“If one had but a glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul”
I couldn’t agree more with the French writer. With its colourful markets, hearty and tirelessly humorous locals, the enchanting echo of the muezzin calling to prayer from the minaret, the endless layers of history that unfold in every street and a cuisine as diverse as its culture, it has to be the most vibrant city I have ever been to.
Here’s a glimpse of this melting pot of cultures, through my lens:
Dominating the stunning skyline with its domes and slender minarets, is the Sultanahmet mosque, or the Blue mosque as it is more popularly known. The blue tiles in the interior give it its unofficial name. It stands in front of the grand Hagia Sophia and echoes its architecture.
Another one of the ubiquitous chirpy street vendors selling boiled corn and roasted chestnuts
The historic red and white ‘Taksim tunel’. This heritage tram runs down the pedestrian-only Istiklal Caddesi in Taksim.
The Kapali Carsi or the Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Its construction began in 1455 shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. The colourful and chaotic bazaar has been the heart of Istanbul’s old city for centuries.
Its obligatory to have cups and cups of Turkish tea as you move from one stall to the other.
Compare prices and try your hand at the art of bargaining while you listen to all the stories they have to share.
Numerous varieties of tea, spices and sweets on the offer.
A lady making bread from fresh dough at a local restaurant in the old city.
Food to live for!
A young boy sits and observes a bunch of young men pray at Zuhr, the prayer time immediately after noon.
The nutty and syrupy pastry dessert of Baklava with a strong, thick cup of Turkish coffee. The perfect balance of sweet and bitter.
A taste of age old Turkish culture. A whirling dervish performing the Sema which is a state of active meditation aimed to reach the source of all perfection. This is sought through abandoning one’s egos or personal desires, by listening to the music, focusing on God, and spinning one’s body in repetitive circles, seen as a symbolic imitation of planets in the solar system orbiting the sun.
A street food icon in Istanbul, the Kumpir. Potato which is usually rendered a side dish takes center stage with this dish which is basically your choice of fillings and sauces in a baked potato. Love it or hate it, you have to try it if you’re in Istanbul.
Istanbul’s Bosphorus-side village of Ortaköy
The gorgeous view from Galata tower just after the sun set on Istanbul.
Whats your favourite thing about Istanbul?