Christmas in Istanbul

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Although I am aware I planned to dedicate this blog to Paris however if you have read the  “About me” section, you’d understand how I am consumed with wanderlust.

“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost.”― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Detail- Arasta Bazaar, Istanbul

IMG_5487But most importantly, I am not keen on mandatory celebrations and festivities. I shy away form them. I’d rather celebrate any given day and make it a special day. Therefore I chose I fly away from Paris-la- Belle and spend Christmas in Istanbul … not Constantinople!

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Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, dancing.

I had vague memories of traveling there as a child. My fascination with Istanbul came to me in my early twenties, after reading “La nuit du Serail” de Michel de Grèce and then ” De la part de la Princesse Morte” de Kenizé Mourad. These historical novels had all the right components to enhance my already sharp ability of dreaming!

We arrived in the evening and I was stunned by the colours in the sky.

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View of The Blue Mosque from Hagia Sophia

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I fell in love with the silhouette of the city.

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As the evening grew, the majesty of The Blue Mosque became more striking. I was happy to notice the moon’s first crescent on the eve of our arrival; it added an extra touch of poetry to the picture.

Here are a few images of this magnificent Blue Mosque. How alluring and grand.

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In the day time, seagulls circle around the dome and between its 6 minarets however at night time, I swear they change into falcons! Or is it just my imagination …

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View from the Galata Bridge Asian side. Every day, from dawn to dusk, men come to fish. They seem to have their designated spots. Their stillness brings a feeling of detachment from the hustle and bustle of the city. Time has stopped.

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FullSizeRender copyHummmm…. feeling good !

Istanbul is about sights, colours and tastes so let’s have a çay before heading for more findings

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IMG_4226Tea is literally served at every street corner

IMG_3821I find a combination of grace, elegance and mystery in these little whirling dervish

IMG_5450Everything revolves, and the human being lives by means of the revolution of these particles, by the revolution of the blood in his body, and by the revolution of the stages of his life, by his coming from the earth and his returning to it.

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IMG_3822The name Pomegranate represents the health giving properties of this wonderful fruit with its ruby red seeds, native to Turkey, Iran and the Mediterranean. It also has symbolic and mythological associations with natural cycles, rebirth and renewal.

10678668_10154992745810427_946738541451307015_n“Vitamins” is the street call for pomegranate juice which is served by hundreds of vendors in the streets.

10805836_10154988804885427_5717517819620805771_nRoasted chestnuts is the most popular street snack in Istanbul. Just make sure that they are not undercooked.

10696265_10154988869295427_4320502925912941943_nSome street views remind me of Naples

1613879_10154988803315427_964168280797028159_nThe Sea of Marmara

IMG_4132Yes, this is Istanbul. Let’s head to the Bazaar, the Egyptian Bazaar

10392494_10154997620125427_7814641140896685738_nI only wish I could share the aromas

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IMG_4153We all know this is serious business : Dolmeh 

IMG_4164A meeting and socializing place as well

IMG_4162IMG_4165Açma – a ring-shaped savoury bun — a Turkish-style doughnut if you will. It’s soft but also a bit oily.

After our stroll, it’s time to visit inside some of these spectacular monuments starting with my favorite, the Blue Mosque

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Then the Hagia Sophia.

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Majestic Candelabra

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Gabriel watching over visitors

Next stop ….

Topkapi Palace. Unfortunately it was impossible for me to take pics of the precious gems resting inside the buildings

10402465_10154992740635427_7307002096432778974_nThe gardens of Topkapi Palace

IMG_4054The Harem

10369983_10154992744075427_593625727491678649_nThe Sundial is a popular curiosity. All visitors climb up the steps and observe it attentively.

1517719_10154997620315427_5019607843962893408_nEntrance to The Dolmabahce Palace

IMG_4095The Republic Monument (Turkish: Cumhuriyet Anıtı) is a notable monument located at Taksim Square to commemorate the formation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

IMG_4113The Galata Tower is the most recognizable landmark of the Golden Horn. The cylindrical tower with its conical cap rises high above all other buildings on the east bank of the Golden Horn and provides a magnificent 360 degree view of Istanbul. Not for me, though. I loathe heights since … the Eiffel Tower.

Along my promenade in Istanbul,I’d catch little winks from it and it would deepen the bond that was already established between us!

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10313646_10154988805590427_887513384437203320_nI wonder how ” Dessine moi un mouton” sounds in Turkish?

10846184_10154992745600427_8281422141634138790_nDown Istiklal Avenue, you’d find the quaintest little shops but what really impressed me was the tidiness and involvement of citizens in keeping their city clean. City Hall employees worked with diligence planting flower bulbs and keeping the city clean – Mr Kadir Topbaş, you are doing something definitely right. Madame Anne Hidalgo could benefit from.

IMG_4175Another good idea: stations in the city where you can charge your electronic device for next to nothing…

IMG_4229so you , in turns , can share your impressions of this wonderful city filled with beauty and surprises !

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Even the Muppets say:”Istanbul …. not Constantinople!”

2 comments

  1. ariane says:

    Hahahahaha 🙂 Merci Fanfan joune, je suis si heureuse que tu aies entendu ma question mais surtout que tu m’aies donne une réponse xoxo

  2. Faranak Mansour says:

    bidana gohoun tchak mana(en turque pour dire dessine moi un mouton).Bravo pour tes photos

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