Istanbul. Turkey. April. 2014

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Turkey was 23d country I visit. Honestly Russian people like Turkey coast but Turkey seems to Russians like good but cheap resort. If Russian don't have money he spends vacation in Egypt if not to much money then Turkey if money is enough Russians prefer Spain. I had the same pattern in my mind when I decide to visit Istanbul. But I was completely wrong.

Istanbul the best place I've seen. It is amazing place with ancient history, nice people, and unbelievable atmosphere. 

Let's dive a little into Istanbul history.

The first of all Istanbul was a capital of 4 empires! Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman. It was founded in 667 B.C. Until 1923 it was named Constantinople.

 

Egypt column. It is one of the oldest monuments in Istanbul. It was delivered to Constantinople from Egypt in 390 B.C. But in Egypt it was created in 15 century B.C.

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 Land registry office.

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Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque. The biggest and the most beautiful musque in Istanbul. It was build in 1616 and named blue because thousands of blue tile used in decoration. The mosque is realy enormous and beautiful.

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Unfortunately I didn't come inside because it was very crowdy. 

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Before enter to mosque prayers must make ablution here. 

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Mosque yard.  

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Prayer schedule. 

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Opposite to Blue mosque stays Haya Sofia. It was created in 537. Just imagine. Almost 1500 years ago. It was Ortodox Patriarch's cathedral. In Ottoman Empire it was rebuilded to mosque. In 1935 became museum.

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Let's walk inside. 

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It is enormous! Cupola very high. 

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 Muslim faith forbids any creature images because only God can create it. When humans try to draw people or animal that means attemt to compete with God. It is why all images was painted over with ornament. Ottoman people did it in a hurry and didn't devastate decoration. It is why ancient mosaic was preserved under the paint.

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This is Omphalion. Place of the coronation ceremony of the Eastern Roman Emperors. 

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 Mosaic panel 13th century. Christ, John Baptist and Virgin Mary.

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 Mosaic panel 12th century. Virgin Mary, Emperor John II Komnenos and his wife Empress Eirene.

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 Mosaic panel 11th century. Christ, Emperor Constantin IX Monomachos and Empress Zoe.

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 Ahmed III fountain. Another name Executor fountain because legend told that Executor wash his hands and sword after public execution.

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 Topkapa palace main gate. Bab-I Humayun or Emperors gate.

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Topkapa palace garden. 

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 There are hundreds mosques in Istanbul. All of them unusual. This is Atyk Ali-Pasha mosque. It is 500 years old!

 

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 The Grand Bazaar. The one of the biggest market place in the world. To feel atmosphere of the East you have to visit it.

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It was build in 1493.  

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It is dozens of galleries with hundreds of shops. 

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 Galleries looks lite streets. If you choose wrong cross you could miss yourself at this enormous area.

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 Nice lamps. One of the Istanbul features.

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 I was surprised that sellers are very polite and not bothering you every second.

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Plates with amazing decoration. Really beautiful design. 

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 10 minutes walking from Grand Bazaar placed Lalely mosque. 

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 Fountain at the mosque yard.

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Cupola is great. 

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 It was build in 1763. It is last Ottoman Empire mosque.

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 Historical buildings everywhere. Nedim Pasha tomb. Nedim Pasha one of the Ottoman Empire Grand Viziers.

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 Bukoleon. Bezantee palace ruins. 5th century A.C.

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 Bosphorus.

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Embankment not so nice but comfortable enough.  

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Ahirkapi lighthouse. Was build by Ottoman III in 1755. 

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Citadel. 

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Galata bridge at Golden Horn Bay. It has 2 levels. First level contain dozens of restaurants, second level for traffic. 

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Galata tower is main dominant. 

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Galata tower was build by Genova people in 1349 when they defeat bezantee army and build castle close to Constantinople. You can visit observation deck at the top of tower to enjoy nice view to old Istanbul, Golden horn and Bosphorus.

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Istiklal street. The main pedestrain street in Istanbul.  

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 Amazing place with dozens of shops, restaurants, night clubs. It is crowdy 24 hours per day.

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 You have to walk through Istiklal to feel Istanbul spirit. 

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Taksim square. I was surprised that Monument of Republic has 2 famous Soviet persons - Frunze and Voroshilov. In 1920th Soviet Union was a partner of Turkey and support it military. 

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You can ride on historical tram through Istiklal street. It connects tunel and Taksim square. 

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 Tunel is a mini-subway. Was open in 1875. Contain hust 2 stations. It is the one of the smallest and the oldest subway in the world.

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 In 2000 modern subway started in Istanbul.

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 It grows up very quickly. I'm afraid to be wrong but as far as I remember 20 new stations appears every year in Istanbul.

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 Nice surprise to see so beautiful decoration in modern subway. Of course old Soviet stations out from any competition but I really respect Istanbul subway architects.

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 Also Istanbul has perfect tram system. Trams fast, modern and comfortable. I can't even guess when in Russia could appear so modern tram systems. As you know Russian trams very old, slow, noizy and uncomfortable. It is why the most of Russian cities refuses from tram and prefer buses. But it's mistake. Tram is much better for downtown than bus.

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 Of course Istanbul trip cannot be complete without Bosphorus boat tour.

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Bosphorus is a strait between Black sea and Marmara sea. It is very important place for sea traffic. 

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 Rumeli fortress. Was build by Mehmed Fatikh order in 1452. This fortress block way to Black sea for Constantinople and became place of arms to Ottoman army. So this castle was last step to Constantinople Capture.

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 At the Asian part of Bosphorus placed very expensive luxury houses.

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Bosphorus bridge connects European and Asian parts of Istanbul.  It was build in 1973 and devoted to Turkey Republik 50th anniversary.

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Kiz kulesi or Maiden's tower. Build in 1848 at small island. One of Istanbul symbols. 

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It was really nice to see wooden houses in Istanbul. 

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All of them in perfect conditions. 

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 Like in Russia some houses full with ugly air conditionning systems.

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 Everywhere in Istanbul you can drink fresh juice. Aple juice, Orange juice and of course pomegranat.

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Actually I feel myself as a child in Istanbul. I feel a lot of positive and bright emotions. Really amazing well balanced city. When I told balanced I mean it contains right portions of historical places, modern infrastructure, shopping, perfect kanteen, safety and performance. You can find everything you need in Istanbul. 4 days I spent here is not enough to discover the city. I'm planning my next trip to Istanbul. Now Istanbul one of my favorite places.

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