What makes Istanbul special?
Istanbul is the city I grew up in and I couldn’t be luckier. This city offers so many facades, so many tastes, so many colours of life it is not comparable with any other city. Not for me. Even though I don’t live there anymore, my most precious family does and I try to visit them as much as I can. I am and always will be “Istanbuler”. Well, since I live in Hamburg I started calling myself “Istamburger”. In this post I’ll write about things which make Istanbul special for me. I’ll try to keep it short.
It’s everywhere and I can’t have enough of it. It’s Bosporus, it’s Golden Horn, it’s Sea of Marmara, it’s Black Sea. Then there are the lakes Terkos, Büyükcekmece, Kücükcekmece. I tell you… You can go to any place in Istanbul, you’ll either walk or drive by the sea.
It’s not only the seas I love about Istanbul, it’s the life going in and around the seas in Istanbul.
Imagine seeing dolphins swimming along Bosporus while you sip on your beer on a bench in the promenade. This might happen very rarely but if it happens, you know it is once in a life time experience.
Imagine crossing continents with a steamboat, “vapur“. Sit on the upper deck and just relax enjoying the waves of Bosporus.
Imagine going to Galata Bridge after work to catch your meal for dinner. Imagine sitting in a snack bar under the bridge and watching the fishing lines being pulled up with 1 or 2 fish hooked up.
The 5 Senses
Go to Grand Basar, loose yourself in the corridors, and absorb all the colours you see. The colours of the hand made glas lamps, accessories… Feel the fabric of the carpets, cloths, scarves…
Walk with the flow in Egypt Basar. Listen to the merchants calling you in 10 different languages till he finds the responding one. Smell it… Smell all the spices you’ve never heard of before. Taste the tea you didn’t know it existed.
Istanbul at night… well, this is something… Imagine the lights shimmering on the water. Thousands of lights. Millions of lights of Istanbul, the city which doesn’t get tired, since centuries. The lights of vivid living rooms, lights of racing cars, lights of yellow taxis hunting customers, lights of the lanterns brightening the never retiring streets, lights of fisher boots, the comforting smooth light of the moon, lights of this tremendous bridge connecting continents.
The Talking Streets
Imagine walking down a 1,4 km long avenue visited by millions daily. Walk down slowly Istiklal Avenue to see all the hidden gems from 19th century. Explore the work of young fashion designers in Atlas Passage.
Imagine countless street cats who need your warmth and you theirs. Have a chat with the bookstore cat in Hazzopulo Passage.
Go off the beaten path, stroll around the narrow streets of Beyoglu till you feel the excitement of loosing your way. Discover the street art while drinking local beer, Bomonti in Urban Cafe.
Take the nostalgic tram and join the tram surfer kids. Open the small window and breath in the relaxing wind while driving down through millions of people.
Get off in Tunel. Go through the magical Tunel Passage and head to Asmali Mescit to start an unforgettable clubbing night in Istanbul.
I feel my visit is not complete if I don’t drink a turkish tee and eat a simit while enjoying the sea air.
If I’m here in winter the roasted maroons are must have. But not any! I mean the ones from the street vendors in Istiklal Avenue. Can you hear the sizzle warming you from inside?
Last but not least, the seafood! No matter which season it is you have to try Midye Dolma and Midye Tava.
No matter what I do, every time I’m here the city takes me to a new journey and I can’t say no.
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