Travels

The Asian area of ​​Istanbul

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At this point of getaway we could not say what we are liking most about the biggest city in Turkey. Its mosques, its atmosphere, its streets, its life... neither would we be able to say where we would spend another day. What we do know is where it is "other" true Istanbul, far from the most touristy. Area West of Faith Neighborhood It is one of the most authentic we have seen on any trip, in the heart of history. Its walls, which keep the cruelest history of the city, take us to the Eyup Mosque, and its teleferico to the hill of the Golden Horn. On the other side of the BosphorusOn the Asian side, couples walk hand in hand along a promenade where some men fish, others sell chocolate cupcakes and we watch a beautiful sunset while we take the ferry back. Is Uskudar, the Asian Bosphorus Zone. Do we start !! To have breakfast at theZeynep Sultan Hotel (FULL ARTICLE ABOUT THE HOTEL HERE)!!


 

Today, within our objectives to see, divided by zones, we have covered the following (with the corresponding route):

- OLD ZONE. Sultanahmet Topkapi Santa Sofia Tank. Blue Mosque Sergio and Bacchus Church. Mehmet Pasha. Arasta Bazaar. Racecourse. Divan Yolu ...
- NEW AREA. DolmabahçeTaskimIstikla Galata Tower, Galata Bridge. Eminonu ...
- BAZARES AREA. Vanide Han. Grand Bazaar. Egyptian bazaar. Suleymaniye Mosque. Rustem Pasha Mosque. New Mosque
- EXTERNAL AREAS. GOLDEN HORN AREA (Eyup, Pierre Lottie). FATIH NEIGHBORHOOD (San Salvador de Chora). ASIAN AREA (Uskudar)
- EXPERIENCES. Dervishes New Years Eve.Hampeanut.Hookah. Which arises…

He don't get up early It has made the morning start very late today, so instead of the natural option of using public transport, we have taken a taxi to arrive (31 TYR). We are the oldest area in the West of the Fatih District, leaving aside the Valente Aqueduct, in the Church of the Sacred Savior in the Field, or more usually known as Church of San Salvador de Chora (B).


 

It is a beautiful building dating from the S.V, originally outside the walls although after the construction by Teodosio of the new ones, already framed within the city limits. In any case, the current building almost entirely dates from 1,081. Its situation is privileged, overlooking the "messy" surrounding neighborhood.


Already inside (15 TYR each), you can enjoy many really beautiful frescoes and mosaics, which fell into oblivion when they were covered by plaster during the Ottoman Empire (images are forbidden in Islam) but they shine again nowadays.


 

The Church, dedicated to both Christ and the Virgin Mary, has arches and domes also decorated with Byzantine liturgy, and even today a minaret that also replaced the bell during Sultan Bayezid II.


 

We had read in our notes at breakfast that once we reached this point, we could not miss the opportunity to go down to the Golden Horn through one of the most authentic neighborhoods in the city. We are in the West zone of one of the largest districts, Fatih, for some known as the "true Istanbul", far from the most tourist. Here you can see messy streets and buildings, in the purest Muslim style that we already found in Amman or in Aleppo, people's lives, their markets ...


... its more picturesque wooden houses "embedded" among other more "solid" or those alley full of steps. We also cross Fevzi Pasa Caddesi street, one of the main arteries of the city, others full of very particular shops (only with buttons, pushpins, mannequins for shops or gift boxes) with trees and flowers on the sides of the Street and full of terraces. A different charm. A special charm


 

At this time of the morning, and already by the shore of the Golden Horn, we leave for the first time a symbolic border (and not so much). We are leaving what were once the limits of the capital of Christianity, lThe walls of Theodosius (C), that so many sieges would endure. We leave the Costantinople, whose story we saw on the first day of the trip. (PHOTO://www.laaventuradelahistoria.es)

These are walls dated from the year 413, with a height of 8 to 12 meters and up to 5 meters thick. Insurmountable structures that resisted for more than a millennium any kind of siege from who it was.


 

But if history has taught us anything throughout our travels, it is that every fortress and every empire has its decline. Even that incredible impassable structure, Krak de Caballeros, the most impressive fortification we've seen in that 2009 trip to SyriaI just gave in.

