Monday, 26 January 2009

Final day in Istanbul: Going Asian

Turkish flags marking Victory Day in Kadıköy, Asian Istanbul

We spent our last morning in Istanbul taking a trip to the neighbourhood of Kadıköy, which is in the Asian part of Istanbul on the east side of the Bosphorus strait. A big part of the experience was the boat trip over there, and since we didn't have much time left we had to settle for a short but nevertheless enjoyable stroll. This day also happened to be a national Turkish holiday - Victory Day - which commemorates the victory at the final battle in Dumlupınar ending the Turkish Independence War in 1922 and is dedicated to the country's armed forces. Part of the celebration on this day is the hanging of Turkish flags everywhere you look and various displays and events honouring the Turkish military.

On the same night we took our flight to Delhi, making this the only time I have travelled from Europe to Asia twice in the same day.

Our ride across the Bosphorus

A small boat in front of a big palace (not sure which one it is)

It's a bit hazy in the background yet you can see some of the enormous flags which cover the whole side of very tall buildings.

Small neighbourhood Mosque and some very nmodern looking apartment buildings.

Approaching Kadıköy you easily spot its most famous attraction. A big hot air baloon going up every 15 minutes. Due to lack of time we had to save this experience for our next visit.

Memorial display which I believe to be for fallen Turkish soldiers

The Kadıköy baloon seen between two hanging flags

In fact there were many flags in the harbour area

Charming little church in Kadıköy

Olives

Nitoli in front of a nice, leafy street with many restaurants.

And finally a few locals, which I thought made interesting motifs:

Friends?

Worried or just buried in throughts?

This concludes my series of posts from Istanbul, which as you can see is an amazing city. But now I can get back to my Indian adventures...

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace seen from the Bosphorus Strait

Topkapi Palace was the home of the rulers of Istanbul from the mid-1400s to some time in the 19th century. The palace generally comes recommended as one of the prime tourist attractions of Istanbul. For me, personally, it wasn't an earth shattering experience visiting the palace, but it does have a commanding position overlooking the Bospherus strait and there are some good exhibits inside (photography not allowed). But the palace is difficult to take pictures of, since there is not one defining building (like for instance Versailles) but rather a sprawling complex of connected buildings. Nevertheless I did do my best to capture the atmosphere of the place,:

Gateway to the palace

The Gate of Felicity leading to the third courtyard, which was off limits to all but the royal family and their closest servants

Member of what is probably some revival Ottoman Military Band playing and singing songs for the tourists

Another band member. This guy does not look very Turkish to me.

Even if you dress in all-black yourself doesn't mean you can't talk pictures of guys in colourful uniforms

A corner of the royal library

Colourful flowers inside the Palace gardens

A pavillion and a small pool

Nitoli enjoying the great views of the Bospherus from the palace gardens

Also a great view to the Galata Tower

The local men and boys actually bathe in the water, as you see here. I don't think it's very clean, but hey back home in India people also bathe in the polluted Ganges

The road leading from the palace back into the hustle and bustle of the city