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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2013, 9:37 PM
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Istanbul - Nightsky’s trip to the world's second largest city

ABOUT ISTANBUL

Istanbul is one of the world's fastest growing cities in the world and during our visit in 2013 it is the world's second largest city (after Shanghai)! It is the only large city in the world that is situated on two continents; the largest and historically and economically most important part is situated in Europe, while the East part, mainly residential, is situated in Asia. The wide strait Bosphorus divides them and they are connected by ferries. The famous bay called Golden Horn divides the old city center in two parts; connecetd by the Galata Bridge. On the south part is the Sultanahmet area with Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and other interesting site, while you find the main street Istiklal Caddesi, the Galata Tower and Taksim Square, that is considered the heart of Istanbul, on the north side. The lake Marmaris is situated just south of the city center, as well as the relaxed Princes Islands. To the North of Istanbul, the Bosphorus strait flows into the Black Sea, that has borders to many Eastern European and former Soviet countries.

Istanbul has a very important role in the history, first it was the capital of the Byzantine (East Roman), then for many years it became muslim under the Ottoman rule after and in the 1920s the nation Turkey was born, and the still popular prime minister Atatürk secularized it. The still can find many large mosques everywhere and you can here call for prayers as much as 5 times a day! Despite its gross size Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey, it is Ankara.

You can find many rundown streets and buildings, even near tourist areas, as well as beautiful historic monuments, buildings and mosques, but there are also very modern parts, especially in the outskirts where you can find as much as 3 modern districts with tall skyscrapers, highways and large shopping malls. If you take the popular Bosphorus ferry, like we did, you can see the European side on one side, and the Asian on the other. Along the trip, you will find large palaces, modern office buildings, large apartments blocks and small fishing villages with charming colourful mansions.

MY EXPERIENCES

The traffic is very chaotic, it is totally crazy, the cars drive very careless and sometimes you can't find pavements and crosswalks are hard to find. Not many traffic lights either, making it very dangerous to cross the streets. The local traffic is ok, but not very extensive. You can buy and refill cards for every trip, but you have to combinate different systems; lightrail trams (always overcrowded), historical trams, subway, trains, buses, taxi buses and ferries. The yellow small taxis are cheap but they always take twice the price for tourists and its hard to negociate it because they can't speak English. In general, however, most Istanbul citizens are pretty good on basic English.

Our stay was excellent. We got a great offer at a 5 star hotel, Celal Aga Konagi Hotel! It featured 2 large swimming pools, free brunch, large chandeliers, Turkish bath/spa, sauna, aquariums, bar, 2 restaurants and a double room with jacuzzi, ac, virtual fireplace and flatscreen TV. It is centrally located at Lalei district with easy connections to the Sultanahmet historic district.

The video from my trip, don't miss it:

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Last edited by Nightsky; Jul 11, 2013 at 8:50 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2013, 9:38 PM
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SULTANAHMET PART 1:
Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet Square

Sultanahmet is the historic district in the city center of Istanbul. Here you can find Istanbul's most popular attractions, the former cathedral and mosque Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. These two buildings both have huge interiors beneath the massive domes, we went inside both of them. Between them is a large fountain that is illuminated in different colours after dark. Sultanahmet is also where hordes of tourists arrive, and you can find many restaurants there.

HAGIA SOPHIA:















BLUE MOSQUE:










AROUND SULTAHMET SQUARE:

















See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Ist...ltanahmet.html
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Old Posted Jun 24, 2013, 9:44 PM
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SULTANAHMET PART 2:
Waterfront/Old Town, Kennedy Caddesi


























The historic district of Sultanahmet seen from the Bosphorus ferry. The Topkapi Palace is in the middle on the top and to the right you can see the Hagia Sophia Museum. Note the large Turkish flag to the left.

