Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tunel (Tunnel) - Istanbul Turkey

The Tünel (Tunnel ) is a short underground railway line, with two sections connecting Karaköy and Beyoğlu. The two-car train covers 573 meters Istanbul. Inaugurated in 1875, it is the second oldest subterranean urban rail line in the world (after the London Underground) and the first subterranean urban rail line in continental Europe.

The Tünel was designed by French engineer Eugene-Henri Gavand in 1867. The train was meant to help the 60,000 daily commuters who had to share the narrow and very steep Yüksek Kaldırım street on near  Hagia Sophia – Istanbul  their way to and from work.

After receiving permission in 1869 from Sultan Abdülaziz and finding foreign funding, Gavand began construction in 1871. Due to conflicts between Pera landowners and the Metropolitan Railway of Istanbul, the tunnel was not completed until late 1876 and was opened for service on January 17, 1875.

A trip on the Tünel is short and simple and saves you the slightly strenuous climb from Karaköy to Beyoğlu. It may seem ordinary from the outside, but it’s fun to say that you rode the oldest subway in continental Europe.

Museum of Innocence - Istanbul - Turkey

Orhan Pamuk Museum Istanbul - Turkey

The Museum of Innocence (Masumiyet Müzesi), found in the Beyoğlu district, is based entirely on the 2008 eponymous novel by Nobel Prize winning author, Orhan Pamuk. So far, his novel has been published in nearly 60 countries and is the first book in history to inspire a museum. The novel’s main character, Kemal, collects the belongings of his lover, Füsun.

The novel is set between 1976 and the early 2000s and describes life in Istanbul between 1950 and 2000. It’s based on the stories of two families, one wealthy and the other lower middle-class. The objects in the museum showcase what the novel’s characters wore, saw, used, collected and dreamed of. Visitors will see Kemal’s infatuation, honesty, obsession, heartache, and unyielding love for Füsun. As the character says, "It was the happiest time in my life, though I didn’t know it." Love story aside, the museum’s display cases brilliantly reflect the time period, culture, and daily life in Istanbul.

Most of the museum consists of beautiful mixed-media cabinets in Turkey. Photographs, videos, keys, audio, bowties, a pair of panty hoes, and thousands of overlooked fragments make up this unique museum.
It houses every imaginable detail of a person’s life. Each case, varying in size, represents a chapter from the book, such as Chapter 66: Is it Normal to Leave Your Fiance at Dinner? or Chapter 69: I Was Going to Ask her to Marry Me.

In one cabinet, we see a very realistic bathroom mirrorwith toothpaste, a shaving kit, lipstick, peeling wallpaper and hearthe sound of rain in the background. Daily objects rest askew, awaiting their owner. The museum manages to make every cabinet both fascinating and intimate. This museum will undoubtedly be a great experience for those who’ve read the book, but it’s not imperative that you read it beforehand.

Tuesday - Sunday 10:00 - 18:00 Friday                10:00  -        21:00
Closed Mondays
Adult                                         25 TL
Student                                       10 TL
Children under 12 Free
Note: Only the ground floor of the museum is wheelchair accessible.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Blue Mosque - Istanbul / TURKEY

Blue Mosque - Istanbul / TURKEY
Blue Mosque - Istanbul / TURKEY
Like all mosques in Turkey, Sultanahmet is free to the public. As it’s still used as a place of worship, the mosque is closed to tourists during prayer times, which happen five times everyday for 90 minutes. These times change daily, according to the movement of the sun. This can make timing a visit a little tricky. However, the daily prayer times are prominently displayed both outside the mosque and inside the courtyard on digital screens.

At midday, the lines to enter the mosque can be quite long, but they move quickly.
Before entering the mosque, women must cover their heads, shoulders, and legs.
Men must cover their legs.

If needed, robes and headscarves are provided.

Blue Mosque Hotels - Istanbul Hotels

Hagia Sophia - Istanbul / TURKEY

Hagia Sophia - Istanbul / TURKEY
Hagia Sophia - Istanbul / TURKEY

The left side of the ground floor features various exhibitions pertaining to the museum's history, which change periodically throughout the year. To the left of the main entrance, climb the winding ramps to the upper gallery.

Watch your step, as the stones are quite uneven and slick from the museum's unyielding foot traffic.

To the right, there’s a wide corridor bathed in daylight. From here, the empress and the court-ladies would watch the proceedings down below. A round, green stone marks the spot where the throne of the empress stood. Here, visitors can get a better look at the worn, but beautiful ceiling. This is the best spot for photographing Hagia Sophia’s interior and for watching other tourists milling about the ground floor.
On the left side of the upper gallery, there are enlarged photos that give visitors a better look at some of Hagia Sophia’s most dazzling details. It’s definitely worth it to take a few minutes to examine and appreciate these pictures.

