Travel: Istanbul

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Last week I was lucky to take a short trip to Istanbul, partly to meet Tabanlioglu Architects, who are curating the first Turkish pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale next month. We had a chance to see a couple of their projects, from the tallest tower in Istanbul, Sapphire (there is a mini golf course on the 50-something floor!), to residential projects and Istanbul Modern, a former abandoned warehouse transformed into a modern art museum in 2004. Istanbul Modern has a great exhibition titled Past and Future, which showed the transformation of modern and contemporary art in Turkey, from early work, which attempted to copy the European artists in the 18th and 19th centuries, to the present day. There was also a couple of sculptures some of my favourite artists outside of Turkey, including Olafur Eliasson.

During my visit I stayed in the Pera Palace hotel, one of the oldest hotels in the city, with one of the oldest (and slightly rickety) lifts to match. It was the first building in Turkey to be powered by electricity other than the Ottoman palaces and hosted Ernest Hemingway and Agatha Christie among others. On the last afternoon I explored the Grand Bazaar and New Mosque (I had been to Istanbul a few years ago, so decided to avoid the heavily touristy Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque). It was lovely weather and the views across the Galata bridge, with all the fishermen and minarets in the distance was superb. There is something very special about this connection, between Europe and Asia, between the Ottoman architecture and the newer additions further afield. Below are just a few of my photos from my visit, using my iphone and DSLR.

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Images: my own

I stayed: The Pera Palace Hotel Jumeirah, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No: 52, 34430 Tepebaşı Beyoğlu, Istanbul, Turkey

I ate at: Ulus 29– the best mezze of the trip and a lovely dish of seabass wrapped in spinach and tarihi karaköy balıkçısı– a fantastic fish restaurant.

I shopped at: Abdulla, Grand Bazaar- delicious soaps, perfumes and hammam washcloths and towels, just keep an eye on your money, two of my friends were short changed.


  1. I was in Istanbul over ten years ago and loved it. Amongst other amazing sites, I will never forget the fresh mackerel sandwich on the harbour, served directly from the fishing boats. Your post made me want to return to this wonderful city. Thank you!

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