See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Ist...anahmet_2.html
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  #4  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2013, 9:47 PM
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Great photos! My girlfriend and I visited Istanbul in May (the week before the recent demonstrations). We both enjoyed the city tremendously. It is one of the most fascinating cities I've visited and I agree, Istanbul is absolutely massive. We stayed on both the European side (near Sultanahmet) and the Asian side (Karikoy) on the second half of our trip.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2013, 9:54 PM
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ok so well it is correct to say istanbul is the 2nd largest city, that does not mean much as they keep adding on and it is now over 2k sq miles! i think a lot of cities would be just as populous if you laid a 2k sq. mi. grid across them. anyway, i am sure no one wants to get caught up in that topic, so i will just say nice photos and i hope you post more from around the city
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  #6  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2013, 10:04 PM
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Regardless of whether Istanbul is the second largest city or tenth largest city, etc, it is huge. One of the things I was impressed by is that the very dense housing and offices strech for miles is every direction. It is a huge metro area.
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Old Posted Jun 24, 2013, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
Regardless of whether Istanbul is the second largest city or tenth largest city, etc, it is huge. One of the things I was impressed by is that the very dense housing and offices strech for miles is every direction. It is a huge metro area.
yup. maybe he will get up on the sapphire tower observation deck to see that. i had a crappy camera when i went up there i would love to see better photos like these of the sprawl.
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Old Posted Jun 27, 2013, 12:16 PM
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Yes it stretched a very long way to the north along, took the Bosphorus ferry for almost 2 hours and was still within the city limits! The same while taking the train to the airport westwards, almost for one hour and still within the city limits, the same when you try to go to the east on the Asian side. Didn't see much of the Asian side though.

It is 2nd largest by city population according to many sources, but it's not so important what it is the largest, it is really huge nevertheless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrnyc View Post
yup. maybe he will get up on the sapphire tower observation deck to see that. i had a crappy camera when i went up there i would love to see better photos like these of the sprawl.
Is there an observation deck on top of Sapprhire tower? Why didn't I know that during my visit, I was very close to the tower.
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  #9  
Old Posted Jun 27, 2013, 6:07 PM
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This is the classic City vs. Metro discussion... one in which I think many people (including myself) have strong feelings on, but nonetheless not worth bogging down this topic with. According to Wikipedia, Istanbul is a Metropolitan Municipality If NYC, or a whole host of other world cities for that matter, were able to effectively annex ALL of their suburbs (the boundary of where suburbs become exurbs is of course is also under constant debate), it would push Istanbul way down the list; but I/we digress.

Great pictures though! I would love to visit someday!
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Old Posted Jun 27, 2013, 9:36 PM
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BEYAZIT AND EMINÖNÜ:
Grand Bazaar, University, Sirkeci Station, Eminönü














BEYAZIT SQUARE AND ISTANBUL UNIVERSTIY:









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Old Posted Jun 28, 2013, 2:56 PM
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EMINÖNÜ:


Eminönü, here seen from the Bosphorus ferry, is a neighbourhood at the southern edge of Golden Horn. Here you can find the Galata bridge, the ferry terminal that takes you to the Asian side or the cruise along the Bosphorus, the Sirkeci railway station and the Egyptian bazaar with the spice market.










Our ferry to Asia was cancelled because of fog!
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Old Posted Jun 28, 2013, 2:57 PM
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SIRKECI STATION:


Sirkeci Station, the most famous railway station on the European side. Once the end station of the Orient Express, still terminal station for all trains from Europe. Considering that, the station itself feels surprisingly small. The station was inaugurated in 1890 and drawn by August Jachmund.







See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Istanbul_Bazaar.html
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Old Posted Jul 2, 2013, 1:46 PM
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:YEREBATAN CERNICI CISERN:
Underground water cistern

Yerebatan Cernici (literally "Sinken Palace" in Turkish) is the largest underground water cistern in Istanbul. It is a very exciting and popular tourist destination, right below the ground near Sultanahmet Square and Hagya Sophia. You can walking around among the water underground and look at the beautifully illumated columns and pillars, creating a very special red and yellow light. It covers an area of 9 800 m and the roof rests on 336 columns. The Medusa heads, one upside down are captured from Greek buildings. Many concerts and movies have taken place in the cisterns.
It was built by the Romans, initially by Constantine, and extended by Justinian in the year 537. During the Byzantine times it was located right below the Stoa Basilica, thus it is sometimes called the Basilica Cistern.





















