During the last moments of my Erasmus life, I traveled to one of my dream destinations: Turkey. Along with my sidekick slash Erasmus Bestfriend (who were traveling around Europe at that time) we decided to meet up in Istanbul. What we didn’t know that more of our Erasmus friends were heading to Turkey, visiting the same city AND even in the SAME flight.
We arrived pretty late in the city and our hostel was at the Sultanahmet area. When we arrived, we met with another friends there who were staying at the same hostel (small world huh?) We strolled around for a bit and we called it for a day. The day after, we had a heartful (and free, yay!) breakfast: Turkish tea, egg, salad and toast with cheese and Tirkish honey. It was seriously one of the best breakfast, I’ve ever had.
Places we have visited during our trip:
We didn’t plan our visit to the mosque before hand and we didn’t know that there are prayers. But instead of waiting, we head to Aya Sofya and went back here after the prayer. Before entering we took off your shoes and put our scarves to cover our head. One interesting fact about the mosque we’ve learn was that according to a folklore, the architect misheard the Sultan’s request for gold minarets as six minarets (since the were pronounced similar). At the time, only Mecca could have that unique feature! The Sultan then ordered a seventh minaret to be built at the Mecca mosque.
When we arrived, there were a long queue. Instead of waiting our turn, we hired a tour guide and within the price offered, we could pass straight to the interior with him. Hagia Sophia was converted in to a museum.It is the only building in the world that served to three religions and still has both Christian and Islamic influences and features today.
It was really a surprising place. The cistern is located near Hagia Sophia and lie beneath the city of Istanbul. After we entered, we paid for an audio guide (you can use Euros to pay it) and started the short tour. We really liked the place, especially the columns with Medusa base, which one of them was rotated 90 degrees.
Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar was AMAZING. It was huge and you can easily can get lost. You can buy jewellery, ceramics, carpets, embroideries, spices, fashion brands. On the other if your looking for exotic spices, teas and herbs(or even Turkish delights!), the Spice Bazaar is your place.
Don’t forget to bargain!
The Süleymaniye Mosque is the second largest mosque in the city. This mosque is near the Grand Bazaar and it is pretty easy to see it since it is a huge complex. You will also want to visit the tombs of Süleyman and his sultana Roxelana (Hürrem Sultan) in the garden behind the mosque.
Turkish Bath: Cagaloglu Baths
We got here with our tour guide. This historical bath is one of the “1,000 Places To See Before You Die” and definitly it was worth it.
It is one of the most beautiful and glamorous palacesI’ve ever seen. You can only enter to the palace by joining a guided tour, so we bought the entrance ticket with the tour guide and we were lucky to get the last English tour. You are not allowed to take pictures inside of the palace but after entering and seeing the staircase with a crystal chandelier, I couldn’t help to take pictures!
We also didn’t miss the Europe-Asia ferry around the Bosphorus Strait. Taking a ferry from Europe to Asia had made our trip a very unique experience by visiting an entirely different continent in a blink of an eye, BUT hold on, yet being in not only the same country, but the same city!