Rishi Sankar: Ah Trini Travelogue

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Turkey, I’m coming for you … planning 72 hours in Istanbul

Posted by Rishiray on June 14, 2012


Well I can’t say I’m not excited by my upcoming Turkish adventure, coming on the heels of a three week spree through Finland,Estonia, Latvia and then directly on to Guatemala and El Salvador. The following weeks look something like this

  • Finland, Estonia and Latvia :  June 28th – July 5th
  • Guatemala & El Salvador : July 5th – July 15th
  • Spain, Turkey and Greece : July 19th – August 10th

Can’t say I’m not stoked at the possibility of Cappadocia and running around rampant in Istanbul for 72 hours with cameras in hand at the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia.

Istanbul site-seeing delivers like no other place. The sheer magnitude of the Hagia Sophia, light in the Topkapi Palace, over-the-top Roccoco madness that is Dolmabache Palace (supposedly where the last Sultans went broke — a 6 ton crystal chandelier might just have brought down an Empire), detailed Byzantine mosaics at Chora Church, enormous domes of each and every mosque, quiet pools of darkness at the Cistern, hipper than hip fashions at the night clubs and restaurants, contemporary art at Istanbul Modern, smells of the Spice Bazaar . . Leela Cyd (2010)

72 hours in Istanbul takes a lot of planning, but yet again the internet makes things stupid easy for me. How did people travel before the internet, makes me think about dog eared travel books, fumbling through pages, and getting completely lost or disoriented in 12 languages.

Below you’ll find an overview (in alphabetical order) of what is open when and how long (Completely copied from IstanbulTrails.com … and his list of Istanbul City Tips is a COMPLETE MUST READ … man I wish I had the energy to write like this)

  • Archaeological Museums (Arkeoloji Müzeleri)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 17.00, no entrance after 16.00
    Closed: Monday, and until 12.00 on the first day of religious holidays
  • Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıcı)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 17.30
    Closed: until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays
  • Big Palace Mosaic Museum (Büyük Saray Çinileri Müzesi)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 16.30
    Closed: Monday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays
  • Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)
    Open: daily from 09.00 till dusk
    Closed: 30 min before until 30 min after prayer time, 2 hours during Friday noon prayer
  • Çadır Pavilion (Çadır Köşkü)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 22.00
    Closed: no closing days
  • Dolmabahçe Palace (Dolmabahçe Sarayı)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 16.00
    Closed: Monday, Thursday, January 1st and the first days of religious holidays
  • Egyptian or Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı)
    Open: daily from 08.00 – 19.00
    Closed: Sunday, October 29th and the full duration of religious holidays
  • Fethiye Museum (Fethiye Müzesi)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 16.30
    Closed: Wednesday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays
  • Fortress of Europe (Rumeli Hisarı)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 16.30, no entrance after 16.00
    Closed: Wednesday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays
  • Fortress of Seven Towers (Yedikule Hisarı)
    Open: daily from 08.00 – 16.00
    Closed: no closing days
  • Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 20.00
    Closed: no closing days
  • Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı)
    Open: daily from 08.30 – 19.00
    Closed: Sunday, October 29th and the full duration of religious holidays
  • Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Müzesi)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 17.00
    Closed: Monday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays
  • Harem (Harem)
    Open: daily from 09.30 – 17.00, lunch break from 12.00 – 12.30
    Closed: Tuesday, and until 12.00 on the first day of religious holidays
  • Imperial Porcelain Factory (Yıldız Porselen Fabrikası)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 12.00 and 13.00 – 17.00
    Closed: Saturday, Sunday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays
  • Kariye Museum (Kariye Müzesi)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 16.30
    Closed: Wednesday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays
  • Malta Pavilion (Malta Köşkü)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 22.00
    Closed: no closing days
  • Süleymaniye Mosque (Süleymaniye Camii)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 17.30
    Closed: during prayer time
    Note: due to restoration, till 2010 only a small part of the mosque is open
  • Şale Pavilion (Şale Köşkü)
    Open: daily from 10.00 – 16.00
    Closed: Monday and Thursday
  • Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı)
    Open: daily from 09.00 – 17.00
    Closed: Tuesday, and until 12.00 on the first day of religious holidays
  • Turkish & Islamic Art Museum (Türk İslam Eserleri Müzesi)
    Open: daily from 09.30 – 16.30
    Closed: Monday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays
  • Tünel (Tünel)
    Open: daily from 07.00 – 21.00
    Closed: no closing days
  • Yıldız Palace (Yıldız Sarayı)
    Open: daily from 09.30 – 16.30
    Closed: Tuesday, and until 13.00 on the first day of religious holidays
  • Yıldız Park (Yıldız Korusu)
    Open: day and night
    Closed: no closing days

Here is an itinerary builder with an overview of the main attractions, grouped by type. (Completely copied from Wahyu Family in Qatar)

Museums

  • Archaeology Museums (Arkeoloji Müzeleri)
  • Harem (Harem) of Topkapi Palace
  • Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)
  • Istanbul Modern
  • Military Museum

Palaces

  • Dolmabahçe Palace (Dolmabahçe Sarayı)
  • Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı)
  • Beylerbeyi Palace

Mosques

  • Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)
  • Süleymaniye Mosque (Süleymaniye Camii)
  • New Mosque (Yeni Camii)
  • Rustem Pasa Mosque
  • Other mosques: Kucuk Aya Sofia, Nuruosmaniye Camii, Beyazit Camii, Yeni  Valide Camii,

Places of Interest

  • Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıcı)
  • Bosphorus Cruise
  • Flower Passage (Çiçek Pasajı)
  • Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi)
  • Golden Horn (Haliç)
  • Hippodrome (At Meydanı)
  • Istiklal Street (İstiklal Caddesi)
  • Taksim Square (Taksim Meydanı)
  • Pierre Lotti Café
  • Miniaturk
  • Ortakoy
  • Uskudar and Kadikoy
  • Camlica Hills

Entrance Fee

Listed below is entrance fee to top major sights in Istanbul. No entrance fee to bazaars, mosques, and tombs. However, at some tomb places donation is voluntarily requested (I’ll definitely have to put this together in a spreadsheet)

  • Topkapi Palace  20 TL, children free
  • Topkapi Palace Harem   15 TL
  • Hagia Sophia      20 TL, children free
  • Basilica Cistern  10 TL, children free
  • Archaelogical Museum  10 TL, children free
  • Miniaturk 10 TL
  • Dolmabahce Palace, 20 TL, children free
  • Galata Tower, 10 TL
  • Camlica Hill, free
  • Naval Museum, 4 TL
  • Istanbul Modern, 7 TL
  • Chora Church, 10 TL
  • Military Museum, 4 TL
  • Sufi Dance, 35-40 TL, children under 15 25 TL (including refreshment)
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