(not to be) Missed Turkey & Istanbul Sites and Facts

summer 2009 / more feed with intelligence to refine your tours

some notes on my private istanbul tours

email : welldoneturkey@gmail.com / cellphone : +90 532 628-1896

your istanbul tour guide OguzKosebalaban
your istanbul tour guide OguzKosebalaban

The treasures of Turkey is both my profession and passion ( and I also explore the rest of the treasures of the world some of the other times ) and I have great joy of sharing the Turkish treasure trove with my visitors.

I am glad to express that the info at my blog mristanblue.wordpress.com began to become reference photos and background on internet for searches :

If you google as follows ; “mummy of king tabnit” , “first love letter of the world” , “better bosphorus cruise” , ” club five times a day ” , you would either come up a photo I have taken or one of my comments.

It seems like some of the common famous guide books seem to have been saving some of insights and highlights for me to share with you , like the ones above; missed, ignored or underestimated.

( For quick references from my tours , my Istanbul blog and photographic Istanbul tour pages you may click their links on the right below where it says blogroll ) .


A little more about me :

My name is Oguz Kosebalaban. I am an official professional tour guide offering private tours of Istanbul and rest of Turkey. My name Oguz has got an accent mark above the ‘g’ letter, so actually its pronunciation is as in ” He ‘owes’ me a tour of Istanbul ” :=)

I am a photographer and documentary short movie maker the other times I do not lead a tour. If you google my name you may come across some of my works. As an instance following is the pdf web file of a Turkish art magazine , the cover and the 6 pages of Istanbul sea gulls photography is my work :


As well as my guiding license by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism, I also have a bachelor’s degree from Ankara University’s Faculty of Political Sciences.

I will be glad to take you through my Istanbul time tunnel and your days in Istanbul will be as much fun as the movie “going back to future”. Or you may choose the wrong tour and end up listening to a guide repeating a text like a tape recorder; don’t risk yourself!

As a former photo-journalist of a trendy Turkish parents magazine I am into putting together a visual Istanbul guide. My blog and flickr and trekearth photo pages are as follows :




This year the a very nice compliment I received was “A Renaissance Man in a Byzantine city”. In Istanbul, all in one city you will find your self in a city, that is Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Republican Turkish western, eastern modern, orthodox, Moslem, Christian, Jewish, romantic, intriguing, vibrant, mysterious, timeless, extremely scenic, the arena for some of the most impressive events of the world history.

More Details :

About setting up a tour with a guide:

I think your quest needs to be not limited to finding the best guide; but also the best host. That is what lacks on most tours. The tour guide on a tour is usually like a working professional , not able to project a unique personality with special great features of his/her home nation.

I feel most visitors to a country also need to meet local people; qualified local people as well as the charming vendor who will offer you a taste of the black sesami, or the smell of the mastic, or a bite of the Turkish delight.

I feel in the end of my tours my visitors feel like they made a friend in Istanbul, as well as exploring one city with some of the lesser known bits of juicy unusual facts, coming from years of study.

My travel articles are frequently being quoted in my colleague’s tours. I will be glad to email you some samples. Though I am sensible enough to realize too much or too deep information over the dose kills the joy.

Some of the guides are lecturers; they keep on telling and telling an article like a text taken from a book; they add enthusiasm into this lecture as well; but if they lack in interacting; visitors end up nodding for too much ‘impressive’ information too much too digest.

Your tour guide should be a very good dose planner; to differentiate between a good medicine and the poison. Also on a private tour you have the comfort of doing what you like, but your guide should be a very good adviser: If he is too much into antiquity, you may end up visiting just old monuments of Istanbul, with little or no taste of Istanbul.

But Istanbul as a modern city also has got her charms like some of the other modern charming cities of the world that may cause addiction. I enjoy adding a flavor of well chosen new town features of Istanbul, though it could be limited to a half hour or more on a single day tour in Istanbul. I realized people enjoyed exploring the life of the citizens in Istanbul by joining them at a hip area still with some great neighborhood and monuments.

