Istanbul - Street scenes and The Bosphorus

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Arriving on a Sunday, we planned a day out in the sunshine to help acclimatise to the new time zone. So, we took the tram passed the Sultanahmet, over the Bosphorus and into the region known as Beyoglu. Then we used the funicular railway (sadly underground) to get up to Taksim Square and start on a long walk down Istiklal Caddesi to the Galata Tower. In the centre of Taksim Square (shown above) was the Republic Memorial (shown below).                                         

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Many visitors were having their photo taken in front of this memorial, then stopping at one of the many vendors selling hot chestnuts, corn-on-the-cob, or huge steemed mussels with fresh lemons; lemons like you never tasted before!

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Here is a chestnut seller, preparing his goods. They are cooked on a hot griddle and displayed in a very attractive manner. Shame to say they were not as sweet and tasty as the chestnusts sold on the streets of Hong Kong!

Down the centre of the Istiklal Caddesi runs a tram, and many youngsters clung onto the back to get a free ride.

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Despite being a Sunday, this street was heaving with people. Not all the shops were open, but that didn’t seem to matter. People were out for a stroll in typical European fashion. What was striking at first was the number of men on the streets; whole gangs of them!

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After taking diversions down side streets and staring at all the glorious looking Turkish Delights in the sweet shops, we arrived at the Galata Tower, a 14th century building looking out over the Golden Horn. There was a very long queque to enter this tower, but the view of the Bosphorus as the sun was setting was magnificent. You can walk around the outside of the tower, but mostly in single file, and everyone seemed to be preoccupied with taking photos of themselves rather than observing the changing scenery as the sun went down. So, here are a collection of photos as the sun was setting.

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Above is a view of the Galata Bridge and the Sultanahmet area on the far side, studded with mosques. From left to right: the Haj Sofia, the Blue Mosque, the New Mosque (by the water front) and the Nuruosmaniye Mosque on the skyline.

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This is the 5th century Haj Sofia; perhaps not the most beautiful looking mosque from the outside, but a real stunner on the inside.

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This is the 17th century Blue Mosque; far more elegant than the Haj Sofia on the outside, but much less specatular on the inside.

After our first tour around the outside of the tower, we relaxed inside drinking sherbets and eating baklava. As I noticed the colours of the sun setting, I decided to take another tour. The crowds prevented me from getting the shot I was after, but here are some more images anyway.

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The remaining photos here are various streets scenes, starting with people near and on the Galata Bridge. I must say that the fishermen here did not seem to be getting too much of a catch though.

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One most enjoyable aspect of Istanbul was the cafe culture. You could sit outside for hours, drinking milkless tea or freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, and keep up to date via the Wifi connections. Even though shopkeepers would be hustling every passerby, escape and relaxation were easy to find.

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I am weary of taking photos of people, but their features are equally as interesting as the buildings. Still, not everyone wants to have their photo taken, so my apologies to the gentleman below.

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Road conditions in the old part of Istanbul make transportation tricky, so you still see plenty of physical labour moving goods around; not the donkey carts though that Lawrence saw when he was here some 40 years ago!

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Outside the New Mosque were hoards of pigeons; perhaps this is why the place was so full of feral cats?

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For Hongkongers, the Umbrella Movement is still active in October 2014, so I just had to include this photo as a brief visual reminder.

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© Helen Gray 2020