A Brief Introduction to Istanbul

Our final destination in our two-month journey through Europe was Istanbul. Unfortunately, our stay was limited to one day only, far too little time to explore the only city in the world that is located in two continents. Yet, we managed to see some of the iconic landmarks of the cultural capital of Turkey.

Our visit to Istanbul started in the early morning, where we took a taxi from our airport hotel to the Hagia Sophia. This church, mosque, and now museum is the symbol of Istanbul, with its four minarets visible from all over the city. We arrived at the sight at dawn, and had the place all to ourselves as no one else was around.

• Hagia Sofia.

On the opposite side of the Sultanahmet Arkeolojik Park, away from the Hagia Sophia, you can find the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, or Blue Mosque. Contrary to the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque still serves as a mosque today. Its six minarets, eight domes, and the blue tiles make for an impressive sight.

• Sultanahmet Arkeolojik Park and minarets of the Blue Mosque.

From the Sultanahmet District we made our way north towards Beşiktaş. This area is home to the mighty Bosporus Bridge, spanning the Bosporus River, connecting Europe with Asia. The waterfront near the Ortaköy Mosque provides a spectacular view of both the mosque and the bridge, and is a popular gathering spot for tourists and locals.

• Ortaköy Mosque and Bosphorus Bridge.

Walking back to the main road, one passes through the Ortaköy Bazaar. This is a great place to find a souvenir, with many small shops selling anything from jewelry to magnets. It is an alternative to the much bigger Grand Bazaar, located in the Sultanahmet District we visited earlier.

• Ortaköy Bazaar.

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We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.

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We are currently in … London