Saturday, January 4, 2014

Travelogue: Istanbul

(wrote this a year ago, but I didn't post this until today)

Istanbul. Byzantium or Constantinople. Call it with any name but it is undeniably a great city. It is divided by 2 parts, European and Asian continents and separated by a breathtaking Bosphorus straits, which encompasses the natural harbour  known as Golden Horn. Oh there're plenty to share about Istanbul, but hey, make sure you put Istanbul in your places-to-visit.

Going here is not the same as other places. A great Islam civilization once, which is Ottoman Empire started here. Getting to know the Constantinople,Ottomans' history is a must before you start your journey :)

I would say that Istanbul is a city, that must be visited by an adventure seeker, kebab lover (kebab's restaurants are everywhere!) and most importantly, a person who truly appreciate a good old history. especially the muslims!

Oh I think I should start with food pictures. OMG I'm drooling.. Halal food is everywhere. Heaven!

Here we go darlings :P ( Maybe I should contain my over-dose excitement. Teehee)

We arrived International Sabiha Gocken Airport in the evening and straight to our shuttle van to our hostel. Met a few Malaysians at the airport (yeah, Malaysians are everywhere). and I met a little cutie, who tried to snatch my luggage. Hahaha. She's into red items, I suppose. MashaAllah, she's too adorable.

After done with our hotel check-ins, we headed to restaurant for dinner. Yum. Yum. The worst part was, we're being manipulated by the owner of the restaurant. 24 lira per head. -.-" No wonder we got free baklava (a type of dessert-one of turkish delights) However, the dishes was superb. I whispered to myself, redha je la, rezeki pak cik tu :)

I'm not intending to describe a single detail of my jaulah here. I'm gonna keep the story short and the leave it to those that have Istanbul in their list. These are some places that we visited;

1. Domabahche Sarayi (Domabache Palace)

Crazy. That was my first thought. It's just too much. The palace was ordered by Sultan Abdul Mecid I and it cost about 35 tonnes of golds. It is said that the money was supposed to built a warship as the country was at stake at the moment. This palace consists of 3 main parts, which are Selamlik (the official part of the palace), Harem (the sultan and his family's residential)  and ceremonial hall.  It contains 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths (hamam) and 68 toilets. The infamous Attaturk also died here. 

Overall, I would say, the palace is so beautiful and luxurious but as I said before, it's just too much and unnecessary. As I walk around in the palace, I couldn't help from feeling sad. Is it sad? I just don't know how to describe the feeling, but it just feel like, why he did this?

2. Blue Mosque

We spent a few hours here. It's just too peaceful being here. Plus, it's chilling outside with heavy snow. The feeling of being able to hear azan, pray and tadarus in the mosque is just indescribable. (I never have a chance to go to mosque in cork)

3. Hagia Sophia or Aya Sophia

It was once a famous Orthodox cathedral, later a mosque and now a museum. I amazed to the fact the church was transformed to a mosque. Inside, we can see the mixture of church & Islamic architecture.

4. Topkapi Sarayi

It's huge, consists of lots of rooms, which now are exhibition rooms (museum). I spent a few hours here. 

5. Spice Bazzaar and Grand Bazaar.

Spice Bazaar is a lot cheaper if you wanna buy tudung, scarves, shawls, skirts and of course, you really need to be good at bargaining. 

Those are the top 5 places to go if you to Istanbul. But if you stay longer, why not explore more. 


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