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

summer 2009 / more feed with intelligence to refine your tours

Common Mistakes of visitors to Istanbul

1. Walking tour of Old Town

If you have not been walking and standing for 8 hours ( from 9am  to 5pm)  your following day will be ruined with your exausted body from this strenous day.

Yes,  staying  in the old town close to the monuments is a benefit, but most people are not equipped  for a tiring tour like this. If you are over  20 year old and not a sportsmen, or a goaty traveller who is used to many hours of walking ( agreable distances )  and standing a full day walking tour is too much.

It should be half a day walking tour ,  good combination can be a  Bosphorus cruise, drive along the Golden Horn with a cable car ride to Pierre  Loti  hill at Eyup district with a brief stop at the Islaimc sacred sites ,  or Ottoman Band performance.

 

 

2.  Bosphorus Cruise :

a. 10.35 departure of city lines IDO ( pier is across Spice Market , right side of Galata bridge )  is packed; go for the next one at about  12 o’clock , and there is one more that loops and brings you back ( see my article about it ) ;   it explores both European and Asiatic shores, and offers more.

b.  If you have the insight of identifying the difference between quantity and quality ; take a shorter ( one hour)  cruise  from Ortakoy ( again see my article about it  browse this blog or  google “bitter bosphorus cruise” )  : Because the city transportation boat is not the rifgt type of boat for a pleasurable scenic Bosphorus experience. The limited outdect areas are all taken and you get stuck behind tiny windows.

3. Topkapi Palace & Hagia Sophia 

In summer when Istanbul is packed , there are lines to buy a ticket for these museums ( Yes, the Byzantine Cathedral Hagia Sophia is also a museum ) ; and especially the treasury section of Topkapı Palace gets packed ( three tours groups alone make 120 visitors lined up outside it )  :

 Your best bet in summer time when the palace is open until 7p.m ( last entrance 6 p.m. , indoor areas get closed from 6.30 on )   just get in the palace at 5 p.m. ;  or 4.30 p.m. if you will also visit the Harem ( extra ticket sold inside , at its entrance for about 10$ US ) , and beat the crowds : Tour groups tend to go back to their hotels by 5 p.m. , orelse head for the bazaars by 4 pm ; as a result you have a big chance of having a leisurely tour especially from 5.30 on in the palace.

Originally , if you are staying for 5 or more days in Istanbul , you may plan like a little less then half  a day for this palace alone, others will come back to Istanbul anyways.

4.   Asiatic Istanbul

This is a good experience to non touristy Istanbul missed by over 90% of the visitors.  Consider a dinner escape to Asia, Kadikoy district. Easy to commute by city lines boat from Eminonu ( Across Spice Market , Kadikoy pier ) . Kadikoy has got a nice walking district, produce market with many restaurants. Ciya is also here, but fine restaurants in districts of Kalamis, Moda, Canak Rest.  of Acibadem are easily accessible from here.

5.  Ottoman Military Band    performs in the Military Museum at 3 p.m.closed on mon and tue  3.30 pm is second half. comes with 6 min video , 60 members in original Ottoman costume , admission fee: few liras , 2$ or so.

Although this can be combined with any tour to the new town ( Taksim Square – Istiklal Street )  visitors get tired from the 1000 advises of their guide books and end up missing this one.

6. Historical Turkish Bath visit  for a non-bather

Especially Cağaloğlu Turkish Bath is a good brief experience, browsers  are welcome since they are potential customers.  Its lounge area is full of character, including the masseur characters hanging in that area , but not limited to that.  This can be included to your walking route to the Grand Bazaar, from Hagia Sophia, past  the entrrance of Basilica Cİstern on the same street.

7.  Courtyard of New Mosque

This should be included to any tour of  Spice Market. This courtyard is a good example to less is more; those grand mosques , Blue or Suleymaniye can nor compete with the charmingly decorated well proportioned courtyard of Blue Mosque.  

 

 

 

 

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September 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Common Mistakes of visitors to Istanbul

Post Ramadan Holiday September 09 -12 2010 – Istanbul museum hours

Ramadan Holiday  (09-12 Sep 2010)   – Post Ramadan holiday museum opening times ( these dates will be similar in August – September 2011 ) :

Ramadan Holiday in Turkish is Ramazan Bayramı,  it follows the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. Turkey is secular , however , the museum times are influenced.  Following Ramadan holiday, within September, most museum’s opening time will be similar to what it is on the second or third day.

