Excerpt of a proposal I created with Jennifer Gokmen for NatGeo's Personal Explorer Walking Tours of Istanbul All tours contain CITY, CULTURE, HISTORY, ARCHITECTURE, ART. One also includes NATURE.
THE OLD FOREIGN QUARTER: ISTIKLAL AND PERA Taksim Square (heart of downtown) Haci Abdullah (oldest Ottoman restaurant in Istanbul) Historic Embassies (now consulates for France, Holland, Russia, Sweden, Greece) Historic Churches (Franciscan Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, etc.) Istanbul Film Festival (historic cinemas along Istiklal pedestrian boulevard) Cicek Pasaji/Balik Pazari/Nevizade (19th century flower market building and specialty foods shops, restaurant row) Galatasaray Lisesi (elite French high school established in the 15th century) Pasabahce (local handmade glassworks shop) Historic Hotels for Orient Express passengers (Hotel Grand London and Pera Palace) Pera Museum (Orientalist paintings in historic building) Asmalimescit (backstreet with historic taverns and iconic music venue Babylon) Ottoman Memorabilia Shops (Artrium and Ottomania in Tunel) Tunel Funicular Station (2nd oldest subway in the world)
SILK ROAD TRADING POSTS: GALATA, EMINONU, AND THE GRAND BAZAAR Galata Dervish House (Sufi monastery established 1491) Galata tower (1348 lookout tower for Genoese trading concession) Schneider Temple/art gallery Ottoman Bank Museum (heart of Ottoman-era banking district) Işbankası Museum Zulfaris Musevi Muzesi/ Jewish History Museum (500 years of Jewish history in Turkey) Galata Bridge and Golden Horn (fishermen, view restaurants, waterpipe cafes) Yeni Cami (1597 mosque with tombs of 4 sultans) Haci Bekir shop (Istanbul confectioners since 1777) Egyptian Spice Bazaar/Flower Market (17th century food and medicinals bazaar) Pandeli restaurant (80 year tradition in bazaar guard tower) Kucukpazar markets/Mahmutpasa shops (speciality foods and sundry markets) Rustem Pasa Mosque (1516 tiled mosque by star architect Sinan) Grand Bazaar (mother of all shopping malls established 1461) Grand Bazaar specialty shops (hamam supplies, Ottomania-inspired merchandise)
SHOWCASING SINAN, THE SULTAN'S FAVORITE ARCHITECT: SULEYMANIYE AND FATIH Suleymaniye Mosque (1550 masterpiece Sinan built for Süleyman the Magnificent to rival Haghia Sophia) Tombs of Suleyman and Roxelana (Crypt of the 10th Ottoman sultan and his wife) Mimar Sinan's Tomb (Grave of greatest Ottoman architect) Daruzziyafe restaurant (Ottoman cuisine in mosque complex's former soup kitchen) Ottoman library (public library still in use) Vefa Bozacısı (130-year-old Albanian shop producing fermented millet drink) Burmali Mosque (one room mosque with Byzantine columns) Şehzade Mehmed Kulliyesi (architect Sinan's first imperial mosque complex) Ruins of palace church of Anicia Juliana (grandest 6th century Greek Orthodox church before the Haghia Sophia) Aqueduct of Valens (375 AD Roman water bridge) Gazanfer Aga Complex (16th century theological school and tomb of chief eunuch) Caricature and Humor Arts Museum (history of Turkish cartoons)
CASTLES AND COASTLINES: ORTAKOY TO BESIKTAS Ortakoy village (preserved 16th century waterside village now entertainment hub with shops, cafes, clubs) One hour Bosphorus boat tour from Ortakoy dock (palaces, fortresses, wooden mansions, bridges on upper Bosphorus) Ortakoy houses of worship (1853 Baroque mosque, Russian Orthodox church, 17th century Etz Ahayim synagogue) Angelique (popular waterside nightclub) Istanbul Jazz Center (worldclass performance venue) Yildiz Park and Ottoman pavilions (green hillside park of 18th/19th century imperial kiosks and a porcelain atelier) Ciragan Palace (luxury hotel in restored Neogothic 1863 home to sultans) Yahya Effendi mausoleum (sultan's advisor, now a guardian spirit of the Bosphorus) Beskitas Iskelesi (1911 ferry terminal) Tomb of Barbarosa (resting place of 16th century Ottoman Naval warrior known as Red Beard) The Maritime Museum Dolmabahce Palace (seat of the sultans after 1853) Besiktas Stadium (home to one of Turkey's premier soccer teams) Maiden's Tower (5th century tower in middle of Bosphorus, with cafe and fine dining)
TAPESTRY OF TRADITIONS AND FAITHS: KUZGUNCUK Uskudar's mosques (1547 Iskele Cami, 1710 Yeni Valide Cami, 16th century Semsi Pasa Cami) Fethi Ahmet Pasa Yali (18th century waterfront home of Ottoman general/ambassador) Kuzguncuk Quay and Cesme (ferry terminal and 1792 fountain) Surp Krikor Lusavoric (1835 Armenian Orthodox church) Uryanizade Mescit (1880 mosque with carved wooden minaret) Ottoman houses (historic wooden "painted ladies" of Kuzguncuk) Icadiye Street teahouses and galleries St. Panteleimon (6th century Greek Orthodox church) Jewish Cemetery (16th century) Bostan Street art gallery and street market Greek Cemetery Ayios Giorgios Monastery (1821 Greek Orthodox church) Beth Yaakov Synagogue (1878 Sephardic temple)
IMPERIAL TREASURES: SULTANAHMET Great Palace Mosaic Museum (6th century Byzantine tesserae) Arasta Bazaar (handicraft boutique row in 17th century donkey stables) Topkapı Palace (seat of the sultans, 15th-19th century) Aya Sofya (6th century cathedral, Christendom's largest for 1,000 years) Blue Mosque (early 17th century İznik tiled mosque) Aya İrini (first church in Constantinople, now stunning performance venue) Darphane (17th century imperial mint) Istanbul Archaeology Museum (Turkey's first museum, established 1881) Cafer Aga Medrese (1559 theological school built by architect Sinan) Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum (set in 16th century Ibrahim Pasha Palace) Hippodrome (4th century chariot-racing track with obelisk relic) Basilica Cistern (city's largest ancient water reservoir, circa 6th century)