Istanbul is one of those cities that has so much to offer, one trip is not enough. A bit like London or New York in that aspect, the city is as fast paced as they come and, though cheesy to say, a melting pot of cultures, traditions and history.
Instead of your typical post of what I did do and what I saw on my trip, I thought I would compile something different. I had lots on my to see list this time around and simply did not get time to see it all. Here are some of my favourite examples of what I am yet to see in Istanbul. (There will be a post coming soon on sites I did get to see!)
Dinner Cruise on the River
I have still not managed to even take a boat on the infamous Bosphorus, let alone take a dinner cruise. I was visiting in February and it was super cold most of the time so this excursion was maybe not the best idea on my visit this year, but next time it will be towards the top of my list.
Explore More of the Asian Side
This one explains itself. More of the Asian side of the city needs to be explored next time.
Pierre Loti Hill
A hill with a panoramic view of the Golden Horn in Eyup, it is accessed by cable car. A cafe is located at the top of the hill in the district of Fatih, named after novelist Pierre Loti – a spot which often frequents Turkish romance films.
A Greek Orthodox Church, again in the district of Fatih, this Church of the Holy Saviour Chora is preserved as a museum. Often considered one of the most beautiful examples of Byzantine architecture, in the 1500’s the church was converted into a mosque, similar to the Hagia Sofia, by Ottoman rulers. With the Hagia Sofia now ticked off my list, this is its replacement on my next foray into the city.
Also known as Bozdogan Kemeri, this Roman aqueduct provided water for the city of Constantinople, dating back to 368AD. Whilst the arches are only a small part of the system, they are almost 19 metres high and span the valley between the 3rd and 4th Hills of the city. This was high on my list to see on my most recent visit but was not practically located to schedule a visit.
Again, it was February and I wasn’t really in the mood for a scrub down with a stranger, but one day I feel like I have to try this.
Around 30 minutes out of the Old City and almost 270m above sea level, this is one of Istanbul’s seven hills. Being the tallest, it again offers panoramic views of the river, city and surrounding gardens.
Another palace on my list, this one is on the Asian side of the city. A literal translation meaning Lord of Lords, this palace was built in the 1860’s and is situated north of the famous Bosphorus Bridge.
About 200m off the coast, this tower is located on a tiny island at the southern entrance to the Bosphorus. Serving as everything from a defense tower to lighthouse over the years, Maiden’s Tower was even a hospital and radio station during a cholera outbreak in mid 19th century. Today a popular museum, the tower houses a traditional Turkish restaurant which I definitely want to visit next time.
On the cities Third Hill, I’m already feeling that I will be able to see this at the same time I visit Valens Acqueduct. The logistics of my next trip to Istanbul are already falling into place.
I was actually close to visiting here a couple of times but something else in the area always seemed to distract me (probably food). The palace was where the Ottoman sultans lived and was constructed between 1460 and 1478 by the conqueror of Constantinople, Sultan Mehmed II. My interest in Ottoman and Byzantine history peaked on my last trip so next time, this place is a must for me.
Between these things and oh so much more, there is plenty to keep me going on at least one more trip to one of my favourite cities. Is Istanbul on your list?