See many more pictures from this part:
http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Ist...Yerebatan.html
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Old Posted Jul 2, 2013, 7:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightsky View Post
Yes it stretched a very long way to the north along, took the Bosphorus ferry for almost 2 hours and was still within the city limits! The same while taking the train to the airport westwards, almost for one hour and still within the city limits, the same when you try to go to the east on the Asian side. Didn't see much of the Asian side though.

It is 2nd largest by city population according to many sources, but it's not so important what it is the largest, it is really huge nevertheless.



Is there an observation deck on top of Sapprhire tower? Why didn't I know that during my visit, I was very close to the tower.
yup -- you got the eye sorry you missed it:

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=198843

cool to see the cistern lit up so well in your shots -- its dark in there!
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Old Posted Jul 2, 2013, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr1138 View Post
This is the classic City vs. Metro discussion... one in which I think many people (including myself) have strong feelings on, but nonetheless not worth bogging down this topic with. According to Wikipedia, Istanbul is a Metropolitan Municipality If NYC, or a whole host of other world cities for that matter, were able to effectively annex ALL of their suburbs (the boundary of where suburbs become exurbs is of course is also under constant debate), it would push Istanbul way down the list; but I/we digress.
That's not even entirely true in Istanbul's case - it hasn't "annexed its suburbs" per se. We're just talking about different levels of government - talking about "Istanbul" is sort of like talking about a regional council of governments in the U.S., or a province in other countries. It's also a province in Turkey. Turkey still has a lower level of government beneath that, though - depending on how you translate it, the "District" or the "Municipality," with its own elected representatives. Just using the U.S. as an example, there is no doubt that in a U.S. metropolitan area Kadıköy (population >500,000), Beyoglu (population ~250,000), Üsküdar (population >500,000), etc. would all be separate "cities." And arguably they are in Turkey too, they're just called something else within the larger Istanbul governing structure. But they DO still have their own elected councils. They have their own Mayors. By nearly any world standard, that makes them their own "cities." The structure of "municipalities" within Istanbul (39, I believe?) looks very similar to an MSA in the United States (or even a smaller state); the only difference is they give somewhat more governing power to their "regional council of governments." But it's not a single master governing structure like in some countries.

Sorry for the lecture - I find the local government structure in Turkey fascinating! (And widely mirrored throughout the former Ottoman world.)

Great pictures! And the explanations too!
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Old Posted Jul 3, 2013, 2:23 AM
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Simply an amazing city.
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  #17  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2013, 2:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrnyc View Post
yup -- you got the eye sorry you missed it:

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=198843

cool to see the cistern lit up so well in your shots -- its dark in there!
Yes we walked the whole day around the Topkapi Palace and took the metro to Levent. When we was there there was a lot of conustruction and almost no pavements to walk on and my travel partner (gf) was very tired and wanted to get back to the hotel, so unfortunately I couldn't see much of the district. I also planned to see Maslak after that, but that had to get cancelled. Most people are not big fans of skyscraper districts. But we made a short stop in Sisli. Next will be Levent and Sisli.

About the cistern: It was not so hard to take pictures without flash, the columns were illuminated.
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Old Posted Jul 3, 2013, 2:43 PM
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:GRAND BAZAAR, BAZAAR AREA:

The Grand Bazaar is one of the world's oldest and largest, the largest among several in Istanbul. It has more then 3300 shops and stands, 18 portals, 7 fountains and a mosque. The covered bazaar was founded by Mehmet II in 1461. It was burnt down five times.

Grand Bazaar:
















Outside the bazaar:







http://www.worldtravelimages.net/Istanbul_Bazaar.html
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Old Posted Jul 4, 2013, 1:20 PM
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Great pics!

Jakarta looks very nice!
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Old Posted Jul 7, 2013, 5:40 PM
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amazing and surely one of the worlds top cities. i have it at the very top of my short list of places i must visit. and after your tour, i can hardly control my urge to go. thanks a bunch.
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