is the second largest covered shopping complex after Grand Bazaar.


DSC01435Well, looks familiar? The interior seems a lot like the Grand Bazaar too.


DSC01436As suggested by its name, this is the centre of spice trade.


DSC01437But there are many spice shops selling Turkish Delights too.


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DSC01438This is the spice shop that our guide took us. Bought a box of Turkish Delights here.


DSC01443After finished shopping at the Spice Market, we took a ferry for a Bosphorus cruise. The Strait of Bosphorus lies between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. it is dubbed as the world’s narrowest strait (700 meters at the narrowest point) used for international navigation.


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DSC01448Panaromic view of the European side of Istanbul, which is the old Istanbul where the city’s most famous sites such as Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar are located.


DSC01447Panaromic view of the Asian side of Istanbul.


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DSC01459The Marmara Taksim hotel can be seen here as the highest building. It is located at the heart of modern Istanbul, Taksim Square.


DSC01465The Dolmabahce Palace clock tower can be seen here on the right in this picture.


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DSC01472Close-up view of the beautiful Dolmabahce Palace from the Bosphorus. It is the largest palace in Turkey. The only way to see the interior of the palace is with a guided tour. Atartuk used this palace as a presidential residence during the summers.


DSC01475Approaching another beautiful palace, Ciragan Palace.


DSC01478Ciragan Palace, a former Ottoman palace, is now a 5-star hotel under the Kempinski Hotel chain. The most expensive room which is the Sultan’s Suite cost USD15,322 per night. Famous artists such as Michael Jackson had stayed here before.


DSC01480We were told by the guide that this is the area where many gay people like to hang out.


DSC01482This is the presidential ship.


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DSC01484Passed by a man-made island, Galatasaray Islet which is owned by Galatasaray Sports Club. It has bars, 6 restaurants and 2 swimming pools.


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DSC01487Opps, can’t remember what building is this. Just thought it is beautiful when I took the photo.


DSC01489After a while, the upper deck of the ferry was too windy and cold for me. I went down to the lower deck which is enclosed and warm and ordered a glass of hot apple tea to warm myself.

Bosphorus cruise is a wonderful experience to view Istanbul as it runs through the heart of the city. But it is not as wonderful as the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia though.

DSC01490If you are a Malaysian like me, you’ll think that the parking fees stated on the board here is ridiculous. 1 saat in Bahasa Melayu means 1 second. 1 second already need to pay 10TL? Actually 1 saat in Turkish means 1 hour. Haha.


DSC01493We proceeded to visit this shopping mall, Kanyon next.


DSC01498The Kanyon’s design and layout is modern and beautiful but… it is an outdoor shopping mall, which normally won’t be a problem for me except that it is winter and it is freezing cold. I don’t feel like shopping in a cold shopping mall at all!

There is actually another shopping mall nearby Kanyon which is warm and cosy. Since this is our last night in Istanbul, we went to Istiklal Avenue which is within walking distance from our hotel one more time for last minute shopping.

1471338_10201624676832213_352198996_nIn conclusion, we had a blast in Turkey. Goodbye, Turkey.


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