An Aftertaste of Istanbul

78 comments
Europe, Turkey
The Glorious Blue Mosque

The Glorious Blue Mosque

We were standing under Galata Tower, a 14th century gem perched on the hill of Beyoğlu, a district in the European side of Istanbul. South we headed, where an even more ancient landmark emerged from afar, on top on Seraglio Point. Hagia Sophia, once the largest cathedral in the world, prominently overlooked the city with another great monument standing to the west – the Blue Mosque.

We ventured back across the Golden Horn, through Galata Bridge, to get to the lavishly decorated and almost fairytale-esque Dolmabahçe Palace where the world’s biggest and heaviest chandelier embellished the Grand Ceremonial Hall.

Across the fabled Bosphorus, the more down-to-earth neighborhood of Üsküdar provided the tranquility we needed from the constant bustle of the city’s European districts. The Maiden’s Tower sat elegantly at the end of the narrow strait before it opened up into the Sea of Marmara. Nearby, a small billboard depicted the Marmaray, a mega-project to better connect the European and Asian sides of Istanbul through the world’s deepest immersed tube tunnel.

Everywhere we went, Istanbul seemed to keep proving itself as a city of superlatives and contradictions.

* * *

Ten months have passed since that wonderful trip to Istanbul in winter. Some treasured memories remain while others have started to fade. But in the past week so many things have reminded me of Turkey. From the pictures a friend of mine uploaded on Facebook from his trip to Cappadoccia, to a comment from a Turkish blogger mentioning the  exotic corners of his country, to the documentary I watched on the giant heads of Mount Nemrut in Turkey’s southeast.

All of this prompted me to sift once more through my photos of Istanbul – that magical, ancient crossroads – and share these pictures that have previously gone unpublished.

Commuters in Front of Yeni Camii, One of the Many Mosques in This Secular City

Commuters in Front of Yeni Camii, One of the Many Mosques in This Secular City

Throngs of Seafood Restaurants under Galata Bridge with Some of the Most Persistent Staff Ever

Throngs of Seafood Restaurants under Galata Bridge with Some of the Most Persistent Staff Ever

A Bank Office, Beyoğlu

A Bank Office, Beyoğlu

Walking Up the Neighborhood, Beyoğlu

Walking Up the Neighborhood, Beyoğlu

An Inscription Written in Arabic, Galata Tower

An Inscription Written in Arabic, Galata Tower

The Ever-present Evil Eye

The Ever-present Evil Eye

The Blue Mosque, Taken from the Back Alleys

The Blue Mosque, Taken from the Back Alleys

The Ornate Gate of the Blue Mosque

The Ornate Gate of the Blue Mosque

The Charming Neighborhood of Sultanahmet

The Charming Neighborhood of Sultanahmet

Looking Into the Vast and Rugged Plains of Anatolia

Looking Into the Vast and Rugged Plains of Anatolia

Dolmabahçe Mosque on the Ground of Ottoman's Last Palace

Dolmabahçe Mosque on the Ground of Ottoman’s Last Palace

The Adorable Cats of Istanbul...

The Adorable Cats of Istanbul…

...and A Lonely Dog Who Kept Following Us in Üsküdar

…and A Lonely Dog Who Kept Following Us in Üsküdar

Busy Pigeons at Eminönü

Busy Pigeons at Eminönü

Left: Locals Hanging Out at the Shore of Üsküdar; Right: Galata Tower at Night

Left: Locals Hanging Out at the Shore of Üsküdar; Right: Galata Tower at Night

Sunset at Sultanahmet

Sunset at Sultanahmet

Commuters inside the Historic Tram at İstiklal Avenue

Commuters inside the Historic Tram at İstiklal Avenue

An Alley Dotted with Open-Air Restaurants and Fresh Produce Vendors

An Alley Dotted with Open-Air Restaurants and Fresh Produce Vendors

Phases of Life as Depicted in A Beautiful Rug from the Heart of Anatolia

Phases of Life as Depicted in A Beautiful Rug from the Heart of Anatolia

Posted by

Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.

78 thoughts on “An Aftertaste of Istanbul”

    • Thanks Aggy! Well, I published better pictures of the city in my posts earlier this year. But I couldn’t resist myself from looking up my collections again and share some more to my readers, including you! 🙂 You should go there. Chances are…it won’t disappoint.

      Like

  1. Bama, thanks for sharing more snapshots from your January trip. My favourites are the scenes of daily life including the friendly dog and cats. Istanbul looks like such a lovely place in winter – just imagine how beautiful it would be covered in snow!

    Like

    • My pleasure James! The cats and dogs in Istanbul were some of the friendliest and fluffiest that I’ve ever met. I still think that you would enjoy Istanbul as much as I did. It must be even more magical to see the city covered in snow!

      Like

    • I’m glad you decided so, because it is one of those cities that you have to visit at least once. 🙂 Thanks Rif & Imaan!

      Like

  2. The sunset shot is my pick from your marvelous gallery Bama. I know how hard it is to get Istanbul out of your mind 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks Madhu! It is really hard, indeed. 🙂 What fascinated me (and still does) the most is the rich history of the city itself.

      Like

  3. I had sweet memories there, at Topkapi Palace (but I didn’t see the picture here 😦 )…I love their apple tea, hallawa, dried apricot,pistachios…I love Istanbul.

    Like

    • Thanks Andrea! It was indeed an amazing trip. I think it’s easy to fall in love with the city. The history, the marvelous ancient buildings, the colorful bazaars, the food, the people…everything. 🙂

      Like

  4. Ah, Bama – beautiful captures of some of the many moods of this incredible city – takes me back – how I loved that city and delighted in every moment we had there, living in our van in the carpark of the Blue Mosque, shopping in the bazaar, wandering the neighbourhoods.

