ONLY BE ISTANBULITE

Only-Be Istanbulite

 Streetside Istanbul Gastronomy

Have you looked at the map? Istanbul straddles two continents. And well, so does its cuisine. Istanbul’s gastronomy is a fusion between the East and the West in a cosmopolitan city where you’ll have access to the most select of restaurants and the most peculiar food stands. What to eat and where to eat it? We’ll tell you in this post.

A Day in Istanbul

A lifetime is not enough to see and enjoy all that Istanbul has to offer. There are many ways to experience this amazing city. And here we tell you all about our take on one such way… Eating Turkish eats are as enjoyable as the Whirling Dervish dances. Start off the day with a Turkish breakfast in any of the typical local establishments of Çelebi Oğlu Sokak. Breakfast is a rite in itself; take the time you need, converse, loose yourself in the flavors of simplicity. You will need many a cup of çay with your bread, menemen, olives, jams, cucumber slices, tomatoes and much, much more. And our favorite: kaymak. At noon you might be tempted to try baklava, and in the evening it will be time for pida, kanat or kokoreç. Seeing Use your eyes to discover the small and great wonders that abound around each corner. The city still harbors many well-kept secrets, protected from the masses of tourists. Watch its people. Istanbul’s best sight is the people that live there. The hands of its women are always well manicured; the lips of its men are perpetually ready to hold a cigarette during a game of tavla. Fruit takes on new colors, and pomegranates were never so red. Sunsets have never been as poetic as they are in Istanbul, and we can see you’ve already caught up with us: whenever you set your eyes on the horizon, there is always a mosque in sight. Shopping Istanbul is an endless marketplace. And we are not referring to the Grand Bazaar, which has been reduced to little more...

The Turkish Riviera: Enjoying the pleasant Mediterranean weather

Have you ever been to Turkey? Yeah, I know. You probably have visited the famous Blue Mosque, taken a cruise on the Bosphorus, dined at Galata Tower, gone shopping in the grand Bazaar and visited the Hagia Sophia. But if you´ve only visited the beautiful Istanbul you´ve seen just a small part of a country full of paradises. For those travelers hungry for new adventures in exotic places, we present you the Turkish Riviera. Photo: yilmaz ovunc Located in the Southwest region of the country, the Turquoise Coast as it is also called, includes Mugla and Antalya, as well as some parts of Izmir and Aydın. This beautiful region has countless archaeological and cultural treasures that added to its pleasant Mediterranean weather make the perfect place for your next summer holiday. Over a thousand kilometers of beach in front of two of the most beautiful seas in the world: the Mediterranean and the Aegean, the Turkish Riviera is a very popular tourist destination, that opens Turkey’s doors to the world. The Turkish Riviera has been blessed to have, among its many attractions, two of the seven wonders of the ancient world: the Temple of Artemis and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Because of its peculiar ancestral character, its cosmopolitan environment and its proximity to the Taurus Mountains, Antalya is one of the most important tourist attractions of the Turkish Riviera. Its white-sand beaches, crystal clear waters, green mountains and a relaxed atmosphere are just some of the reasons why this city is the most preferred tourist destination in the region. Marmaris is a natural harbor, which has everything you´d expect to...

Vacationing with Kids in Instanbul

The city formerly known as Constantinople, in Turkey, was a bridge between Europe and Asia. Today it’s a perfect destination for traveling with children. In fact, I’ve already discussed three museums that are great with kids, so you are pretty much guaranteed a good time when you visit this part of the world. In addition to the toy, miniature and naval museums, I have 5 more ideas for you today. Get ready! Tram Ride You should take a ride on one of the trams painted in a striking red color in the style of the 1900s. The kids will have a great time, especially if you use it to visit the Grand Bazaar. A fun experience is guaranteed, and your child will be delighted if a local passenger hangs onto the outside like they used to everywhere before doing so was banned in the EU countries. Istiklal Caddesi is the best stretch. Princes´ Islands These are a chain of islands located on which traffic is restricted. The local population uses horse-drawn carriage or horses to travel around the open roads surrounded by nature. An afternoon or morning running freely around here will help calm a nervous child. Rahmi M Koç Museum Located in a nineteenth-century industrial building in the Golden Horn, the building is worth a visit in and of itself. They have a magnificent permanent exhibition with vintage cars and recreational activities designed for children. Your children can pretend to be an airline pilot behind the controls in the cockpit, or experience of being in a submarine and other wonders of science. It also houses restaurants offering local...