May 29, 1453. We are on an important date that would change the course of the events, culture and religion of Istanbul. After !! MORE THAN 2 MONTHS OF ASEDIO !!, of incessant firing of cannons, climbing attempts, attack of his troops, finally a great canyon opened the first gap in the wall (the great cannon of Muhammad, cannons of 18 tons that needed 60 oxen and 200 men to handle them). In addition, the Byzantines made the terrible mistake of leaving one of their doors in the northwest wall semi-open. With its troops already demoralized, despite the help of the Greek fleet that kept the Turks away from their maritime boundaries, the city would fall throughout that day. He Ottoman Empire reached its splendor and it was done with the city

(PHOTOS://www.escuelapedia.com and//ballenazadomar.blogspot.com.es)

Today we can still observe the remains of the walls, with their peculiar rows of red bricks alternated with sandstone blocks and ashlars. Its fall is considered today by many historians as the end of the Middle Ages.


This whole area brings together the largest accumulation of tombs in the entire area, and gives way to another picturesque place already prepared for tourism, the Eyup area.


 

Here is the Eyup Sultan Mosque (D) , built in 1458 (the first one built by the Ottomans after the fall of Costantinople), although what we like most is the atmosphere that is breathed in these moments of the morning.


We are at the starting point of one of the most recommended places by many traveling friends when they met our destination, the famous Pierre Loti Hills (E)., where you can access by cable car or walking along the path that goes up the cemetery, our option.


 

But what is here that is so famous? We are in a privileged location on the hill with the best views of this huge estuary called Golden Horn that enters the land from the Bosphorus Sea. And you could not miss a picturesque terrace where to take a good "chai" (you) cheaper than we could expect (5 TYR both).


Both the Café and the hill are named after the writer Julien iau, known as Pierre Loti, and they say he came here to get inspired. More places of inspiration come to mind like that hotel in the ruins of Palmyra which served as inspiration for his novels to the very Agatha Christie. It must be recognized that the views are magnificent.


 

Golden Horn. It is said of the huge natural harbor that has served as protection for Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans throughout history. We talked about him during all these days (in fact also we crossed it the other day walking through the Galata Bridge) but here is the best place to observe it "in perspective".


 

The next time we return to Istanbul (we will return) we will return to Pierre Loti in the afternoon. The sunsets from here must be really incredible.


Time to go down. Will we have to try the cable car? We upside down the world, we walk up, down very comfortable (3 TYR each, a "galletón"). It is a journey of just 2 or 3 minutes that joins the base next to the Eyup Sultan Mosque and the terrace.


 

To go to Eminonu (F) from here there is a direct option ... !! catch the bus !! Do not ask us how, because we will not know how to explain to you but our experience was something like that we saw that the bus 199C that put Eminnu nosequé and there we got on and the bus starts to ride. We did not find where to put coins, or "galletón" (there was also no place to put the happy jeeton even if we had some on top, which was not the case) or anything at all. The driver did not speak to us ... total, of those seconds that you look for all sides and do not know what to do ... until a kind man (thank you very much if you read us one day) passed his prepaid card in front of a band twice and not even He accepted our money. Anyway ... rookie experiences.

And here we are, after catching two Ferry "cookies" (they are made of metal, not plastic) in the machine on the side of the entrance (3 TYR each) and some pistachios (5 TYR), in the big boat of several floors that will cross the second "symbolic border" of the day.

CROSSERS FOR THE BOSPHORUS: They say that crossing the Bosphorus is one of the most rewarding experiences a person brings from Istanbul, and it is something that everyone can afford, both from the point of view of time and from the economic point of view:

- Long Cruise: It is a cruise around 6 hours leaving at 10'35 (and 13'35 in summer season), leaving aside the different palaces, and after several stops (Besiktas, Kanlica, etc ...), arrives after 2 hours at Kavagi, where for 3 hours to make visits and have lunch, and return around 16'25 (18'25 the one of the 13'15 of summer season) to Eminonu. Its price is around 20/25 TYR per person
- Short Cruise: It is a cruise around 1 hour and a half to 2 hours with departures at 10:30, 12 and 13:30, which runs through the Bosphorus from Eminonu to Rumeli, without stops, seeing the different palaces to return to the other side. Its price is around 10/12 TYR per person.
- Economic Cruise: It is about taking the ferry from Eminonu to Uskudar, which lasts around 20 minutes and has departures every little time interval every day, which crosses the Bosphorus leaving aside all areas of Istanbul, including some palace. Its price is around 3 TYR per person.
- Private Cruises: 4 hours, night, romantic, luxury, with Different schedules and prices.

