In Photos: Istanbul, A Melting Pot of Cultures.

The Grand market, Istanbul

“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. 

Sultanahmet mosque, Istanbul

Another one of the ubiquitous chirpy street vendors selling boiled corn and roasted chestnuts

Street Vendor selling chestnuts, Istanbul Old town

 

The historic red and white ‘Taksim tunel’. This heritage tram runs down the pedestrian-only Istiklal Caddesi in Taksim.

Taksim Tunel, Istanbul
Taksim Tunel, Istanbul

 

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.

Kapali Carsi or the Grand market.

Its obligatory to have cups and cups of Turkish tea as you move from one stall to the other.

Istanbul's flavourful varieties of tea

Compare prices and try your hand at the art of bargaining while you listen to all the stories they have to share. 

Bargaining at the Grand market in Istanbul

Numerous varieties of tea, spices and sweets on the offer.

Tea, spices and sweets at the Grand Market in Istanbul

A lady making bread from fresh dough at a local restaurant in the old city.

Lady making bread from fresh dough

Food to live for!

Delicious Turkish food!

 A young boy sits and observes a bunch of young men pray at Zuhr, the prayer time immediately after noon.

Young boy outside Sultanahmet mosque, Istanbul

The nutty and syrupy pastry dessert of Baklava with a strong, thick cup of Turkish coffee. The perfect balance of sweet and bitter.

Baklava and Turkish coffee outside Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Lessons in history at the Hagia Sofia. Read more here.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

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.

Whirling Dervish, Istanbul

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.

Kumpir, street food in Istanbul

Istanbul’s Bosphorus-side village of Ortaköy

Ortaköy, Istanbul

The gorgeous view from Galata tower just after the sun set on Istanbul.

View from Galata Tower, Istanbul

Whats your favourite thing about Istanbul?

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