Best time to go to Topkapi Palace is 2 hours before it closes, best time to go to Dolmabahce in summer is right when it opens in the morning; orelse there are long cues, or in the afternoon the visitor capacity of the palace finishes. If you have a guide, your guide purchases your ticket for you without waiting on the line for most of the museums : Exception :  Dolmabahce Palace. The tickets can be booked through a travel agency if you book your tours through a travel agency , but minimum about 3 days in advance.  I also offer Dolmabahce reservations through my associate authorised travel agencies.

Topkapi Palace (Tel: 0212 512 04 80):

1st day   opens pm  at 13:00  last entrance 18:00, closes at :19:00

2nd day    open between   09:00-19:00 last entrance 18:00

3rd day         ”         ”       09:00-19:00  last entance 18:00

Ayasofya Muzeum   ( Hagia Sophia – St. Sophia ) (Tel: 0212 522 09 89):

1st day   opens pm  at 13:00  last entrance 18:00, closes at :19:00

2nd day    open between   09:00-19:00 last entrance 18:00

3    day    open between   09:00-19:00 last entrance 18:00

Kariye  ( Chora )  Muzesi: (Tel: 0212 631 92 41):

1st day   opens pm  at 13:00  last entrance 18:00, closes at :19:00

2nd and 3rd  day    open between   09:00-19:00 last entrance 18:00

Dolmabahce (Palace ) Sarayi: (Tel: 0212 236 90 00):

  1. day closed
  2. day open bet  09:00-17.00 last entrance  16:00
  3. day   ”       ”   09:00-17      ”        ”        16:00

Istanbul Arkeoloji Muzeleri: (Tel: 0212 520 77 40):

  1. 1st day   opens pm  at 13:00  last entrance 18:00, closes at :19:0
  2. day     open bet.   09:00-19:00   last entrance  18:00
  3. day     open bet.   09:00-19:00   last entrance  18:00

Efes Muzesi: (Tel: 0232 892 60 10):

  1. gun ogleden sonra acik, acilis 13:00, kapanis 19:00, son giris 18:30
  2. gun 08:30-19:00 arasi acik, son giris 18:30
  3. gun 08:30-19:00 arasi acik, son giris 18:30

Efes Orenyeri: (Tel: 0232 892 60 10): Acik

1. gun 08:30-19:00 arasi acik, son giris 18:30

2. gun 08:30-19:00 arasi acik, son giris 18:30

3. gun 08:30-19:00 arasi acik, son giris 18:30

Ankara Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi: (Tel: 0312 324 31 60-61):

  1. gun ogleden sonra acik, 13:00 acilis, kapanis saati 18:30, son giris 17:30.
  2. gun acik, 08:30-18:30 arasi acik, son giris 17:30
  3. gun acik, 08:30-18:30 arasi acik, son giris 17:30

Antalya Muzesi: (Tel: 0242 238 56 88):

  1. gun ogleden sonra acik, 13:00-19:00 saatleri arasinda acik, son giris 18:30
  2. gun acik, 09:00-19:00 arasi acik, son giris 18:30
  3. gun acik 09:00-19:00 arasi acik, son giris 18:30

Goreme Acikhava Muzesi: (Tel: 0384 271 21 67):

  1. gun ogleden sonra acik, 13:00-19:00 arasi acik, son giris 18:15
  2. gun acik, 08:00-19:00 arasi acik, son giris 18:15
  3. gun acik , 08:00-19:00 arasi acik, son giris 18:15

Grand Bazaar  Kapalicarsi: (Tel: 0212 522 31 73):  Sep 8 open all day ,

closed during post ramazan holiday  (9,10,11,12 Sep) and following sunday

Egyptian Bazaar Misir Carsisi: (Tel: 0212 522 55 92):

closed during post ramazan holiday  (9,10,11,12 Sep) and following sunday

Basilica Cİstern Yerebatan Sarnici : (Tel: 0212 512 15 70):

1st day   opens pm  at 13:00  last entrance 18:30, closes at :19:00

2nd and 3rd  day    open between   09:00-19:00 last entra

September 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment