Istanbul, Turkey

Start the music at the end of this post....

By the Sea in Istanbul. 

Along the banks of the Bosphorus sprawls the port city of Istanbul, 5th largest city in the world. This growing metropolis winds around the shores of the Golden Horn inlet and along the Sea of Marmara. The Bosporus Straight divides Europe from Asia, and Istanbul spans both continents. To the north the Bosphorus links with the Black Sea and to the south, the Marmara, which flows to the Mediterranean, via the Dardanelles. The deep natural harbours and strategic location of port Istanbul have made this ancient city, once called Constantinople, and before that Byzantium, a centre for land and sea trade.

From atop 5th century fortification walls that once protected the 'old city' from land invasion, at a place called Yedikule, we viewed ships in the distance moving through the Sea of Marmara. Here, at the Fortress of Seven Towers, we observed dozens of sea freighters transporting goods to and from Turkey and Asia to Europe and the world. The Fortress itself was under restoration, as were other parts of the fortification wall. We took a cab from our hotel, the Dersaadet, near the Blue Mosque, to Yedikule. The hotel staff were happy to completely make the arrangements for us to take this 'out of the way' excursion. The Dersaadet is a wonderful mid-sized hotel in a restored Ottoman wooden house.

Fresh fish from the docks in Istanbul
The population of Istanbul is 12 million, with another 5 million nearby. Many Turks rely upon sea transportation to commute and sea busses carry passengers between Europe and Asia, up and down the Bosporus and around the Golden Horn. The main commuter docks are in the old city, the Sultanahmet, and are crowded and lively. They are a short walk from the Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya, and other fabulous attractions. Street vendors set up shops on the sidewalk and food stalls serve fish sandwiches. On small boats men grill fresh fish to sell to shoppers, tourists and commuters. This is a terrific spot to see residents of Istanbul out for a stroll, enjoying the panoramic views of the city.

Istanbul, Turkey

Along the Bosporus to the Black Sea
For a day trip, we took a ferry from Istanbul along the Bosporus to the Black Sea and stopped at the village of Anadolu Kavagi. We climbed to a medieval castle built originally by the Byzantines. From the castle, we could see the forested banks of the Black Sea. Turkey lies on the southern shore of the Black Sea. Georgia, Russia, the Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria border around the western and northern perimeters. We had a fresh seafood lunch in the town of Anadolu Kavagi before we headed back to Istanbul.
The Black Sea

Istanbul is one of the great cities of the world, with excellent museums and attractions, great food,  interesting people and history, and a pleasing climate. It is a city on the move, with a young population. 

More to see in Istanbul.....

In the Blue Mosque

Aya Sofya

Spices at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
In Topkapi palace

A Unesco World Heritage event, Sufi dancing at the Orient Express train station in Istanbul

Mummies at the Istanbul Archeology Museums


View from our hotel window in Istanbul

Miniature paintings in Istanbul
Fish market in Istanbul

Link to the Basilica Cistern