The Yalis of Istanbul

Today we travel to Turkey to discover one of the hidden treasures of the Bosphorus. These are Yalis, which you might not be familiar with yet. Keep reading and you will be certain never to forget.   The Yalis are ostentatious mansions that dot the entire shore of the Bosphorus. Although they are well-known and popular throughout the region, they often go unnoticed by many tourists who visit Istanbul. The word Yali has its origin in ancient Greek and means “by the sea, on the beach.” The Turks adopted the word and it now applies to these houses. There are hundreds of these spectacular constructions but they can only be seen if you take a boat ride. They are four centuries old, from the time when the Ottoman Empire dazzled the world. Since that time they have continued to build spectacular mansions. Even the oldest has undergone several renovations, which allows us to continue to be impressed by its beauty. The Yalis on the Bosphorus were usually second homes; they were typical summer homes for the city’s wealthy patrons. They were intended to be a reflection of the family’s social position, so there was fierce competition between neighbors about who had the most luxurious and beautiful Yalis in the area. Currently, more than 600 Yalis are being maintained, although not all are in perfect condition. The structures are made of wood, and the passage of time has reaked havoc on some of them. However, most still reflect the splendor that was once the pride of their owners. Having been modernized, especially in the interior, they have adapted to changing...

Kizil Adalar – Prince’s Islands in Istanbul

If you’re planning a visit to Istanbul, make sure you set aside a day to tour the Prince’s Islands. Far from the bustle of the hectic city life, the Prince’s Islands offer a unique glimpse into the past, complete with carriage tours on carless roads. Once a place of exile, the islands are now a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. While only four of the nine islands are accessible to the public, they are absolutely worth a day trip, as the experience is truly unforgettable. The first thing you’ll notice on arrival is the pervading silence. Motor vehicles are not allowed on the island, so the only sounds you’ll hear are horses’ hooves, carriage wheels and bicycle bells. A visit to the islands is like taking a step back in time, as you’ll find yourself passing stretches of ancient Victorian cottages and swathes of untouched forestland. Getting There Obviously, getting out to the islands takes a little doing. Fortunately though, there are regular ferries operated by IDO. You can either take a regular ferry, or if you’re in a hurry, hop on a “sea bus” to get there and back quickly. The regular ferries sail out from Kabatas at regular intervals. The trip can take nearly two hours if the ferry stops at all of the islands. The sea buses are somewhat faster, and the full trip can be completed in under an hour. These fast ferries also depart from Kabatas. Just be aware that the ferry timetables change according to season, so make sure you get a current schedule before setting out on your day trip....

Galata Tower in Istanbul

The Galata Tower is one of the world´s oldest towers. It was built under the rule of Emperor Anastasius in 507. At first it was built of wood,  to control access to the city from “The Golden Horn”. The one that stands today is not the original, which was a few hundred meters from the present site. The current Galata Tower was built in 1348 to substitute the place of the old tower, destroyed during the Fourth Crusade in 1204. Its construction was ordered during the expansion of the Genoese citadel of Galata, and although its erected in a different place, it became the highest point of the city and an essential bulwark for the defense of the city. Its original name was Christea Turris, and was used as a surveillance platform to prevent attacks on the city during the Ottoman Empire, when it was partially renovated to function as an object of defense.  Later, in the fifteenth century, it was used as a prison and later it resumed its role as a watchtower. As a curiosity, we must remember that the first ever flight was made from this iconic tower. The Turkish Ahmet Çelebi Hezarfen managed to make that first air trip, thanks to a complex mechanism of wood and cloth, in about 1630. His flight departed from the Galata Tower and reached the hills of Üsküdar. In the 1960s the tower underwent a complete renovation, which replaced the original interior of wood with concrete to prepared to be open to the public. they built a cafe and a restaurant at the top and became one of the...

Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hammam in Istanbul

Istanbul is a truly amazing city. It´s not the Turkish capital and yet it´s its biggest city. Turkey is a bridge country, a nexus between two cultures and the city of Istanbul is the exact spot where this connection between Europe and Asia exposes itself most clearly. It´s the third most populated city in Europe and it guards the beauty and mystery that it has held for so many years throughout history, since Istanbul was the ancient city of Constantinople. If we go on holiday to Istanbul, we will have never-ending walks to see museums and incredible places: the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Camii), the Mosaic Museum, the Grand Bazaar, etc. However, one of the most exceptional places in Istanbul is the Turkish bath known as Ayasofya Hurren Sultan Hammam. We´re talking about unique baths in the world of incomparable beauty that we can find between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The Turkish baths in Istanbul stopped being used from 1910 onwards. In fact, they were used as prisons and also warehouses for different materials such as paper or gasoline. However, between 1957 and 1958, an important restoration of these was carried out but it wasn´t until 2008 when a large-scale restoration took place to bring back the splendor of the sultan era to them so that the public could enjoy them. One of the most important aspects of the renovation was that now they weren´t separated by gender. This means that they are all under the same roof and it´s a huge change that has not also been adapted for tourists but has also been an...

Istanbul with Kids: 3 Museums to visit with the entire family

Istanbul is an ideal holiday destination for the entire family, including young children. If you come from a Western culture, the Turkish capital will offer the youngest members of the family a different view of the world in a civilized and controllable atmosphere; plus there you’ll have access to all the services and facilities you can find in Europe. Well, here are three museums you can’t miss when visiting Istanbul with your children: Miniaturk Museum, Toy Museum and Naval Museum. Whether with children or not, in these museums you’ll have lots of fun! Istanbul Naval Museum The Istanbul Naval Museum is perhaps one of the oldest of its kind. It was created in the late nineteenth century at the same time that the first observation and scientific societies were born. Although, in the beginning, it was a simple place to store various objects related to the Turkish marine, today it is one of the best museums in Istanbul. The quality and quantity of exhibits, that ranges from Ottoman art, maritime pieces, miniature ships and original pieces from real ships, etc, is simply undeniable. For further information, click on the following link: http://www.denizmuzeleri.tsk.tr/en/. Toy Museum in Istanbul If the Naval Museum wasn’t enough, children will have a blast in the Istanbul Toy Museum, which is housed in a mansion that belongs to the poet Sunay Akin (born 1962) and located in an area away from the bustle of the city. It is across the Strait. It opened in 2005 and over 4,000 toys of all kinds are hosted here. Some of them are curious and hard to find because of...

The best baklava in Istanbul

The baklava is a typical Eastern Mediterranean sweet. It´s origin is unclear, as some say that it´s Turkish, others consider it Greek and some even consider it Chinese. In any case, it´s a delicious dessert that I highly recommend that you try. The baklava has its origin in the old Mesopotamia, modern day Turkey, even though they believe that the Assyrians in the 7th century BC were the first ones to make such a sweet. In the old days, it was made in wood ovens. In the 19th century, it was considered a dessert for the high classes due to its aphrodisiac qualities. Greek merchants exported the recipe to Athens after their delight at having learned about this delicious sweet, and they adapted it to their recipes, improving the texture of the dough. It´s also considered a Chinese sweet due to the Mongol origin of the word. In 1330, it appears in a Chinese recipe book of the Yuan Dynasty. The original baklava is Turkish, and it´s made from a dough of crushed walnuts bathed in honey or syrup with sesame seeds or pistachios. However, the Greek version is filo pastry filled with walnuts and bathed in honey. Here´s a recipe in case you fancy trying it out: First you will need a few filo pastry layers. You then brush them with melted butter between layer and layer and add the crushed walnuts until you get as many layers as you wish, although the required 33 might be a bit hard for a novice. You cut the dough in same-size triangles and you moisten it with water before baking it...