The queue for Hagia Sophia can be quite long, so get there early or invest in a Museum Pass beforehand.
Admission: 30 TL
Free with 3-Day or 5-Day Museum Pass Hours:
Summer Schedule- 15 April -1 October Visiting Hours: 09.00 - 19.00 Hours of Ticket Sale: 18:00
Winter Schedule- 1 October 15 April Visiting Hours: 09:00- 17:00 Hours of Ticket Sale: 16:00

Ayasofya Hagia Sophia Hotels - Istanbul

Beylerbeyi Palace – Istanbul

Beylerbeyi Palace – Istanbul
Beylerbeyi Palace – Istanbul
Throughout the reigns of Sultan Abdulaziz and Abdülhamid II, a myriad of European sovereigns and dignitaries visited Beylerbeyi Palace. Later, during the reign of Abdülhamid II, the palace became a private museum, along with Dolmabahçe Palace and the Imperial Treasury of Topkapi Palace. Guests for these museums could only visit with special permission from the Sultan.

After Abdülhamid  dethronement, exile, and return to Istanbul, he was given a compulsory residence back at Beylerbeyi Palace. He lived there for six years, until his death in 1918. During the early years of the Turkish Republic, foreign guests continued to be entertained at Beylerbeyi Palace along with the country’s first prime minister, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Outside the palace, visitors will find a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating. The well kept garden, statues, trees, and outside tables surround a fountain that is home to a plethora of lily pads and a pair of busy ducks.

Daily 09:00 - 17:00
Mondays and Thursdays Closed
Admission: 20 TL
The interior of the palace can only be visited by a guided tour that takes betwen 20-30 minutes.
There are tours in English and Turkish regularly throughout the day.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Istanbul Archaeological Museums - Istanbul / Turkey

Istanbul Archaeological Museums - Istanbul / Turkey
Istanbul Archaeological Museums - Istanbul / Turkey
You’ll find the sarcophagus in a cool and dimly lit room on the ground floor. The Sarcophagus is protected by a bullet­proof glass case, a steel chain, and a quiet guard, ready to tut at those who forgot to turn off their camera’s flash. Even so, visitors can get close enough to truly appreciate this masterpiece. Lights are positioned to enhance the stunning and intricate detailing and cast dramatic shadows over the violent scenes that adorn the sarcophagus’ four sides, chiseled over 2,400 years ago Istanbul Archaeological Museums.

But the Alexander Sarcophagus isn’t the only thing worth seeing in the museum. Be sure to get a close look at the 2500- year-old mummy of King Tabnit of Sidon. After all this time, he’s missing a few teeth, but he’s still got a nice tuft of hair.

With a few exceptions, all of the items on the ground floor are openly displayed and allow viewers to get extremely close. There’s a noteworthy collection of tombstones carefully inscribed with fines or curses to discourage grave robbers.

Dolmabahce Palace - Istanbul / Turkey

Dolmabahce Palace - Istanbul / Turkey
Dolmabahce Palace - Istanbul / Turkey
The world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier is in the marvelous Ceremonial Flail (used for receptions, political meetings, and balls). The chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria, has 750 lamps and weighs 6.5 tons. This enormous centerpiece hangs from a 36 meter dome. Also featured are 150-year-old bearskin rugs, which were presented to the Sultan as a gift by the Tsar of Russia.
The Flarem-Cariyeler served as the private quarters of the Sultan and his family. It’s connected to the rest of the palace by corridor. The Flarem is comprised of several bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways, which housed the Sultan’s mother, wives, and concubines.

After passing through the fantastic and formidable Gate of the Sultan and a second gate, you’ll find yourself in the main garden. Flowers, magnolia and pine trees, lush grass, and lion statues surround the swan fountain. There’s also an impressive view of the Bosphorus to your right.

All tours for the palace and the Flarem are guided and take place regularly throughout the day. The staff is very strict about the no camera and no video rule, so photograph at your own risk. Once the tour begins, you’ll be grouped with up to 50 people. Despite the size of the group, the guides speak loud enough for everyone to hear. Soon afteryourtour begins, you’ll understand why it is relatively brief and photography is forbidden. If visitors had free range and an entire day, it would be impossible to make them leave.

When you exit the palace and return your plastic coverings, you’ll be greeted with a beautiful view of the Bosphorus. This is a nice place to take pictures, rest on the steps, and grab a drink from a small stand near the exit. There’s also a small cafe near the entrance to the Flarem where you can wait foryour next tourto start.