As in ‘off off Broadway musicals’ I also enjoy offering some ‘off off mainstream sites’ where immediately you may find yourself on an exotic four century old street, with unique photo opportunities.

A photographer makes a good observer; and I began converting some of my observations in Istanbul into short movies with a documentary approach. I will be glad to share some of the background at a related location if you would like to hear about my short movie works. I can also email one in which I am also playing a part, though I haven’t finished adding the English subtitles to it.

I am a certified tour guide since 1987. Private tour is the best way to enjoy a visit; I am sure experienced travelers will agree how much more enjoyable this is when compared to a tour with a bus load of people; I know because I also guide a number of those bus tours as well.

On a private tour you just experience what you like, the program includes what you like and excludes what you don’t; you do not dine at that tourist restaurant, you may either get a great local flavor or commute to your cruise ship’s buffet lunch, all as you like. Upon your arrival we can make small adjustments according to what accommodates you the best.

Some of the groups or individuals I escorted : Between 2006 and 2009 I led shore excursions for passengers from cruiseships like Wind Song, Princess, Celebrity etc

in Istanbul and Ephesus ; ( see the photos from these tours at my flickr pages ) but every year I do couple of round-trips through Turkey ; so I have enough expertise for the rest of Turkey .

* 2006 CBS TV during Pope’s visit to Istanbul.
* President of Latvia in Istanbul on a Bosphorus cruise.
* 2004 American CBS TV to do with the visit of President Bush visiting Turkey during the Nato summit in Istanbul.
* 2004 Minister of Iran visiting Turkey during Earthquake summit. -Chamber of Commerce of Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia
* Members of Museum of Art of Hong Kong 1996.
* Atache of President Bush the senior, during the President’s official visit to Ankara following ‘Gulf Crisis’.
This is a long list, so I’m cutting it short here.

Photography: I worked for some time for a renowned Turkish parents magazine as a photographer and interviewer. I like sharing my photo tips with visitors; so that you may have a great photo to be framed from a memorable visit to Turkey. I also email a great collection of print quality photos.

Description of Services:
* The entrance fees are not included in the price.
* Services begin from the hotel, pier, airport and end at the pick up point.


(*) The tours described here are offered in association with Flo-Turkey Travel agency.


Feedback from Previous Visitors:

May 2004
Dear Oguz,
I would like to thank you for the great time we had together on our tour through Greece, its islands and Turkey. You added to our trip, and we appreciate all your efforts. In the last 3 years time I traveled over 80 countries and I had over 80 tour guides. There was one that was close to you, but so far you are the best!
Sandor Milesz
Forever Living Products
Director – Hungary

June 16,1990
Dear Oguz,
Please accept my deepest thanks and profound gratitude on behalf of the entire group of Californians, for whom you made the history, culture and mythology of Turkey a living reality.
We will remember you with fondness and expect and look forward to your visit to California in the near future.
Yours Sincerely,
Rachael Balyeat
(Rachael Balyeat and Her Friends-28 day tour of turkey) quot from comments sheet, 1995: tour guide: Oguz- Superior guide. Articulate, knowledgeable, and accommodating.
Betty&Roy Hubbell ** Wood Rise, Falmouth, MA. USA

Dear Oguz,
Thanks for showing us Turkey old and new – you are a very good ambassador for your country. I shall certainly go back home with a much broader understanding of this part of the world.
Anita Starret (1996)

(10th May 1990)
My dear Oz,
I just wanted to thank you so much for adding to the interest and enjoyment of the Tour with your very well informed and witty comments. My sister and I really enjoyed the whole experience, mingled with pride and sadness when we visited my father’s grave at Hill 10 (of the Gallipoli peninsula). I enclose a very inadequate little book about Ireland- perhaps you’ll visit us one day.
Thank you again for everything
Yours very sincerely
Vangie Kennedy
Strathearn Park,
Belfast, BT4 ***,Ireland

October 27, 2009 - Posted by | 1

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