ISTANBUL IN A SHORT TIME

Previous to my recent and first trip to Istanbul I heard and read a lot about the city, made some research as I always do, and of course, a list with must do's too. I was already aware that 2 nights and 3 days would never be enough to cover everything I wanted to, even so I tried to fit as much attractions as possible within this short time in a city with so much to offer like Istanbul.Even with the short time, I could visit all the attractions that were on my list, and within these 3 days I had time to visit the Galata Tower and contemplate a beautiful view of Istanbul in an early morning, watching the city waking up.This medieval stone tower was built by the Genoese in 1348 to replace the Old Galata Tower, which was destroyed by Latin Crusaders in 1204. The Galata Tower used to be the tallest building in Istanbul, 66.9 m high, constructed at 35 meters above sea level. The tower was my favorite attraction in Istanbul and it's a must, especially in the early morning.To have a very nice Turkish Breakfast nearby the Galata Tower, with tea and omelet:To cross the Galata Bridge that links the Beyoglu and the Fatih areas of the city, and provides a beautiful view of the Bosphorus.Of Byzantine architecture, the Hagia Sophia used to be a Greek Orthodox patriarchal Basilica, then an Imperial Mosque and nowadays a Museum. I particularly found it beautiful on the outside, but honestly didn't think it was an amazing place on the inside. I have seen more beautiful religious buildings, besides it really requires renovation (they were actually renovating at the time of my visit). However, it is also a must in Istanbul!I admit that I had no high expectations of this place, but once I got there I realized how impressive it is. The Basilica Cistern is the largest cistern among several others lying beneath Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), 143m high, some fishes and the famous Medusa head. To have some freshly pressed Pomegranate juice, found in almost every corner of Istanbul. If you like sour, then get one! I loved it!Called Blue Mosque because of its blue tiles, its construction was completed in 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. During my visit I wasn’t able to get inside as when I got there it was closed for prayer, so before heading there, check the opening times.It might seem silly for many of you, but what called my attention was that just beside the mosque there are individual water taps for people wash their feet, face and hands before attending the prayer. As many of you know, this is something Muslims must do before praying.To explore the Topkapi Palace and its amazing rooms and beautiful view to the Bosphorus…Of both Ottoman and Baroque architecture, the Topkapi Palace used be the residence of the Ottoman sultans for 400 years. It is nowadays a museum with holy relicts of the Muslim world, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. No doubt a must see!Useful tip: even spending a short time in the city, buy the Museum Pass, it costs 30 Euros for 3 days, and it gives you access to several attractions in Istanbul. Without the card you would spend the same price in least 3 museums, so it’s worth even for 1 day, in addition you can save time and take the faster line. Be aware that the card allows only one visit per attraction.Gourmet tip: while in Istanbul I ordered some Turkish homemade gourmet truffles at Giano. The truffles were amazing and exotic, and their service was impeccable, they delivered at my hotel and even sent me a little card wishing me a great trip!

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