Body in Quebec, Heart on the Bosphorus

Fresh off the train, I found myself staring at a frozen St. Lawrence River reminded of my first chilly day in Istanbul, sitting in a Bebek cafe along the Bosphorus. Though one would never see ice float between the Aegean and Black Sea as they would here, my thoughts floated to the Near East none-the-less. Given all of the negative press Turkey has been receiving of late given the  New Years Nightclub tragedy strewn across all media outlets, I thought it fitting to do an entry on the positive aspects that the news fails to recognize.

Below is a list I came across tucked amongst my travel notes. In spite of Turkey’s current infamy on the BBC, the level of culture and hospitality one can find here is unparalleled. We all know that things are not good, but, for what its worth, the good that is left is never hurt by appreciation. For this reason, I decided to post the list below as a token to the beautiful.

 Istanbul Explorations: Districts & Spaces

European Side

  • Sultanahmet District & Historic Peninsula
    • Grand Bazare (Kapalıçarsı) & Spice Bazare
    • Basilica Cistern (20152016 )
    • Çemberlitaş (best Turkish Bath I’ve ever attended in my life)
  • Eminönü
    • New Mosque
    • Grand Bazare (Kapalıçarsı) & Spice Bazare
    • Fish sandwiches (balık-ekmek) by Galata Bridge on the Golden Horn
  • Beyoğlu (Karaköy/Galata)
  • Beşiktaş (most noteable for turkish brunch restaurants, new futbol stadium, parks good for slack-lining, anything you can think of searching for… its probably here)
  • Fatih (Admin district, if you have a form chances are you need to have it signed here)
  • Hisarüstü (popular for Boğaziçi University students)
  • Bebek (sailing,night cruises, ice cream parlors, 4-story Starbucks on the water)
  • Levant (Financial District with the complicated bus transfer.)
    • Sapphire terrace (Sapphire shopping center in levant 4)
  • Şişli (Europe’s largest shopping mall)
  • Ortaköy (The “Reina Region”… formerly notable for clubs, pubs, and waffles)
  • Taksim (Shop by day, pub crawl by night, and avoid during protests)
  • Eyüp (Golden Horn, beautiful panoramas esp. with a chai from Pierre Loti)
  • Tophane (mosque, street art, high end cafes, and contemporary art)
  • Black Sea /Belgrad Forrest
  • Istanbul ramparts (ruins that once protected the city, visible at various places)

Anatolian Side

  • Adalar (Princes’ Islands)
  • Maiden’s Tower
  • Kadıköy (bars, cinemas, bookshops, cafés, fish markets)
  • Maltepe
    • Caddebostan (Bağdat Avenue in between Kadıköy & Maltepe)
  • Üsküdar (libraries, hamams, Şemsi Pasha Mosque, fish markets)

Noteworthy Sites

  • Palaces
    • Topkapı
    • Dolmabahçe sarayı
    • Beylerbeyi sarayı
    • Çırağan sarayı (Former palace, now a hotel)
    • Hidiv Kasrı (aka: Kadivi Palace, now a restaurant)
    • Yıldız Palace
    • Küçüksu Palace
    • The Palace of the Porphyrogenitus
  • Mosques *great way of orienting yourself throughout the city*
    • Sultanahmet Camii (Blue Mosque)
    • Hagia Sophia
    • Yeni Camii (New Mosque)
    • Süleymaniye (the Magnificent) *my personal favorite
    • Dolmabahçe Mosque
    • Rüstem Paşa Camii
    • Ortaköy Camii
    • Eyüp Sultan Mosque
    • Bayezid II Mosque
    • Fatih Mosque
    • Nuruosmaniye Mosque
    • Halil üt Rahman Camii
  • Additional Points of Interest
    • Turkish Baths
    • Whirling Dervish’s
    • Tulips in Emircan (“Lale” Festival)
    • Opera House
    • Food! (esp. Baklava (honey and philo pastry) and Künefe (desert featuring un-pasturized cheese and dough from the South)

Recommendations Beyond Istanbul


  • Selimiye camii in Edirne (near border of Greece and Bulgaria)
  •  Safranbolu evleri in Tuzla (near Aegean Coast)

Black Sea Region

  • Trabazon Sümela manastiri (Sümela Monastery in Trabzon )
  • Bursa
    • Skiing at Uludağ (public trans: leave from Akmerkez 4)
    • Hamam
    • Bursa ulu Cami
    • Yeşil Türbe (green tomb)
  • Yalıboyu evleri in Anayasa (?)

Western Mediterranean

  • İzmir
    • Selçuk isbey camii
    • İzmir saat külesi*beyeeenmosque and sea
    • Efes Celsus kütüphanesi (Celsus Library)
  •  Ancient City of Ephesus
    • Temple of Artemis
    • Zeus sunaği

South Western Mediterranean

  • Antalya
    • Aspendos (ruins & historical sites)
  •  Olympus & The Eternal Flame
  • Kaş
    • Adana taş köprü
  • Fethiye & Olüdeniz
    •  Paragliding
    • Butterfly Valley
  • Bodrum
    • Beautiful coastline
    • Halikarnas mozolesi (Mausoleum Ruins)

Central Turkey

  • Pammukale
    • Calcite terraces and travertines left by flowing water.
    • Directly translated as the “Cotton Castle”
    • Hot Springs & Ruins nearby
  • Kapadokya (hot air balloons & canyons)
    •  Nevşehir (ancient underground city)
  • Anıtkabir, Atatürk’s Mausoleum  in Ankara
  • Konya: (origin of the whirling dervishes),
    • Mevlana Türbessi, Konya
    • Alâeddin camii
  • Hitit Uygarlığı
  • Nemrut dagi, adiyaman- klearchos kapoutsis

South Central (Looking toward Syrian Border)

  • Zeugma Gaziantep

South Eastern Turkey (Looking toward Iraqi and Iranian borders)

  • Nemrut dağı kalıntıları
  • Mardin Taş Evleri (Stone Houses of Mardin)
    •  Deyrulzafaran Monastery, Eskikale Köyü/Mardin Merkez/Mardin, Turkey
  • Zeynel bey Türbesi located in Batman (along the Tigris River, ~ 5 hours from Syria)

Eastern Turkey (Looking toward Georgian, Armenian, and Iranian borders)

  • Çifte Minareli medrese (Double Minaret Medrese)
  • Siirt
  • Mount Ararat, doğubeyazit
  • Van Lake, Van

Above is consolidated sum of my ‘place-notes’ on about a third Istanbul’s 39 districts and a number of iconic locations around the country. While the list is obviously incomplete, it’s a start. The majority of this list is based of off my own exploration, personal recommendations, or word of mouth (although many Southern and South Eastern regions are currently inaccessible due instability). Lastly, as most of the links correspond to various pages which I hastily journaled,  please let me know if you find mistakes!


One thought on “Body in Quebec, Heart on the Bosphorus

Share your experience!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s