    Like

    • Thanks Meredith! Wow, you stayed in a van? How adventurous you were! 🙂 I’m not surprised to see why many people loved their visit to the city. It is truly a wonderful place to be…getting lost in the bazaars, being amazed by the grand architectural designs, indulging in the food. I would go back in a heartbeat!

      Like

    • 🙂 Don’t be! You will get there sooner than later. Plus, Indonesian citizens do not need to arrange a visa in advance to visit the country.

      Like

    • My pleasure Emily! My visit to Istanbul was even more memorable than Shamian Island. However, I can say you’re very lucky to be able to live in such exotic places! 🙂

      Like

  5. Beautiful! Because of difficult circumstances, the only time me and my boyfriend can be together is during the summers in turkey. This took me back to all these amazing places where we always go to sit and watch everything happening around us. Thank you for the lovely moment you just gave me:) great photographs btw!

    Like

    • Thank you! I’m glad this post brings back some good memories to you. There are still more on Turkey, just look up all my posts under ‘Turkey’. I guess it would be amazing to be in the country during summer when the weather and sky are nice. Wish you more great time with your boyfriend!

      Like

    • Thanks Marisol! Apparently everyone who has been to Istanbul has some great memories of the city. It is truly one of those cities everyone needs to visit at least once.

      Like

  6. mjstachniuk says:

    Love Istanbul, Turkish people are amazing, ve spent there one week or so. Best place in Istanbul? Galata Tower during Ramadan!!!

    Like

    • Wow, I can imagine how wonderful it must be standing on the porch of the tower during Ramadan and looking at people below, preparing for breaking the fast. Is that what you saw? Btw, I love the header photo on your blog! Salar de Uyuni, I suppose?

      Like

      • mjstachniuk says:

        Yeah Solar de Uyuni..about Galata…square was full of people..drinking and eating… and all the suden police has arrived, thay said that the gathering is illegal and we have to go home, bla bla…an hour later they forced us to leave..so interesting

        Like

      • Was it illegal because it’s Ramadan? If so, I never thought it would happen in a secular country like Turkey. Anyway, when I was on Galata Tower the wind blew really strongly with these snowflakes hitting my face. It was an interesting experience though.

        Like

      • mjstachniuk says:

        My turhish friends said it was first time, people were drinking beer, but everything was peaceful, anyway,this part of the city is amazing, just love it

        Like

  7. I just want to let you know that I love what you’ve done with your blog! I have wanted to visit Turkey for many years now and after what I read I want to go even more now! I also write a travel blog and I would love for you to check it out! 🙂 It’s dairi100.wordpress.com
    Thank you and keep up the great blog posts!

    Like

    • Thank you! I’ve only been to Istanbul and I would go back to Turkey in a heartbeat. There are so many wonderful places in the country, waiting to be explored.

      Like

  8. Pingback: An Aftertaste of Istanbul | TRAVEL

    • My pleasure! 🙂 Istanbul is a beautiful city, and I’m glad more and more people are putting it on their wishlists.

      Like

  9. yj557 says:

    What an amazing place! I grew up in the Northwest part of China where many Muslim minorities live there. People there have similar culture background as people in Istanbul. Love their Grand Bazaar! I will definitely visit this cultural hub of the historical Silk Road in the future~

    Like

    • Thanks for visiting my blog! It’s really nice to know another blogger who grew up in that particular part of China where many Turkic people live. I imagine how much similar the culture is with that of Turkey’s or even Indonesia’s.

      Like

  10. Lovely photos, I am currently living in Istanbul… still need to see everything, I love it here though, although the hectic way of life took some getting used to!

    Like

    • Thanks! When I was there last January one of my friends asked me if I thought I could live in Istanbul, because he said for him Istanbul is a nice city to explore but he wasn’t so sure about living there. But for me all the historical sites can make a good reason for actually living in the city. 🙂

      Like

  11. Wow, these pictures are absolutely beautiful! I hope to get the chance to explore Turkey soon… I’m determined to go even if another riot in Gezi Park breaks out. Thank you for the post 🙂

    Like

    • My pleasure, Michelle! Istanbul is a very big city and if riots do break out in Gezi Park again, there are still a lot of places to visit in the city: You can go to the Asian side, or go west to see Chora Church, or just stroll around the Golden Horn. Wish you have a great time in Turkey soon! 🙂

      Like

  12. Istanbul is on my list for this summer! So excited about the many adventures to have in such a historic city! I loved your pictures, this was a great read! Thanks!

    Like

    • Hope you have a lot of fun in Istanbul, Kels! It’s such a great city for those who love history, architecture and culinary adventure. I spent about a week there and it was far from enough. I won’t be surprised if you ended up wanting to go back in the future. Istanbul does that! 🙂 Thanks for your kind words as well!

      Like

    • Thanks Timothy! Just now I was thinking of other places in Turkey which I have yet to explore. It’s such a fascinating country!

      Like

  13. Istanbul is a great place. Loved the Topkapi Palace – the museum holds such overwhelmingly impressive treasures… the huge diamonds, the apple-size emeralds…
    I’m sorry for lonely dogs – they are often hurt souls and some of them are very intelligent.

    Like

    • Oh I couldn’t agree more with you. With such a long history dotted with Byzantine and Ottoman heritage buildings, Istanbul truly is a magnificent city. It’s sad to see how bad some people treat dogs, they deserve better treatment, really.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s