Categories
Cuisine

Balik-Ekmek, Istanbul’s favorite street food.

Istanbul’s Eminönü district is home to many historical landmarks. The Spice Bazaar, Yeni Mosque, Gulhane Park and the Basilica Cistern are among the places frequented by local and foreign tourists.
 
There is another point of attraction Eminönü hosts; the balik ekmek (fish and bread) boats on the pier.
 
Balik-ekmek, an Istanbul snack that is fondly loved by people from all walks of life, has been made and sold from these boats since the early years of the Republic.
Balik ekmek vendors
 
Balik-ekmek boats used to roam around Galata Bridge earlier in the 20th century. The city council decided there were commercial and legal problems with this setup and gave a few major boat operators license to open stall permanently on the shore, provided they moved from Galata Bridge to Eminönü pier.
 
Although the location of the boats has changed, the taste they offer and the interest they receive have never changed.
Fishing in Istanbul 
Balik-ekmek sales continue on these custom-made boats, which are completely decorated with wooden and handmade carvings, thus creating a nostalgic atmosphere for their customers.
 
It is a must-do for those visiting Istanbul to snack Balik-ekmek and of course take selfies at these Balik-ekmek boats.
 
The Balik-ekmek boats, still attract great attention from visitors at all hours of the day. They open their stalls at 9 am. Sales continue until late in the evening.
Categories
Stories

The seven hills of Istanbul

There are many stories and theories about who has found Istanbul. However it is known that it was found on 7 hills.

These 7 hills have been important attraction centres throught the history; during the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman times. As a result, these 7 hills have become the richest areas with regards to the historical artifacts, monuments and buildings. 4 of these 7 hills are situated near the Halic (the Golden Horn) which shows the importance the water canal.

Here are these seven hills:

TOPKAPI PALACE AND THE SURROUNDS:

This area is considered as the first centre of Istanbul.The ancient hypodrome used to stand here hence the area is often called “the horse square” by the locals as a reference to the Roman hypodrome which used to host Ben-Hur like gladiator competitions on horses and charriots. The highest points are Topkapi Palace and Ayasofya Mosque.

CEMBERLITAS AND THE SURROUNDS:

The second hill, stretches from Beyazit to Sultanahmet. The centre point is the Çemberlitaş pillar. Many Roman ruins have survived centuries here. One of the most glorious masterpieces of Ottoman era, Nuruosmaniye Mosque is also here

SÜLEYMANIYE MOSQUE AND SURROUNDS:

The third hill is locate within the Istanbul University Campus near Beyazıt Tower. The most important landmark here is the Suleymaniye Mosque which is the architectural masterpiece of Mimar Sinan . Beyazıt Mosque and The old building of Istanbul University are other notable landmarks

FATIH MOSQUE AND THE SURROUNDS:

The fourth hill is the centre of the Fatih suburb. Fatih Mosque is the landmark.

YAVUZ SELIM AND THE SURROUNDS:

The part of Fatih suburb overlooking Halice (The Golden Horn) is known as Yavuz Selim. This is Istanbul’s 5th hill. The ancient Byzantine Bonos Aqueduct and Sultan Selim Mosques are the landmarks.

EDIRNEKAPI AND THE SURROUNDS:

Edirnekapı and the surrounding area is the highest hill of these seven hills. The hilltop overlooks The Golden Horn. Another Mimar Sinan masterpiece Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, The Byzantine Tekfur Palace, Kariye Museum are among the most notable landmarks.

ALTIMERMER AND THE SURROUNDS (ÇUKURBOSTAN) :

Istanbul’s seventh hill is in the Cukurbostan region. The most notable landmark is the Arcadius pillar

Categories
Visit

10 facts about Istanbul flirting with two continents

Istanbul, which has been the capital of three different empires, will conquer your heart not only with its history, but with many more things as well. In addition to being the city connecting two continents, Istanbul is a metropolis with a lot of contrasts and superior traditional values. Some people call it “the capital of the world”, whilst others call it “the bridge between Europe and Asia”. In any case, Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city with 13 million inhabitants and is one of the largest cities around the globe.

For this time around, I decided to share with you some interesting facts about this magnificent city in the Bosphorus. We suggest you to visit the city in order to discover its beauties – you will not be disappointed.

1. When Istanbul was part of the Ottoman Empire in the medieval times, there were 1,400 public toilets in the city. Public toilets were built for the first time in newly built mosques in the Ottoman Empire in the 1600s (during the reign of the Sun King in France). As known, Versailles were built without toilets. It is more probable than not that even in the palaces of the biggest kingdoms of Europe did not have toilets at that time.

2. Underground Metro line, the metro that has existed since 1875, is known as the predecessor of the Istanbul Metro, which is one of the oldest subways in the world. London (1863) and New York (1868) are the only subways that are older than that of Istanbul. The line which is called “the tunnel” consists of only two stations and connects two big squares.

3. From a historical standpoint, Istanbul was the capital of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and then became the capital of the Ottoman Empire – Yet, today, Turkey’s capital is Ankara.

4. Four bronze horses that are now adorning the San Marco Cathedral in Venice, were stolen from Istanbul by the Crusaders in the 13th century. The horses were built in the 4th century BC and exhibited in the Hippodrome in the centre of Constantinople.

5. Agatha Christie wrote her best-known novel “Murder in Orient Express” at the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul. Christie travelled on the train traveling between Paris Istanbul between 1883 and 1977. The last stop of the train was at Sirkeci station (the principal train station on the European side of Istanbul).

6. Istanbul Grand Bazaar is the largest bazaar in the world containing more than 3,000 shops.

7. The surface area of Istanbul is about half the size as Belgium however Istanbul’s population is greater than Belgium’s.

8. All residents, almost without exception, of Istanbul complain about traffic jams, but no one ever leaves Istanbul.

9. “The soil and stones of Istanbul are golden.” This slogan caused the people living in the countryside areas to move to the magical city in the 50s of the 20th century.

10. The world’s largest church-mosque (Hagia Sophia) is in Istanbul. It was declared as a museum with the decision of Kemal Atatürk in 1937, and it presents the influence of two ruling religions in the region.

There is a lot to talk about this city whose name was changed five times. It is impossible to discover all secrets of the city with a single visit. You will travel, be impressed, words will not be enough to describe the beauties of the city, but still, you will never learn all aspects of the pearl of the Bosphorus. It will always be a place you want to see again and again in your future visits and this feeling will be part of you forever.