Istanbul for Stunning Architecture and Plenty of Haggling

If I’m being perfectly honest, the architecture isn’t really something that usually attracts my attention all that much but, then again, it’s not every day that I’m somewhere with as many stunning buildings as Istanbul.

This is famous, of course, as the melting pot city where East meets West and cultures come together. It has one of the most incredible histories of any city in the world, with power of the city changing hands several times over the city and many different cultures leaving behind a powerful legacy.

Hagia Sophia

If you want to start your trip with a stunning example of how rich the history of Istanbul is then head to the quite magnificent Hagia Sophia. This is now a museum over the centuries since it was built it has served as an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral, a Roman Catholic Cathedral and an Islamic Mosque. This means that it is the only religious building in the world that has served as a place of worship for three different religions. The famous dome is the highlight of this marvelous structure, as the light shines it really does look as though the massive dome is floating off to the heavens.

The Blue Mosque

If one of the world’s finest buildings isn’t enough for you, Istanbul throws another one at you. The Blue Mosque is more correctly known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. It’s called the Blue Mosque by most people because, well, you can probably guess why. It is another magnificent building with a lot of history behind it. It is when I walk into buildings like this that I really wish I had studied architecture, in order to appreciate it more fully. Instead, I can just look at and marvel at the tiles, the domes and the windows, just like everyone else does.

The Markets

índiceOnce you get your fill of architectural gems it is time to head off to the market. This Turkish city is crammed with markets of all sorts. The biggest and most exciting of all is the massive Grand Bazaar. This is one of the biggest and oldest covered shopping areas in the whole world. Thousands of shops line dozens of streets, with just about everything you could hope to buy on display. Another fine place to head to is the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. There are more than just spices on sale here, with fruits, coffee, nuts and all sort of other stuff also on display. However, the wonderful smell coming from the spices here means that this is a fantastic place to go in order to close your eyes and just soak up the feeling of being in such an exotic place. There are some incredibly high quality goods on sale all across the markets in Istanbul but there are also cheaper, lower quality items as well. Do some research before you go and find out what sorts of things offer the best value here and how to check if they are genuine or not.

The Haggling    

Some people worry about the haggling aspect of buying things in Istanbul’s markets. While this is something you might not be used to, it can be a lot more fun than you might think. The vendors certainly seem to enjoy a bit of haggling, and you would be well advised to relax and do the same. The seller might offer you some tea while you try to reach a price that suits both of you, so you could settle down and enjoy this with him. If it’s your first time haggling it’s unlikely that you’ll outsmart an experienced salesperson but you can enjoy the experience of giving it a go.

One Response to Istanbul for Stunning Architecture and Plenty of Haggling

  1. 2wisemonkeys says:

    Istanbul is amazing!! We love this city and wish we had more time there. Will have to go back one of these days!
    2wisemonkeys recently posted…weekly photo challenge: containersMy Profile

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