Frommers Istanbul (Frommers Complete) - 2nd edition

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Istanbul 2nd Edition by Lynn A. Levine 3. When not writing about travel, Lynn is a communications consultant for organizations includ- ing UNICEF, the United Nations Development Program, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, specializing in the development of campaign and cutting-edge strategic communications to create social change. She maintains the travel website www. All rights reserved. Used under license. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Wiley Publishing, Inc. Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats.

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Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic formats. Manufactured in the United States of America 5 4 3 2 1 4. Carpet-Buying Tips. Each has been instrumental in supporting me in my work on this guide and in introducing me to the soul of Turkey.

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Warm thanks also go out to the people and the country of Turkey for exposing me to countless true friendships made during the course of working in Turkey. Special thanks are also in order for Melinda Quintero, my editor, for her astute edits and tireless perfectionism, and for making us both look good. Please tell us about them, so we can share the informa- tion with your fellow travelers in upcoming editions.

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We therefore suggest that you write or call ahead for confirmation when making your travel plans. The authors, editors, and publisher cannot be held responsible for the experiences of readers while traveling. Your safety is important to us, however, so we encourage you to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Keep a close eye on cameras, purses, and wallets, all favorite targets of thieves and pickpockets. In country, state, and regional guides, we also rate towns and regions to help you narrow down your choices and budget your time accordingly. Hotels and restaurants are rated on a scale of zero recom- mended to three stars exceptional.

Attractions, shopping, nightlife, towns, and regions are rated according to the following scale: zero stars recommended , one star highly recom- mended , two stars very highly recommended , and three stars must-see. In addition to the star-rating system, we also use seven feature icons that point you to the great deals, in-the-know advice and unique experiences that separate travelers from tourists. We update features regularly, giving you access to the most current trip-planning information and the best airfare, lodging, and car-rental bargains. You can also listen to podcasts, connect with other Frommers.

Best of Istanbul First-time visitors to Istanbul often leave home with foggy yet pre- conceived notions about this storied and mysterious destination. And while visitors will have their own opinions and ideas on what to look forward to, in Istanbul, they all have a ring of truth. Istanbul, like Turkey, is simultaneously many and often bewilderingly contradictory things: ancient and modern, Western and Oriental, religious and secular, conservative and progressive, wondrous and ordinary, familiar and exotic.

But there is one undeniable common denominator among all of these disparate and contradictory traits: Istanbul is growing more and more interesting by the day. A city that straddles Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a symbol of greatness, coveted his- torically by everyone from Xerxes all the way down the historical dateline through World War I, when Russia was green with envy over the possibilities of what free passage through the Bosphorus Straits could do for its economy.

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The traditions inherited from the past 2, years of history although recent discov- eries backdate the city by thousands of years are most evident in the Old City, known as Old Stamboul or the Historic Peninsula. A stroll through this open-air museum reveals an ancient Roman hippodrome, underground cisterns, and architectural icons, all repre- senting the greatest excesses of the Byzantine Empire and the mystique and power of the Ottoman Empire.

Early Greek civilization left us the building blocks for Rome and Byzantium, which swathed these earlier foundations in rich mosaics and left their mark with monuments such as the Hippodrome and Ayasofya. Across the Golden Horn is the modern heart of the city, custodian of the latter centu- ries of the Ottoman Empire and heir to the future of the country. Over pricey brunches, the residents of the 1 As a complex society in transition, and a microcosm of the tug of war between East and West, Istanbul is still a work in progress.

It is a work of monumental proportions. A good hamam experi- ence includes the proper traditional ambience and a heavy-handed scrub- bing. See p. Bring wet wipes. The pseudo- exotic atmosphere crackles with the electricity of the hunt—but are you the hunter or the hunted? See chapter 9. Floating in the wake of Jason and the Argonauts and Constantine the Great, sit back and enjoy the breezes, the stately wooden manses, the monumental Ottoman domes, and the fortresses that helped win battles.

See chapter 8. Italy Greece Rom. Ukraine Russia Ger. Akdeniz Cad. Yavuz Selim Ca d. Divan Yolu Ordu Cad. Kumbarahane Cad. Ayvansaray Cad. Efendi Cad. Halk C ad.

CumhuriyetCaddesi Dr. Fahri Atabey Cad. Nuh Kuyus u Cad. Demokrasi Square İstiklal Cad. Kennedy Cad. Spor Cad.

Gazi Cad. Demokrasi Square Istiklal Cad. But more than com- merce, tea stops the hands of time in Turkey; it renews the bonds of friends and family. Having tea is inevitable, as is the invitation to share a glass with a total stranger. And whatever it is that you buy, whether you overpay or not, whether your salesman is naughty or nice, I guarantee you will be talking about the experience for years to come. The blue of the mosque actually changes to yellow, orange, and red, depending on the time of day. The sensation is intensified by the low level of filtered light that finds its way in, temporarily blinding you to everything except the source of illumi- nation.

Actu- ally, it was the home of a whole lot of people—up to 5, at a time, all in the service of one man. The sultan sur- rounded himself with the most beauti- ful women in the world. He collected the most precious treasures of the East.

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He assembled the most sacred relics of the Muslim faith under this roof. Six hundred years of Ottoman history lie behind these grand ornamental gates.

Recovered artifacts date back to b. A separate building houses the Museum of the Ancient Orient, exhibiting arti- facts obtained during the course of the Ottoman period. From a rooftop bar in Beyoglu or a nargile cafe on the Galata Bridge okay, not necessarily free , you can watch the monuments light up one by one. If you wait until after sunset, you get to see the sea gulls cir- cling the minarets. Expect regal gardens, a delicious Bosphorus-side pool, big fluffy beds, and flawless ser- vice.

Make sure you splurge for that sea view, or all bets are off. Enough with the bathrooms; the hotel itself is a restored grain alcohol factory. Are the views the bonus, or are the breezes?


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You decide. The rooftop bars and restaurants of Beyoglu take advantage of panoramas that include the Old City, the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn, and everything in between. Check out the bar at Mikla or spring for a meal; p. In the Old City, practically any hotel or restaurant with a rooftop offers multiple best seats in the house. Now, the freebies or almost free.