Safarnama – Turkey – ISTANBUL

PHOTO-2018-04-27-13-59-52The famous Blue Mosque is seen in the background. Closed for visitors due to the renovation works inside the mosque. Took the pictures later of its interiors when I went to pray in it!PHOTO-2018-04-28-12-03-42


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Though it’s exteriors are not blue, it is referred as the Blue Mosque because of blue tiles surrounding it’s interior walls in pleasant designs. It was built between 1609 and 1616 years, during the rule of Ahmed I and Just like many other mosques, it also has a tomb of the founder, a madrasa and a hospice. I joined the congregation in the Asr (evening) prayers and learnt that over a period of time the mosque has remained neglected and is under renovation by the orders of the present regime. The beauty of the interior frescoes and design all in blue are partly visible as seen in the picture and the video.

A side entrance to the Topkapi palace. I was in for disappointment as nothing much was seen as most of the personal belongings of the Sultan were closed for visitors. Displayed in the museum are the famous sword Al Zulfiqar of Imam Hazrat Ali (PBUH) besides those of other Khalifa

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Hagia Sophia is an important monument both for Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires. Once a church, later a mosque, and now a museum of the Turkish Republic. Beautiful Calligraphy stating the words and sentences from the scriptures along with verses from the Holy Quran adorn its walls. Strange though that I did not find any other written material either on tablets, paper or in the books displayed.

In his novel Inferno, Dan Brown’s protagonist Iconographer Robert Langdon reveals to Sienna Brooks – a young genius doctor- “we are in the wrong country”, and starts following the clues that would take him to Hagia Sophia to solve the secret and to save the world.

Hagia Sophia is the only building in the world that served the three religions in the order ; Pagan, Christian Orthodox and Sunni Islam.

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It is really grand!! The Istanbul Grand Bazaar is quite mind blowing! One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world housing over 3000 shops, it is more than just a sightseeing spot. Ever since the 15th century, it has been bustling with activity. Every day locals and visitors are haggling to get the best buy for their buck.

From the recent experience few valuable bargaining tips for you at Grand Bazaar and other shops around Istanbul.

  • Never Look Too Interested

    “Namaste. I love India and Shahrukh Khan?” he said touching the base to get me hooked when I entered his shop looked around. I greeted him, checked out some pieces, made a mental inventory, took my time to point at the item I liked and casually asked the price.

  • I told him I found his price outrageous and put down the product. Didn’t look at any other product, slowly started walking towards the door while looking at the items of the shop across, which happened to sell similar items. He called me out and was quick to  make a new offer. Now the real bargaining began!
  • Don’t Name Your Best Price

    He asked what would be my best price. I remained silent, made him take the first step to put the opening bid in the bargaining process. He gave me another quote. I looked surprised and again told him that the price is outrageous, put down the product, and slowly started walking towards the door while looking at the items in the shop across.

  • Tea Time

    He called out and offered me tea, possibly to put my guard down and gain sympathy. I accepted his offer. During the sips he kept narrating his financial hardship and difficult family problems. I kept my mmm’s and oh’s going and he kept reducing the price until I got the right bargain from him.

  • What Kind of Discount Should You Aim For?

    Having had earlier similar experience in the Middle East, I did get discounts of 65% which I now feel was less! There is also no guarantee this strategy will work every time. Practice makes perfect I guess!

    As a last tip, getting angry or becoming rude will not help your bargaining, on the contrary, stay calm, and don’t lose your smile. In the end it’s just a game.

    Happy bargaining and good luck.

  • Well! My purse emptied very quickly at the Grand Bazaar as my wife’s eyes sparkled with brightness and her passion took off like a rocket!
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I love Turkish cuisine! Especially the one called ‘Pottery Kabab’! See how the cook prepares it. Ingredients in the pot included, chicken, carrots, celery root, onions, garlic, and potatoes. Be prepared to shell out three times the price for the same dish cooked by the traditional method.

The video has a little problem ; in over excitement my thumb slipped over the camera lens a bit. It can happen to anyone I suppose!!

Safarnama – Turkey- Cappadocia is next! 




4 thoughts on “Safarnama – Turkey – ISTANBUL”

  1. I like the photo’s, give the flavour of the region. The commercial mannerisms etc.,are interesting. Turkey’s cultural impact on India is enormous even though they were mainly interested in looting. .
    Ataturk did his best to westernise Turkey, but the centuries old customs and mannerisms still prevail.


    1. Most remember Ata Turk and want to carry on with his legacy, however like in most countries there are the religious fanatics who want the country to revert to the medieval way of life. The tussle continues.


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