Geographically, Istanbul is a very unique city. It’s divided by a natural strait, the Bosphorus, it also borders two different seas, the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea, and its land connects two different continents, Europe and Asia. And, with a population of approximately 20 million, Istanbul is one of the most populated cities. Thus, it can be challenging to live in Istanbul and be closer to nature. Indeed, the spaces for long trekking and hiking routes are limited. In this post we’ll introduce you to four hiking trails near Istanbul. They are no more than two hours away by car and perfect for a real hiking experience.
Not only is Istanbul big, but it’s also very old. Even from an early Ottoman period could the city boast high numbers of engaged tourists traveling through. With so many sights to see, foods to eat, and drinks to drink, it’s a wonder why so many Istanbul enthusiasts and locals alike recommend the same activities. Hoping to break this cycle, here are the latest non-touristy or local recommendations from Istanbul Tour Studio.
Mimar Sinan (1489-1588) -without doubt- was the most important Ottoman architect. In the sixteenth century he built or supervised hundreds of structures in every corner of the Ottoman Empire including mosque complexes, hamams (Turkish bath), bridges, hospitals, madrasas (religious high school), tombs, and many others. Patrons of these structures were either imperial family members or high-ranking officials such as Grand Vizier, Harem Agha, Shaykh al-Islam (Sunni Islam Religious Leader), and Kaptan-ı Derya (Grand Admiral). Among Sinan’s works in Istanbul, there are two mosque complexes (külliye) commissioned by two different Kaptan-ı Derya (Grand Admiral): Sinan Paşa Mosque and Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque.
Boukoleon Palace (Bucoleon Palace) was the summer palace of the Byzantine emperors, which was built along the shores of the Marmara Sea in the south of the Great Palace of Constantinople. It is very probable that it was built during the reign of Emperor Theodosius II (r. 408 – 450 AD) in the 5th century AD and its monumental façade still stands for more than fifteen centuries.
Fishing season is -finally- open in Istanbul as of today, September 1st. As a city surrounded by two seas (Black Sea on the north and Marmara Sea on the south) and one strait (Bosphorus) connecting these two seas, Istanbul is rich in terms of fish and seafood. In addition, starting from Ancient Greek period to today Istanbul has a rich and serious history of fishing and fish consumption. For instance, Byzantion -Ancient Greek colony founded in the seventh century BC on the lands that later became Constantinople, and then Istanbul- was a fishermen village and main income of Byzantion was fish and other sea food. Moreoever, we know from primary sources that during the Middle Ages main nutrition of Istanbulites was fish.
Hippodrome of Constantinople was built for chariot racing, which was the most important sports of the Byzantines. Nevertheless, it was more than a place for chariot races and other sports activities. Located in Sultanahmet/Istanbul, the hippodrome was also home to gladiatorial games, official ceremonies, celebrations, protests, torture to the convicts and so on. The word “hippodrome” comes from the Greek hippos (horse) and dromos (way). Hippodrome functioned all in Roman (203-330 CE), Byzantine (330-1453 CE), and Ottoman (1453-1922) periods.
On the evening of June 28th, Istanbul’s main airport (Atatürk International Airport) was hit by a suicide bombing attack which resulted in – official numbers – 41 dead and 239 injuries. This has been a real tragedy for our country. As Istanbul Tour Studio, we would like to extend our deepest condolences for the victims and their families. In the past few months, the world has witnessed such terror attacks more than ever and we stand together with our friends in Paris, Ivory Coast, Brussels, Beirut and Orlando. As terror globally targets our livelihood and every day life, we all ask similar questions: where is safe nowadays? Should we refrain from travelling?
“Sana Bir Şeyler Olmuş” (Something Has Happened to You) is the cover of Chris Kenner’s “Land of a Thousand Dances” released in 1963 and it is the first live performance of Erkin Koray, broadcasted live at the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) national public broadcaster of Turkey founded in 1960s. Enjoy Erkin Koray’s one of the earliest songs “Sana Bir Şeyler Olmuş” released in 1969.
It is not surprising that a city like Istanbul has many stories behind the names of its neighborhoods. Since the beauty of city flourished creativity when it comes to calling neighborhoods, there are countless interesting background stories of neighborhood names. Here we list only 7 of them to give you the glimpse of it.