One Way to do Istanbul – An Alternative Way

Our last visit to Istanbul included an overnight stay and a full second day. I recently reviewed what we did for entertainment in the evening at …

Having an extended second day offered the opportunity for me to re-visit an historic site that time had precluded a more in-depth look-at the previous day. It also had the added attraction of allowing myself an indulgence in a Turkish Bath,  prior to meeting with my wife for lunch, and then together heading off to discover another area of Istanbul.

So once again I crossed the Galata Bridge heading for the Gulhane area which is adjacent the Hagia Sophia Mosque. I preferred to take the walk over the Galata Bridge and was rewarded with  a good view of the cruise terminal and the hustle and bustle of the Golden Horn ferries…


I was heading for two Mausoleums.  The first, a collection of 5 separate Mausoleums,  is an annexe to Hagia Sophia Mosque and is often missed by the throngs of tourists more interested in heading towards the Topkapi Palace.

It occupies an old baptistery that, following the collapse of Istanbul, was used as an oil store for the mosque’s lamps. In 1639 it was converted to a mausoleum following the death of Sultan Mustapha.

Admission to the annex and the five mausoleums is free and an hour would certainly keep the visitor fully occupied…






The second mausoleum on my visit list was that of Sultan Mahmud II and it dominates the site of an old Ottoman Cemetery , some 30 minutes walk from the Sophia Hagia Mosque – just follow the tramlines to Cemberlitas



…and the Sultan Mahmut II Mausoleum



Mission accomplished as far as the mausoleums were concerned it was only a 5 minute walk to the Cemberlitas Turkish Bath. One of the two most famous Turkish baths in Istanbul, one could easily pass the entrance if the visitor was unaware of its location….



…it is actually directly opposite the Cemberlitas tram stop and Constantine’s Column.

The Cemberlitas Turkish Bath dates from 1584 …

and caters for both sexes. Indeed, on the morning of my visit a rather large group of Japanese females were entering ahead of me.

Some idea of the prices…


…and this, unfortunately, is as far as the camera goes…



Two hours later, and feeling both suitably refreshed and invigorated,  I took  the tram back to the Tophane (cruise Terminal) stop, collected my wife and  set off on foot to walk the short distance, though rather steep gradient, to Taksim Square, on the border of the Galatasary and Taksim districts…



Taksim Square,  situated in the European part of Istanbul,  is both a major tourist and leisure district famed for its restaurants, shops, and hotels and as can be seen from the above photograph, the site of the Monument of the Turkish Republic. Readers may also recall that Taksim Square does on occasions become the centre of anti-government protest.

From Taksim Square we took the Istanbul Metro in order that I could visit the Turk Telekom Arena…

…the new home of Galatasary Football Club  where I took the opportunity to add one other ‘shirt’ to my collection…




One amazing stadium and, for a football supporter, well worth the visit.

So back to Taksim Square and a planned walk along Istiklal Caddasi….İstiklal_Avenue




Istiklal Avenue is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul and said to be visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day over the course of weekends and runs directly off Taksim Square where also can be found a touch of history near the Taksim Square entrance  – an Ottoman water reservoir …

…dating from 1832.

Some 1.4 kilometers long, Istiklal Avenue houses theatres, shops, restaurants, cafes, art galleries and all sorts of night time entertainment venues.


…while having some buzzy and quirky streets leading off it…



Having walked the length of Istiklal Caddasi we started our descent back to the ship, passing another ancient gem on this side of the Golden Horn, the Galatasary Hammam, originally built in 1481..





This was for me a walk down memory lane: I had visited this particular hamami while on a shore side holiday to Istanbul in 2000.

Though we had covered considerable ground there were two more places of historic interest that we wished to see. Firstly, before we fully descended, was too visit the Galata Tower…


A medieval stone tower, built as Christea Turris (Tower of Christ), in the Karaoke district, in 1348  – during an expansion of the Genoese colony in what was then Constantinople: at the time it was the tallest building in Istanbul at 219.5 ft (66.9 m)

It dominates the skyline and offers a panoramic vista of Istanbul’s historic peninsula and affords an excellent view over the Galata Bridge…

For our final stir this side of the water we headed on a short tram ride to  the Dolmabahçe Palace…

…which dominates the Bosphorus waterfront.

Our visit to Dolmabahçe Palace was a little over ambitious and in future we would have allocated considerable more time.

The grounds themselves would take up a fair amount of time particularly to take in sights such as the Dolmabahçe Clocktower…

…and the Palace Harem…

Definitely a visit target for another day.

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2 responses to “One Way to do Istanbul – An Alternative Way

  1. Great information .I have only been on a rainy day ..hope to do a stop over one day ..Istanbul is fascinating and your blog bring it to life

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