Around Istanbul

My hotel was in the historic district of Sultanahmet. When the fishing village of Byzantium became the eastern capital of the Roman Empire in the 300's, this is where it was centered - the southern-most peninsula on the west side of the Bosphorus. A location with excellent defenses against attack. The area remained the center when Islamic forces finally defeated the remnant Roman Empire 1100 years later, creating the Ottoman Empire.

The city is quite modern and has a Metro, trams, light rail, etc. My wallet did get stolen while on a crowded tram, but most of my valuables were in a money belt so it was more of a nuisance than a disaster. I was lucky in getting mostly sunny days (two days of light rain) with temps often in the 50's and occasionally in the 60's. Warmer than average for year's end.

My hotel, Med Cezir, on a cobble-stone street and its excellent restaurant.

Another street around the corner, empty due to my early jetlag-induced wakeup.

You may have heard of the gritty turkish coffee, but Turks don't drink it much. They prefer tea, either black or fruit-flavored, often apple. It is usually served like this, with sugar.

The Hippodrome was the public square in Roman Constantinople. A public meeting place, sports arena, and more. It is next to the Blue Mosque. It has some ancient obelisks. The oldest is from about 1500BC and was brought in from Egypt.

Gulhane Park (gull-hah-nay) is on the eastern end of the peninsula, east of Topkapi. There is a tea shop on the bluffs overlooking the Golden Horn and Bosphorus. A nice place to spend some time.

Here is the ferry port in the neighborhood of Eminönü. It overlooks the Golden Horn. Ferries leave for various other parts of Istanbul. I used these ferries twice.

Galata Bridge crosses the Golden Horn to the neighborhood of Galata from Eminönü.

Narrow streets ascend through Galata

Approaching the Galata Tower

Istiklal Caddesi is a pedestrianized shopping street that runs along the top of the ridge above Galata. It is a restaurant and night club district for Istanbul.

After a bus ride to the north to sparser suburbs, a nice Bosphorus-side walkway goes for many miles along the water, occasionally passing commerical districts with marinas and outdoor cafes and tea shops.

New Year's Eve in Istanbul. There was a rare Dec 31 New Moon.

And fireworks visible from the hotel rooftop.

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