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Posted by Cayla Capri
Istanbul Turkish Delight
Istanbul turkish delight cover full
Call it Byzantium, Constantinople, The City on Seven Hills, The Door to Happiness – call it a history-buffed honeymooner’s dream come true. Apocryphally, the city’s location actually did come to Constantine in a prophetic dream. Legend or not, after centuries of ruling the roost as the centre of capital and culture, Istanbul bears this awesome, phantasmagoric quality. Now it’s your time to doze, carouse and dilly-dally in a city with such a fantastic lineage of boom. Lap up the sights, the aromas and the culture with as much veracious, barefaced enthusiasm as you would a nice cold raki.
the romance
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A visionary dinner cruise on the Bosphorus, the strait that connects Europe and Asia, is a must-do for all star-crossed lovers. As you wolf your moonlit meal, an illuminated suspension bridge, (one of the world’s largest) plus a few castles, fortresses and mosques will serve as your picturesque backdrop for the evening. After dinner, head to the districts of Ortaköy and Kuruçeşme, where you can dance off all that rich, exotic food in a Turkish nightclub.
the scenery
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Istanbul is a pictorial cornucopia of historic palaces, mosques, ageless streets, sandy beaches, and grassy parks. If you’re looking for an escape from the town’s everlasting buzz, check out the beautiful neighborhood of Emirgan, famous for its seaside cafes, pristine park, natural waterfalls and vivid tulip garden. For the perfect photo-op, Çamlica Hill offers impressive panoramic views of the city’s skyline.
the adventure
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Hop on a plane to the region of Cappadocia in central Turkey, where you can bask in the surreal moonscape. Erosion has formed some seriously brilliant caves and tall sediments known as “fairy chimneys” out of these thousand-year old volcanic plains. Hike through the scenic valleys, explore the churches and underground grottos, or take a hot air balloon ride and delight in an aerial view of the all the beauty.
the secrets
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Put your organizational skills to good use and make sure to witness a Sufi ceremony, performed by Whirling Dervishes. As a form of meditation and religious worship, the Whirling Dervishes don symbolic white gowns and spin around on their right foot, creating a dramatic visual experience. At the Galata Tower in Galata, these ceremonies are held every Sunday, so skip the requisite sleep-in and pancake bruncheon.
the attractions
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Istanbul’s Old City has a wealth of rich history and breathtaking architecture. A trip to the old boy is not complete without a visit to the architectural wonder that is the Hagia Sophia, a former basilica and mosque, (now a museum) filled with awe-inspiring naturally lit domes, ornate embellishments and mosaics. Check out the haunting Basilica Cistern, known as the “Sunken Palace,” a subterranean water chamber built in the 6th century by Byzantine Emperor Justinian.
Offbeat shopaholics will love the huge, colorful and vibrant outdoor market known as the Grand Bazaar, where a large variety of various Turkish artifacts, like pottery, jewelry, carpets and spices, are on display. Expect to bargain and hope to win over the vendor.
before you go
What to Expect
Spring: April – May are warm and usually sunny (20's). The best time to go for great weather and prices.
Summer: Hot, humid and sunny (high 20's). The busiest time for tourists.
Fall: September – November are warm and usually sunny (20's)
Winter: Cool and rainy (around 10 degrees)
Wear light but modest clothing (women should avoid exposing too much skin)
Turkish lira (TRY)
The Lingo
A valid passport and a visa (obtainable at the airport)
Local Delicacies
Turkish delight: A small, soft, jelly-like confection made from starch and sugar. It is usually flavored, often with lemon or rosewater
Balik Ekmek: a (delicious) fish sandwich