Wednesday, April 21, 2010

TURKEY - ISTANBUL: TOPKAPI AND GRAND BAZAAR


After nine days in Turkey, six of them in Istanbul, I must admit that Istanbul has surprised me. Istanbul is a really lively and warm city with an special charm. There are always a lot of people walking along its streets, which made me feel quite comfortable.

And the other 3 days we visited Cappadocia, a region of central Anatolia, where nature has created really amazing shapes. It's really worth walking between this strange shapes and enjoying the other secrets this region hides.

Our second day in Istanbul after our trip to Cappadocia began with an exhaustive visit to Topkapi Palace and the Harem. We spent four hours in this visit, but It was really worthy. Topkapi is truly huge and was built around four gardens. After this visit we did our first incursion in the Grand Bazaar and we finished our day with a really interesting ceremony of Whirling Derviches.


Entrance to the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul through the Gate of Salutations


Visits of the day:

  • Topkapi (and the Harem) *
  • Sogukçesme Sokagi
  • Grand Bazaar *
  • Ceremony of Whirling Derviches *

* Strongly recommended



Topkapi

A more imposing view of the Gate of Salutations of Topkapi


The divan, where the viziers of the imperial council met, sometimes watched covertly by the sultan through the upper window


Harem

The Courtyard of the Eunuchs in the Harem of Topkapi, who were who take care of the concubines


Hall of mirrors inside the Harem of Topkapi


A Marble bath in the Harem


Imperial Hall with the throne of the sultan and served as the official reception hall of the sultan as well as for the entertainment of the Harem


The Courtyard of the Favourites forms the last section of the Harem of Topkapi


Return to Topkapi


The Audience Chamber is one of the buildings of Topkapi I like the most


Flowers are very common in Topkapi gardens and give a colourful look really nice


This is the result of the picture I was taking when the previous picture was taken


Overall view of one garden of Topkapi


Interior of the Circumcision Room


Baghdad Pavilion was built in 1639 to celebrate the capture of Baghdad


From Iftariye Pavilion, standing between the Baghdad and Circumcision pavilions, this balcony provides great views down to the Golden Horn

A fountain in front of the Circumcision Pavilion


View of Süleymaniye mosque from Topkapi Palace


The Tower of Justice in Topkapi is located between the Imperial Council and the Harem. The tower is several stories high and the tallest structure in the palace, making it clearly visible from the Bosphorus as a landmark


The labyrinth of exquisite rooms of the Harem are under this chimneys


Haghia Eirene with Hagyia Sophia in the background are two Byzantine treasures of Istanbul. The first one, inside the walls of Topkapi

Cats are very common in Istanbul, and this coutyard of Topkapi couldn't be an exception


Sogukçesme Sokagi


Traditional, charming and painted wooden houses line this narrow, sloping and cobbled street next to the rear wall of Haghia Sophia. This houses were built from the late 18th century onwards


Taksim Square

Taksim square, with a huge turkish flag in the middle, is a communications hub of Istanbul with buses to the two airports and the Tünel


Aqueduct of Valens



This byzantine double-tiered aqueduct is quite well preserved


Grand Bazaar

One of the entrances of the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul


Inside the Grand Bazaar there are flags in every street


One of the typical shops of the Grand Bazaar. Sellers can speak in several languages. They learn them listen to the buyers


Ceremony of Whirling Derviches







Cliking on the next link, beautiful pictures of the Bosphorus and Ortaköy during our next day in Istanbul.


You can see more pictures of these days I spent in Istanbul and Cappadocia clicking on the links below:


First day in Istanbul
- Third day in Istanbul


Finally, other great cities I have already visited are:

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