Welcome to Istanbul and Cappadocia

Welcome to Istanbul and Cappadocia

Welcome to Turkey

Traveling is one of life’s great pleasures and everyone should experience it. Especially when we talk about traveling to Turkey, where you will find many things to do. Turkey is so rich with culture from old world structures, to some of the oldest customs in the world. When you travel to Turkey there are certain parts where you feel as if you're traveling back in time. Like going to Cappadocia, Antalya or Izmir. Each of these locations will give you something to remember Turkey by, but not quite like Istanbul.

Istanbul, Turkey

What is there to do in Istanbul?

Camondo Stairs

A gorgeous, Gaudí-esque stairway constructed in the city of Istanbul by a prominent Jewish family.
The iconic Camondo (or Kamondo) staircase was built in the late 19th century – sponsored by the Jewish Camondo family, who were leading bankers during the Ottoman period. It provides a convenient route for climbing from Bankalar Caddesi (Bank Street) in Karakoy to the Galata Tower, the daily route between home and the workplace for the Camondos. It is also said that it was built for the children of the Camondo family.
 
This staircase is built in the Art Noveau style and is said to resemble a flowing river. 

Grand Bazaar

It has 66 streets and over 4000 shops, the Grand Bazaar is the biggest covered bazaar in the world. There are different sections for items including gold, silver, leather and carpets. It’s easy to get lost and often almost impossible to find what you’re looking for, so go with a Grand Bazaar guide, or pick up a map of Grand Bazaar to make the most of it.

Valens Aqueduct

We all know an aqueduct is a structure for constant supply of water into a city and its people. They consist of underground water channels, water pipes, tunnels, and aqueduct bridges. In 330 CE, Constantine I (Constantine the Great) declared Constantinople as the new capital of the Roman Empire. Subsequently, the city’s population increased dramatically and the main need of the inhabitants was water.
 
Standing inside the historical peninsula of Istanbul, Valens Aqueduct is one of the aqueduct bridges of Valens Aqueduct System bringing water to Constantinople from Thrace. It took 28 years to build the Valens Aqueduct System.

Istanbul City Wall

The Walls of Constantinople are a series of defensive stone walls that have surrounded and protected the city of Constantinople (today Istanbul in Turkey) since its founding as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Constantine the Great.

Galata Tower

Our hotel was literally right around the corner from The Galata Tower, which is called Christea Turris by the Genoese,  and it’s a medieval stone tower in the Galata/Karaköy quarter of Istanbul, Turkey, just to the north of the Golden Horn’s junction with the Bosphorus.

Mosques

There are several Mosques to see while visiting Istanbul. Here are a few of the most notable ones. You definitely want to check out Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. It’s definitely some unique history associated with those two mosques.
 
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Suleymaniye
  • Blue Mosque

Where I stayed.

Hotel DeCamando – It’s a truly nice boutique hotel that offers a great story about the family that founded it, not to mention it’s one of the best locations in all of Istanbul and some has some stunning rooftop views of the entire city. You can even see most of the famous mosques from the roof, and it’s walking distance to Galata Tower.

We are born with this ceaseless desire to explore, often times we seek and search for destinations, sometimes destinations find you.

How to get around.

Uber vs taxi – At the time of this blog they have both services available in the city. You can even coordinate car service from whatever hotel you’re staying to get  you around the city and to some of the unique destinations. There’s really no real competition seeing as how the taxis are very reasonably priced in Istanbul, and if you’re traveling with friends that makes it even better, you can split the cost.

What language do they speak in Turkey?

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What type of money do they use in Turkey?

Turkish Lira is the currency used in Turkey.  The USD is currently stronger than the Lira so you might have a good time doing some shopping while visiting Turkey.
Notable fact, American Express is not, and I repeat NOT widely used or able to be used in Turkey. If you plan to bring credit cards make sure it’s a Visa or Mastercard.

Local Customs/Food

Testi Kebap is a meat and vegetable dish slow cooked in a sealed clay pot. The clay pot is brought from the oven to the table side, and with a flourish, the waiter breaks open the clay pot for all the tourists to enjoy.

Authentic Turkish Foods

Kebabs originated in Turkey, so you can’t get much more authentic than these Turkish chicken kebabs, or tavuk şiş (tah-VOOK’ SHEESH’). The method of cooking meats on a skewer over an open fire originated on the steppes of central Asia. In Turkey, it’s said the descendants of Genghis Khan himself skewered their daily catch on their swords and cooked it over an open flame. This concept was refined over time and was brought to the world with the westward migration of Turkic peoples.

Something you must do when you visit Turkey is enjoy an authentic Turkish Bath, or as it’s called in country a Hammam.
One of the best places in Turkey for your Hammam is Cagaloglu Hamami. Located in the heart of Istanbul this place is the oldest running Hamman spa in all of Turkey. They have been serving clients for 300 plus years. You can read more about Cagaloglu by clicking on the hyperlink.
A traditional Turkish bath  includes 45 minutes or 1 hour of washing; traditional body scrubbing with handwoven wash cloth known as a kese; a foam wash; and a massage. The attendants usually provide visitors with a peshtemal, a thin cotton towel to wrap yourself and a regular towel to use after bathing.
 

A complete guide on getting to Cappadocia from Istanbul

Traveling to Cappadocia/Kapadokya to get to know the wonderful Turkish culture is usually mandatory for anyone looking to get to know Turkey. Enjoying a few days in Kapadokya will allow you to  experience real Turkish culture away from the tourist scene. Now as for the ways to get from Istanbul to Kapadokya you will find many.  The most preferred method is by air. You can get a very reasonably priced round trip ticket on Turkish Airlines for about $79 USD.
I’m here to help you with planning to get around Turkey. We are also going to travel together to Cappadocia/Kapadokya. After you have experienced some of the best sights, sounds and  restaurants in Istanbul you will be ready to leave the capital city.
 
 
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