This is a sponsored guest post.
Why did we call the article this way? Because when you fly to Istanbul, you spontaneously transport from reality to a fairy tale where Europe meets with Asia, where you can live in a carved box and eat from a magic pot. And the name of this fairy tale is “Istanbul”. Experts of “write my essay” requests have something to show you.
Miracles happen once you have arrived in Istanbul. Every man and his dog talk about a new ultra-modern giant airport that was recently opened, and there are really a lot of things to see. When it reaches its full capacity, it will become the largest airport in the world and will receive 150,000,000 passengers per year. It serves 350 cities, 150 airlines, and employs 100,000 employees. There are 500 check-in stations, and the overall length of the baggage line is 42 km. If your child or more likely, your husband gets lost at Istanbul airport, an online dispatcher will give them a hand. All they need to do is just to press the button, and the airport employee appears on the screen.
Gastronomic Guide to Istanbul
Before we begin, here is a little advice for you. Do not start your trip to Istanbul being hungry. Otherwise, you will not see even the Blue Mosque. You will be captured by the smell of juicy kebab, mackerel in pita bread, and lamb steaks in spices. You will be stunned by the aroma of honey walnut baklava. You will barely restrain yourself so as not to lash out on a hot, crunchy bagel (simit). Street food in Istanbul is a separate type of entertainment. Here, waiters and sellers want to sell you more impressions than doners. Attention! Hungry individuals are forbidden to read further!
There is a small gastronomic expedition around Istanbul in 5 minutes or guide to dishes you need to try to taste in Istanbul.
The first thing is a Testi (or pottery) kebab. Do not be scared when the waiter’s tray is burning, it is how they are supposed to serve that dish – in a clay pot on burning salt. Testi kebab is meat with vegetables which were stewed for 4 hours in a closed earthen pot to preserve the flavor of each ingredient. It is a perfect option if you want to feed the whole family!
For the next gastronomic experience, go to Kral Kokoreç shop located on Buyuk Postane street and taste guess what? Kokoreç. It looks like a sausage or fat larva. Sounds not so delicious but wait till you know what it is made of. Kokoreç is the offal of a young lamb: heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver lightly wrapped with lamb guts that look like ropes. They chop the whole mess, add vegetables, spices, and put in a loaf. Why would we recommend you (or better your husband first) taste this dish? Because despite of an unappetizing composition, it is really tasty! Who knows, maybe the expression “don’t judge a book but its cover” comes from Istanbul streets.
While your husband is finishing lamb guts for $2, you can try lamb cheeks. It is the tenderest meat of a young lamb, there is only half a pound of such meat in one lamb. Cheeks are stewed with apricot, spinach, barberries, and almonds. It does not even melt; it dissolves in the mouth.
For a sweet experience, go to Istanbul ice cream makers. Your children will love their performance! Local ice cream (dondurma) is a whole presentation. The master skillfully juggles with a horn (just like a circus performer) and teases buyers. Actually, to perform such tricks, local ice-cream makers undergo a special training course. It is totally worth $5. Moreover, you don’t have to blame yourself after eating one. This ice-cream is made of goat milk and orchid tuber flour.
And last but not the least – when we start our day with porridge, the Turks start it with the dish of kaymak (i. e. buffalo milk mousse with honey). You definitely want to taste it!
Hotel Guide to Istanbul
In the entire history of Istanbul, it was ruled by 10 Roman emperors, 30 Ottoman sultans, and 80 Byzantine leaders. So, to feel the luxuries of these times and to see how the rich Arab sheiks lived, we suggest you choose something like Ajwa Hotel instead of Four Seasons or Hyatt.
Oriental luxury meets you once you have stepped out the door of that hotel. It seems that the whole building is covered out of marble. At the entrance, you are greeted with oriental sweets. In ordinary hotels, they give juice. In luxury hotels, they give champagne. And here… What do you think? Holy water from Mecca. Every room has a piece of handmade thread, silk Tabriz carpets, wood furniture with mother-of-pearl inserts.
