To the world of cultures blended by history, and beauty intersecting in the strait – Part 2
Visit iconic places in Istanbul’s history
The exotic atmosphere encourages you to go out to the city at once. First, to the historic district of the Old City, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Sultanahmet Mosque (commonly known as the Blue Mosque), with its six minarets which you can see from the boat, greets us with its elegant appearance. The interior is lined with blue-tinted isonic tiles; the intricate beauty is breathtaking. Across the street is the Hagia Sophia Museum, regarded as a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. The museum was used as a Christian cathedral until the 15th century, and in the Ottoman Empire it was used as a mosque. It traces the unique history of renovation and is now a rare museum that brings together the beauty of two religions. Istanbul is a city that lives up to its reputation as “a city that tells its history”.
With its harmonious, graceful and magnificent appearance, the number of Blue Mosque minarets is said to indicate the authority of the emperor, but the six minarets are the only ones in Istanbul.
The interior of the mosque, with large and small domes at the center, is a large open space. The walls and ceiling are decorated with mosaics and stained glass, and you can feel why it is said to be the most beautiful place in the world.
The view of the Bosphorus from the Galata Tower, which overlooks the city, is even more impressive with its cultural gradations. You can feel the romance of history in this city.
A huge, vibrant bazaar where things come from all over the world.
In an exotic atmosphere, the desire for things is always at the fore! The next stop is the Grand Bazaar, also in the old town. You will be thrilled to see the colorful and traditional goods in the huge market with about 4,000 shops. I’ll buy this for that person… and of course something for myself… feeling like you are searching for treasure, you walk around the market until you can sense a delicious smell coming from somewhere. It is the smell of a wide variety of street food! One of the world’s three major cuisines, Turkish food is characterized by a rich flavor that draws on recipes and spices from all over the world, and it’s full of intriguing items, from the kebabs famliar in many countries around the world, to snacks you can enjoy while walking around. Have a taste of the flavours with excitement and you will really feel that you are on a journey!
Börek are Turkish-style pies, with a thin baked flour dough and filled with various ingredients. The rhythmic movement of the cook’s hands will grab your attention.
A kebab shop where big chunks of meat are whirled around and shaved with an expert hand. The taste of the real thing is from a different world.
The famous mackerel sandwich, a baguette filled with charcoal-grilled mackerel, tomatoes and onions. Sprinkle with lemon and salt to your liking for a simple yet flavorful taste.
The journeys of sailors past overlaps with your own
Istanbul is a city full of things to see and do. It’s tempting to rush around the city, but it would be a shame to just gaze at its historical heritage. For example, if you go to a Chaihane (Turkish coffee shop) crowded with locals, you can sip a cup of their famous chai and watch the people walking by. This will make you feel a step even closer to the city, by sitting down and soaking up the foreign landscape. Still, time is limited, so you return with some regret to the ship, this time to gaze out upon the city from the sea. The city is lit at dusk, and the outlines of palaces and mosques on the water’s edge are magical. Surrounded by a comfortable night breeze, we continue our journey to the next port by crossing the intersection of east and west, just as many sailors have done in the past, connecting the seas to the next.