What to do on the Historical Peninsula

The place that all tourists put at the top of their sightseeing list is the Historical Peninsula, but seeing is not enough: it has to be experienced.


- Feed the pigeons in front of the Yeni Mosque in Eminönü.

- Board one of the ferries in Sirkeci that travels down the Bosphorus and share your bagel (simit) with the seagulls.

- Introduce yourself to the finer aspects of Turkish cuisine at the Konyalı Restaurant.

- Check out the miscellany made by carpenters and craftsmen in Tahtakale.

- Sample the selection of Turkish Delight in the Ali Muhiddin Hajji Bekir.

- Shop in the Spice Bazaar.

- Try Pandeli, located just above the entrance to the Spice Bazaar, open for lunch (noon to 3 p.m.). The eggplant salad is especially  recommended.

- Buy Turkish coffee from Kurukahveci Mehmed Efendi.

- Go to the Bedestan of the Grand Bazaar for jewelry.

- Pala (No. 54) in the Grand Bazaar is the address for second-hand clothes.

- Stroll through Gülhane Park beneath the high arching trees.

- On completing your visit to the Archeological Museum, enjoy a glass of tea in the museum garden among the ancient statuary.

- Make an acquaintance with traditional Turkish handicrafts in the Cafer Agha Madrasah.

- Book a room in one of the pensions of Soğukçeşme Street.

- Have a souvenir photo taken in front of the museum of Haghia Sophia and the mosque of Sultanahmet.

- Frothy Turkish coffee or tea seems to taste better in one of the sidewalk cafes in Sultanahmet Square.

- Sidewalk vendors tempt the buyer with trinkets, like the blue glass beads against the evil eye and costume jewelry, such as necklaces and rings.

- The atmosphere in the Yerebatan Cistern stimulates reflections mystical in nature. Toss a coin into the pool and make a wish.

- To have a look at the Turkish carpets and kilims at the Arastamarket.

- The award-winning Four Seasons Hotel, housed in a former prison, affords a nice view of Sultanahmet Square along with your drink.

- Sitting on one of the benches in Sultanahmet Square in the evening stimulates reveries of the past.

- Meatballs taste even better when eaten with dry bean salad in the historical Sultanahmet Meatball Restaurant.

- Enjoy the traditional nargile / shisha in the tea garden in the courtyard of the madrasah of Çorlulu Ali Pasha.

- A strolling tour of the historical wooden houses in Cankurturan and Ahırkapı is relaxing and pleasant.

- Tea beneath the giant plane tree outside the courtyard of Beyazıt Mosque is restorative to the body and soul.

- Next door is the sahaflar, the sellers of old and new books.

- Laleli is for leather of all kinds, all colors, all prices.

- If you do not want to fish like everybody else on Galata Bridge, you can have just as much fun watching them.

- Dinner on the lower level of Galata Bridge is perfect for taking in the brilliant night scene of Istanbul.

- Try some boza, a non-alcoholic beverage, slightly fizzy, made from bulgur and sprinkled with cinnamon at Vefa in Eminönü.

- Go to the Pierre Loti tea garden, simple and romantic.

- Along the south shore of the Golden Horn are a number of good places to eat fish and drink rakı.

- Many of the houses in the ancient districts of Fener and Balat are in the process of being restored.

- Around the square of Sultanahmet, the Byzantine Hippodrome, are a number of pleasant sidewalk cafes.

- One place to enjoy the atmosphere in the quarter of Süleymaniye is Lale Bahçesi.

- An afternoon can be whiled away in the exploration of the vast and impressive mosque complex of Süleymaniye.

- Then a glass of tea to revive can be sipped in the Çınar Square.

- Do not neglect to visit Süleymaniye Library, including a lot of valuable manuscripts.

- The Press Museum on the main avenue is of interest.

- Pembe Köşk (Pink Pavilion) where meetings were held in the earliest days of the Turkish Republic is on the hill leading to Cağaloğlu...

If you do these things, you are guaranteed to enjoy the Historical Peninsula.

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