Attraction Guide to Istanbul
A little advice – come up to this tower in the evening to see all the beauty. Just imagine, it has been standing here since the 5th century! It was a guard, a lighthouse, a fire tower, an observatory, and even a prison. Istanbul is so beautiful from above. Only in Istanbul you can go to the observation deck and see not just the evening city but the meeting of two worlds: Europe and Asia. They are connected by bridges. They wink at lights and sing muezzin songs to each other.
Asian Part of the City
In the European part of Istanbul, the tourist will find everything one’s soul needs: palaces, ruins, towers, and cafes. But on the second day of your family trip, we recommend you to visit the Asian part of Istanbul. It is like a large housing area with a new business center and skyscrapers. What can a family of four see in here? For example, the new pompous mosque of Chamlydzha – the largest one in Turkey for the construction of which they spent $40,000,000! Islamic architecture is full of symbolism. In the courtyard, there is a fountain for ablutions. Believers must wash their hands and feet before entering the mosque.
All the marble, granite, and gilding columns are not imported but collected from all over Turkey. What does a 21st-century mosque look like? At first glance, there is a mihrab arc which indicates the direction of Mecca, minbar – the tribune which the imam reads Friday sermon from, mosaic on the walls, and quotes from Koran. But suddenly, instead of stairs, they installed elevators here. And the schedule of prayers is now represented not on the plate but the plasma. In addition to the mosque itself, there is a conference hall, a library, a museum, an exhibition complex, and 4 floors of parking for 500 cars. All of that is under the mosque!
Bosporus is one of the main attractions of Istanbul. The Bosporus Strait is a reminder of the biggest catastrophe in the history of mankind – the Flood. There used to be mountains in its place. An earthquake caused a rift here, through it, the waters of the Sea of Marmara poured into the lake which was in a place of the Black Sea. There was a waterfall that lasted 300 days and was 30 times higher than Niagara in terms of water volume. Today, the Bosporus Strait is the busiest street of Istanbul. Take a ride on a boat to experience all shades of excitement.
Istanbul residents have a special love for cats. They are, literally, everywhere. City’s streets host more than 150,000 homeless cats. Why so many? There is a beautiful legend that the cat saved the prophet Muhammad from a poisonous snake. As gratitude, the prophet gave the cat 9 lives and the ability to land on 4 legs. Since then, in Muslim countries, cats are considered semi-sacred animals which are allowed to enter the mosque. That is why it is another attraction for tourists.
Turkish TV series have taken the world! Now, they have even surpassed the Brazilian ones! The Magnificent Century (Muhteşem Yüzyıl), the Pit (Çukur), Endless Love (Kara Sevda) – all of that is not just a gobbledegook, that is the names of the Turkish series which were filmed in these decorations. In Istanbul, everyone is just crazy about such TV shows. Portraits of actors look at you from every café. The owner would hang them if a celebrity visited his restaurant to eat kebabs. You can easily witness another shoot right around the corner.
So, it should not come as a surprise that a separate type of tourism appeared in Istanbul – a walk through the filming sites of Turkish TV series. It is not Game of Thrones, and you do not have to visit Iceland to see the cave where Jon Snow and Ygritte…well, reached an agreement. Visit Vefa Bozacisi café which they filmed a scene from the Endless love in and sit at the Nihan and Kemal’s table. Go to Aksoy Antik to see the place where Nihan and Kemal bought the lamp. It may sound not so exciting for you if you are not a fan of Turkish movies, so watch just one series of The Magnificent Century and then we will talk. Moreover, there will be one more reason to visit a sacred place – the Suleymaniye Mosque.
They say that it is impossible to sit on two chairs at the same time. However, you realize that Istanbul managed to fit in on two shores, on two continents, and even in two worlds. Is not it a good reason to travel to Istanbul with your family?