Carrying on with this Week’s Featured Destination.. Istanbul, the largest and most populated Turkish city which is commonly mistaken by many as the capital city of Turkey (Yes shocking isn’t it? The capital is actually Ankara.). This megacity is located on both sides of the Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea ergo Istanbul bridges Asia and Europe both physically and culturally, making it a popular destination for tourists from Europe and Asia. For anyone planning a trip to Istanbul, here are some things to do while you are there!
Topkapi Palace – Considered by many historians to be the seat of power of the Ottoman Sultans during their 624 years reign, the Topkapi Palace served as the command centre for the Ottoman empire. One doesn’t get much closer to the remnants of what was once one of the largest military force in the world than this. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has a rich and colorful history, the palace was home to Selim the Sot, who drowned in the bath after having had too much of the bubbly; İbrahim the Crazy, who lost his sanity and mind after being imprisoned for four years in the infamous palace kafes; and Roxelana, the beautiful and malevolent consort of Süleyman the Magnificent. Designated as one of the historic areas of Istanbul, this opulent palace is an example of the Ottoman empire’s architecture and also contains large collections of porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armor, Ottoman miniatures, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts and murals, as well as a display of Ottoman treasure and jewelry. A half day tour to the palace is recommended.
Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora – Considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of Byzantine splendor, this church is sadly often overlooked because of its location. Situated in Istanbul, in the Edirnekapı neighborhood, which lies in the western part of the municipality (belediye) of Fatih, it is pretty far off the beaten tourist track. Built in the late 11h century, the church houses beautiful mosaics and frescoes of Christian iconography, from the Day of Judgement through to the Resurrection, the works here are arguably the most important surviving examples of Byzantine art in the world, both in terms of their execution and preservation.
Ayasofya – Called Hagia Sofia in Greek, the Church of the Divine Wisdom in English, and Sancta Sophia in Latin. İstanbul’s most famous monument has a long and fascinating history: it was once a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, became a Roman Catholic cathedral briefly then a mosque, and now a museum. Originally built by Emperor Justinian, it was constructed on the site of Byzantium’s acropolis, which had also been the site of two earlier Aya Sofyas. Ayasofya is a great architectural beauty and served as an important monument both for the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. During its almost 1000 years as a church, only imperial processions were permitted to enter through the central, imperial door. One can still notice the depressions made into the stone by each door just inside the threshold where imperial guards once stood.
Originally named the Tower of Christ, the Galata Tower was built in 1348 at the apex of fortified walls. Dominating Beyoğlu’s skyline, the tower offers the best panoramic views of Old Istanbul. This medieval stone tower is located in the Galata district of Istanbul, just to the north of the Golden Horn. Built during an expansion of the Genoese colony in Constantinople, it was used to house prisoners of war after the Ottoman conquest. During the 19th century, it became an observatory post to watch out for fires that frequently broke out in the city’s largely wooden buildings. Today, there is a restaurant and café on its upper floors which commands a magnificent view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus.
Narghile – Not a place but a very Turkish thing to do.. Commonly referred to as Hookah or shisha in the United Kingdom, United States, Mexico and Canada, the Turks have been smoking the narghile since the early 17th century. The exact origins are unclear but many say it was a Persian physician named Abu’l-Fatḥ Gīlānī when he was at the Indian court of the Mughal emperor Akbar, who “first passed the smoke of tobacco through a small bowl of water to purify and cool the smoke and thus invented the hubble-bubble or hookah. This practice was relegated to a pastime of the peasantry but it’s made a 21st century comeback and the pedestrian strip by the American Pazari in Istanbul is lined with narghile cafes. Even if you are not a smoker, visit one of the cafes and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere while sipping a traditional Turkish coffee. Prepared and boiled in a miniature copper beaker, this hot beverage is the equivalent of a double espresso.
When visiting Istanbul, consider staying at Fraser Place Anthill Istanbul. This brand new luxury serviced apartment is located in the prestigious Anthill premier residential development in the Bomonti district of Istanbul. Our property offers beautiful 360° magnificent views over the Bosphorus Strait, the Blue Mosque and the historic town.
Comprising of 116 luxurious contemporary apartments, we have one, two, three bedroom apartments and four bedroom Penthouses with floor to ceiling windows which will allow you to take in the spectacular unobstructed views over the city skyline. Each of our stunning apartments is fitted with the finest oak wood flooring, fully-fitted open plan kitchen boasting the best in fittings and furnished with beautifully appointed contemporary furniture and state of the art entertainment system.
The Anthill residence complex has an array of shops ranging from Carrefour gourmet for your own convenience, restaurants, a pharmacy, dry cleaning, a hairdresser, a Spa with 12 treatment rooms and one of the largest fitness complex complete with facilities; an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, sauna, Turkish bath, steam rooms, Jacuzzi, an outdoor tennis court, a squash court, an indoor ski slope, a billiard room, and extensive choices of classes, Fraser Place Anthill is the ideal choice for your stay in Istanbul.
Fraser Place Anthill is located in Bomonti, ŞiŞli area of Istanbul.
Nearest Metro stations:
- Osmanbey: 15 minutes walk
- Sisli: 20 minutes walk
A wide selection of public transports is available from Mecidiyekoy to all the main districts.
Istanbul has two international airports:
- Ataturk Airport Yesilkoy: approximately 35 minutes by car
- Sabiha Gokcen Airport: approximately 60 minutes by car
Airport transfers can be arranged upon request.