The Seljuk let us explore his workshop, which held various handmade items like masks, very large rings (which probably didn’t fit anyone but this man), copper busts, and most importantly, one very striking couch which was made entirely of various types of metals. The Seljuk had made this couch so large, that it didn’t fit through the workshop door. He wasn’t too keen on breaking any windows or walls to get the couch out, so presumably that was the exact reason it was still in the workshop.
In his works – along with most things in Istanbul – you can feel a very interesting intermingling of Eastern and Western cultures.
This city’s old, narrow, historic streets are full of interesting people like this gentlemen that we met. If you travel from Taksim to Istiklal, every 100 meters you can feel how Western culture merges with and then into its Eastern counterpart.
Scores of modern and high buildings slowly change into little historical buildings; you notice a decrease in the number of bars and cafes, noisy youth, and brand stores as you slowly but surely move into a different world where every corner is created and preserved by ancient, cultural and oriental values.
We spent the first two days in the European part, where we mostly at Turkish street food or roasted chestnuts and we bought beautiful souvenirs. In the evenings, we strolled around Taaksim Street and we drank beer in noisy bars.
On the third day of our journey, we moved to the Eastern part of the city to see the main tourist sites there. We started our tour of must-see places with the “Blue” Mosque – the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which is distinguished by its amazing, blue ornamented interior. Then we moved to Hagia Sophia, which left all of us astonished with its masterful blend of ancient Christian and Islamic cultures.
We also obviously visited the Basilica Cistern, whose mystical soul practically sucked us into its history.
It took us 3 times longer to see all of the places that we needed to see than it takes most tourists, as every time we would decide to leave a place, Demetre would disappear somewhere with his camera and we would have to wait for him. However, thanks to him, today we have a lot of great photos to reminisce with.
On the last day of our trip, we took a boat-ride through the Bosporus Strait and viewed the gorgeous city from afar. I would definitely suggest visiting the Bosporus bridge (which is always full of fishermen) and taking a boat-ride along the coast.
As it turns out, seven days isn’t enough to fully take in all the sights and sounds of this unique wonderland, but I’m sure the last day of my trip to Istanbul won’t be the last time I set foot in Istanbul.