The sun changes the lighting of the city, for the first time these days, getting different shades in the most modern area where the Galata Tower stands out among the different buildings.


 

He Bosphorus divides the city of Istanbul into two parts, and also serves to cross that "symbolic border" that divides two continents. Although the Bosphorus also unites, since it is the strait that gives continuity to the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea in its 30 km in length, leaving beautiful palaces like that of Dolmabahçe that we visited on DAY 3.


 

Where do you say we are going Paula? Have I heard you well? Siiiiiiiiiiii ... We are going to step on ASIA again! and is that Istanbul is one of the few cities in the world that lives between two continents, such as several Russian cities (Yekaterinburg or Orenburg) and some in Kazakhstan (Atyrau)


 

The walk is very pleasant, accompanied by the "dance" of the seagulls in our navigation, which in part brings us the memory of those albatrosses and petrels that accompanied our Antarctic expedition ship through the fearsome waters of the Drake Pass of trip to Antarctica 2009.


 

Since we stepped on the Asian Zone, on the pier of Uskudar (G), we realize that we are in a very different Istanbul, less touristy, more residential ... crowded with mosques. The possibilities are also endless, from the Kad? Köy area, to the Camlica Hill (with beautiful views), through Haydarpaça, to put some. However, today we are not going to visit mosques, museums, or tour neighborhoods. We will simply enjoy its atmosphere, its people, a pleasant walk taking us what we like so much ... your feelings.

Hungry? Following our policy of "tight budget" for food, and with this sole, we have taken a small table in one place (H) where to eat some kebaps accompanied by those delicious juices the size of a copon (13 TYR), already inland. !! That richoooooooooos !!


 

Soon we get lost in its streets, some more careful than others, until we reach a kind of main street full of stands and street market (I). A small place of sale of spices, nuts and some products that we cannot distinguish.


 

They say that this whole area is much more unknown by tourists, and in part it is true, since we hardly meet any. We assume that there is so much to see in the European area that this area is a bit sidelined by everyone. We also had another tea and coffee (5.50 TYR both)


However, it is very worthwhile to be fooled by its authenticity and drop by its "Street markets" where one can find fresh products (olives, vegetables, fresh and well placed fish) at really ridiculous prices


 

OR their bazaars, some entirely dedicated to leather bags (Minan Sinar), or their mosques (I think we have not seen such agglomeration of them per m2 anywhere).


 

But the really beautiful thing at this time, once abandoned the interior area, is to walk through its boardwalk (J)Although the area near the pier is under construction on the dates of our trip, from where you have the best views of the European part, its Palaces and its minarets, with the sun setting in the background.


 

Also here you can find two "monuments" for those who find it difficult to keep certain dates. Did anyone miss the explanation above of the fall of Costantinople? 1453. And 1923? Date the treaty of the current borders of Turkey was signed.


 

You already know that we love history. When we visit any country, place, monument, far from other experiences, being able to contextualize and escape for a moment at those moments is priceless. Can you imagine when those fleets of war arrived in the middle of the medieval era? Ufss What is clear today is that the Bosphorus is a sea rich in fish, because otherwise it would be impossible for both fishermen ...


Continuing along the promenade we would arrive at a place to sit and contemplate a beautiful sunset having a quietly lying tea, but the temperature continues to fall, and we have thought it convenient to arrive at night in our old quarter, so as not to die frozen, haha. The picture is becoming more beautiful, and next to the Sesmi Ahmet Paça Mosque (K), possibly the most beautiful and picturesque of all of the Asian area, on the banks of the Bosphorus.


 

We would pay anything for listen to the thoughts of a turkish fisherman from any of the banks of the strait. Here, patiently waiting for hours for his prey. Taking its place first thing in the morning. Preparing your position. Feeding his cane. Being cold in these months, and very hot in summer. Knowing that his life will be the same tomorrow, and after ... and the rest of his days ...


We buy again our "cookies" (3 TYR each) and leave Uskudar in the Ferry in the afternoon. At the bottom, the Tower of Leandro or the Maiden reminds us that the Byzantines also dominated this area once.


 

In the background you can hear the call to prayer in the old part of the city. The loudspeakers in the minarets of the Blue Mosque can be heard even from the very tall ship and they spread, while the seagulls return to accompany us as if they were the one that lead us to our destination, and large cargo ships begin their New walk away from these lands.


