Istanbul and Cultural Gems

The most exotic and wonderful place I’ve ever been is Istanbul. Istanbul’s cultural sites are cultural gems that have to be experienced to be appreciated. The Ottoman architecture such as the Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque are thousands of years old, and hold  secrets of a time when beauty and embellishment were relished as important cultural gems. Mosiacs that take your breath away reflect a time when every detail was considered in constructing space. This year, Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace and the Sophia Museum were among Turkey’s top places for cultural visits. Read this blurb from the “Daily News.”

Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia Museum and Ephesus in İzmir were the three places visited tourist sites in the first half of 2012, the Culture and Tourism Ministry has said, noting that it made over a billion Turkish Liras off of entrance fees around the country.

A total of 189 museums and 131 historical sites managed by the Culture and Tourism Ministry were visited by almost 13 million people in the first half of 2012, bringing in revenue amounting to 1.08 billion Turkish Liras, it said.

Topkapi Palace- Sultan's room

Topkapi Palace- Sultan's room


Topkapi Palace- Sultan's room

Jean Baptiste Van Mour-


If you are going to Istanbul, you must visit the Topkapi Palace. It is a masterful cultural gem of Turkey. This palace, which is a centerpiece of Ottoman culture was built in 1478, by Mehmet the Conqueror. It served as the center of Ottoman culture for 380 years. Istanbul and it’s cultural gems are rich in knitting today with a time thousands of years ago. The Turkish people are warm and inviting, and have traditions of craft and textiles that span thousands of years in a language that is embedded in pattern and texture. The bazaar is not to be missed, and will transport your senses into the realm of  beauty, history and splendor! Read the whole article here.


Cultural Travel to the Mediterranean

There are few places in the world that have the beauty of the sea, as well as history that goes back eons of time, reflected in the architecture that remains. Cultural travel to the Mediterranean is one such place, and it exists in a modern world, with thousands of years of history embedded in the environment. For starters, there is Istanbul, one of the most exotic cities in the world, and a place where ancient history is everywhere in the temples, and the palaces, and the ancient mosques. A lifetime could be spent in Istanbul alone, as the aesthetic and historical architecture will bring you to your knees. If you’re looking for history and culture, and considering travel to the Mediterranean, then perhaps you should consider a cruise.

The Bosphorus

The Bosporus as seen from Nasa


The Bosphorus from Istanbul

The Bosporus from Istanbul perspective

I visited a family in Istanbul in 2002, and had the opportunity to see the Bosporus. The ferry is a wonderful way to see history from the water. It is really a wonderful experience to take a tour on the Bosporus.

Another remarkable city is Istanbul – not least because it sits on two continents. Straddling the mighty Bosphorus in Turkey, the city sits in both Europe and Asia and with a population of over 13
million it’s one of the largest cities in the world. This unique position has made Istanbul the centre of world trade and culture for thousands of years and a melting pot of different cultures. This is one of the reasons that the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The other reason is the amazing architecture on display; ranging from ancient Roman, through Byzantine and Ottoman eras right though to modern skyscrapers – highlights being the magnificent Hagia Sophia, once the biggest Cathedral in the world before being converted into a mosque and now a museum, and the truly stunning Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque – its buildings can hold 10,000 worshipers and its distinctive dome and striking minarets puncture the city’s skyline.

Finally on this whistle-stop tour of the Med’s best cities is Spain’s beautiful Catalonian capital Barcelona. Highlights abound in this beautiful city, no matter whether you’re looking for world-class historic, cultural or sporting thrills. Of course, no trip to Barcelona would be complete without a trip to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia – whilst a little bit of a tourist cliché these days, you won’t fail to be wowed by the amazing and intricate design. You can even climb its distinctive spires for a view of the city and an opportunity to see the ornate stonework up close – although it’s not for the faint-hearted as the spiral stairs are extremely narrow in places.


Cultural travel to the Mediterranean is a rich experience that is not so difficult to do. Istanbul is really full of culture and art at its finest. The museums there, and the mosques and palaces are worthy of getting on a plane to travel there. If you have never been to this part of the world, now is the time. Don’t wait until your life creates an opening. Rather, make your plans to see those places that call you, like the Mediterranean. Go here to read more.




Cultural Travel to the Bazaar in Istanbul

Let’s face it, traveling to a distant land is challenging for anyone, especially if you’re on a budget. Learning ways to save some dollars before you set out on your adventure is a really good thing to do. Cultural travel to the bazaar in Istanbul is a trip that will spark every ounce of joy in your body. The smells, tastes, colors, spices, textiles, puppets, and just about everything else will knock your socks off….or just about knock them off. Knowing the best way to navigate to places and save on accommodations, transportation and airfare, can really make cultural travel enjoyable. Just out, is “Let’s Go Travel Guides, which offers 10 tips for going to Europe. This is a guide created by students, for students, and is one not to miss if you’re going to Europe on a dime.


The Grand Bazaar Istanbul, Turkey- Photo by Cybjorg

3. Bazaars (Istanbul): At Istanbul’s markets, American travelers should pretend they’re anything but American. Speaking a foreign language other than English translates into lower prices. It’s also smart to ignore the gimmicks found immediately upon entering the bazaar and head straight to the backstreets, where vendors are likely to have more practical products and be more receptive to bargaining.

There are many more things to do in Istanbul, as it is one of the most exotic cities in the world with historical architecture from the Ottoman period that you can gaze at for months. If you are going pick up a copy of Lonely Planet’s book, and if you’re a student, going to Europe, check out the guide below that was created by students, for students. Cultural travel to the bazaar in Istanbul is a trip you’ll remember for a long long time, and while you’re there, you can find some real treasures. Go here to read more about the guide for students.
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