Istanbul Walkabout – Istanbul walkabout is the on-foot exploration of the largest city in Turkey and constitutes Turkey’s country’s economic, cultural, and historical heart. It is also the fifth-largest city in the world. Istanbul straddles the Bosphorus strait in northwestern Turkey, between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea.
For nearly sixteen centuries following its reestablishment as Constantinople in 330 AD, Istanbul served as an imperial capital for the Roman and Byzantine, the Latin, and the Ottoman empires. Istanbul is the fifth-most-popular tourist destination in the world.
This Istanbul Walkabout takes you through the Süleymaniye Mosque where Sezer Unal and I hunt for some spicy food in Istanbul. Previously I had tired Kebap, Köfte, Iskender, Pide and Döner which didn’t stimulate my tastebuds much. I was looking for a bit more spice in life here.
On Sezer’s suggestion, we visited Alibaba in the Süleymaniye Mosque annexe. Alibaba has been serving its customers since 1939. The steward at Alibaba was pretty sure that I’ll have smoke coming out of my ears once I ate their beans with two varieties of chillies – red and a green one. They didn’t move much in me and the steward went “Masha’Allah“.
We moved on on our Istanbul walkabout to The Süleymaniye Mosque. The Süleymaniye Mosque is an Ottoman imperial mosque located on the Third Hill of Istanbul, Turkey. The mosque was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent and designed by the imperial architect Mimar Sinan. It is also called the Blue Mosque.
The Blue Mosque is characterized by its cascading domed architecture surrounded by 6 towering minaret spires. It was from these minarets that Imams used to announce the Call to Prayer five times a day.
After the Süleymaniye Mosque eating jaunt, we relaxed on the top of Mimar Sinan Teras Cafe where Sezer introduced me to Dibek Turkish Coffee. Dibek coffee is made by pounding coffee beans with some gums which makes the final product a bit thicker than the usual Turkish coffee. Another unique thing about Dibek coffee is that it is made in cups that are put directly on hot coals.
On Istanbul walkabout, we next walked from to Süleymaniye Mosque via Istanbul University to Sultan Ahmet Mosque and Hagia Sofia and then onwards to Eminönü. At Eminönü we embarked on the Funicular to Taksim Square. Sezer abandoned the Istanbul walkabout here.
The focal feature of the Sultanahmet Park is the large fountain in the centre. From the fountain, there are excellent views of the Blue Mosque to the south and Hagia Sophia to the north. Entrance to the Sultanahmet Mosque is free.
Entrance to the equally impressive Hagia Sophia, on the other hand, costs 30 TL. Though originally used as a mosque by the Ottomans, Hagia Sophia is now a museum.
This is a great spot for a makeshift picnic on one of the park benches. After dark the fountain and building exteriors are lit up with multi-colored lights. One of the prettiest parts of Istanbul walkabout.
Taksim Square took me to Istiklal Street which is a great place for shopping for both branded as well as local goods. It’s a street soaked in history and offers some great eating spaces. Istiklal street also has some amazing street performances.
Istiklal street is the best shopping street in Istanbul by far, u get to shop at a lot of different brand outlets. Also, your can buy traditional Turkish sweets at various sweet shops there which are about 100 years old.
Evening Istanbul walkabout took us to The Golden Horn where the Bosphorus meets the Sea of Marmara. Here, we savoured some of the freshest food available while cherishing the well lit Istanbul skyline.
Karaköy, which is being touted as the most happening area for clubbing in Istanbul was deserted at 11:30 PM as we passed through it.
Hope you enjoy the video and the pictures.