 

It is said that in the Leandro Tower there was a princess locked up for a long time to avoid her death from a snake bite predicted by a prophet. We do not know which part will be true or not, but it seems that in the wicker basket of one of his meals he managed to sneak one and fulfilled the prophecy. It was also a place of quarantine, and lighthouse, and customs post. Today is an emblematic symbol of the city, without a doubt.


From Eminonu to Sultamahnet by tram there is not much (3 TYR each). We will take some more shelter for our hotel before we go to relax for a while. Before we go through The House of Medusa, restaurant famous for the filming of The Turkish Passion of Ana Belén, movie that we have all seen sometime in our life. Hagia Sophia is already illuminated at the bottom of the street of the Zeynep Sultan Hotel.


 

We had also read about a place to smoke Narguile at the end of Divan Yolu Street, lcalled Çorlulu Alípaça Medresesi. There are two doors, one of them with a nice market where we take the opportunity to buy the last memories (5 TYR) and some tobacco for our sisha (10 TYR)…


 

And another where the famous tea shop is located, from which, with all our respect for those who like it, we flee in terror. A macrocenter of people smoking and drinking tea, sitting on tables that take advantage of the area until the last space, with all the tourists just out of the Grand Bazaar.


 

What did help us was that when we walked down Divan Yolu again, we met one of the famous ice cream parlors in Istanbul, where the jugglers ice cream parlors played with Paula with great experience, hahahaha. Where is the ice cream? Your price 7.5 TYR


Now if, in one of the alleys coming out of the main artery, we find our place called Hoç ldiniz. A tea shop with a certain charm, and where to rest for a long day.

ONE OF NARGUILE: Also called hookah, shisha, seesha, is a device used to smoke a tobacco, in general, of different flavors. Where to smoke it in Istanbul? Some places:

- Maçale, next to the Blue Mosque towards the little Bazaar in the background. Quiet and with night music. Tourist but nice.
- Hareb'be, in the cross streets to Divan Yolu, small and pleasant.
Çorlulu Alípaça Medresesi, at the end of Divan Yolu, almost at the height of the Grand Bazaar. Immense and touristy. In our opinion, to avoid. For tastes ...
- Hoç Eldiniz, also in the cross streets to Divan Yolu, with chairs outside, very small and simple but pleasant.
Lale Bahçesi, next to the Suleymaniye Mosque, in a very picturesque courtyard. Essential.

We cannot avoid ordering one of our latest apple tea and another hookah (23 TYR). Here we had a good time watching around us, talking, laughing, going over a very complete day ... and deciding where to have dinner.


 

And the place where we finally had dinner is one very well known by the "Spanish public" and that our friends Chupi and Elena (who were probably in their way here) would love it and Paula's mother for her great flag of Depor nothing more get in. Is the Enjoyer, where Antonio receives us in a very cordial way.


 

The dinner, exquisite, like everything we have eaten and eaten these days, although we forgot to write the names in Turkish. A shrimp casserole with mushrooms and cream, a stuffed eggplant and a plate of chicken pieces with wine and pepper sauce.


 

All the food, with drinks and coffee and tea cost us 82 TYR which is not as expensive as the Amedros, but also not as affordable as other countries (in general Istanbul, as soon as you get into tourist places, it has the cost of the great most European cities)

ONE OF RESTAURANTS AND FOOD: It is possible that if we returned to Istanbul now we run away from the usual recommended ones, trying to find some more authentic ones in more remote neighborhoods and with cheaper prices. In any case, all the food has been excellent. Some suggestions of more "acclaimed" restaurants ...

- SULTANAHMET KOFTECISI: In Divan Yolu, towards the beginning. Famous for their Kofte we tried the first day or Piyaz (beans with vinegar sauce). !! The kofte repeat throughout the day !! Cheap
- AMEDROS: Towards the end of Divan Yolu. The best dishes of the city. Hypercar
- GANI GANI: In the New Zone, explained DAY 3 how to get there. Great decoration and atmosphere. Half price.
- PASAZADE:Like the previous ones, of Ottoman food, in the area of ​​Gulhem (explained DAY 3 how to get there). Good food for average price.
- PANORAMIC RESTAURANT: On Yerebatan St. No: 47 at the Adamar hotel (www

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