[ Twin Traveller ] 30 Days in 3 Countries Part 2 - "A Journey in the Ancient Kingdom of TURKEY" written by Twin Traveller

Hi everyone! We are back. You can go to talk to us or look through our previous travel reviews in different places here. https://www.facebook.com/TwinTraveller http://twintravellerblog.com Our journey by car through Turkey will be 15 days in total. The li

[ Twin Traveller ] 30 Days in 3 Countries Part 2 - "A Journey in the Ancient Kingdom of TURKEY"

[ Twin Traveller ] 30 Days in 3 Countries Part 2 - "A Journey in the Ancient Kingdom of TURKEY"



Hi everyone! We are back.

You can go to talk to us or look through our previous travel reviews in different places here.

https://www.facebook.com/TwinTraveller

http://twintravellerblog.com



Our journey by car through Turkey will be 15 days in total. The list of cities that we are going to is including Trabzon, Erzurum, Dogubeyazıt, Van, Mardin, Cappadocia, Antalya, Pamukkale, Bodrum, Izmir, Ephesus, and Istanbul. We will talk about the direction and the need-to-know information in details throughout the trip. Therefore, it will be easy for you to travel to these places later on. If you are ready, let's go!



DAY1


After the immigration check at Garanti Sarp Sınır Kapısı Bağlı Şubesi, the border between Georgia and Turkey is done, we are back in the car going to Trabzon. We see a gigantic Black Sea on the way. It is so beautiful and calm. It takes us more than 3 hours to get to Trabzon. Actually, we have just realized that we have reserved a car from this town at the airport. So we ask the driver to drop us off there right away. At the airport, you need to go downstairs to the car rental service center. There are numbers of car rental services here. However, we have reserved a car online in advance with one of them already so we need to stick to that. After all the paper works and agreements are done which we will drop the car off in Izmir at the end, we are ready to depart to the very first destination in Turkey now.



Lake Uzungol



We have got some problem with the GPS so we need to drive to a city center first. We need to get the sim card as well as money exchanged. But it is not easy to find them though. We have ended up finding everything until 4 PM roughly. Well, now we can really depart to the first destination of Lake Uzungol although it is a little too late to catch the last light of the day when we get there. The drive is about 1.5 hours and it is dark already. That's why we choose to go to the hotel first before going out again for the night photo shoot. For the photo shooting, we drive to find a good spot to take photos from higher up in the mountain. It is to capture the town with all the night lights.


We have finally found a good spot. It is a gap among all the trees that you can view the town and the main church located right by the lake. It is very beautiful seeing the town surrounding the lake in the hug of the green mountains. All the night lights do make the town look even more beautiful at night.



DAY2


We woke up at 5 AM planning to go up to the same viewpoint last night. Unfortunately, it is totally foggy now so we don't think we can see anything yet. That's why we are heading back to bed first. We woke up again around 6 AM as we thought the sun should be up already. We would like to see the moment that the sun is high enough to be able to light up the lake and the town. We are back up here admiring the wonderful view which is as pretty as at night. The weather this morning is very nice. The air is pure with refreshing wind since it is surrounded by mountains. No wonder why this place is popular among the locals to come over for a weekend or on vacation. This is also why this town if full with luxury resorts and restaurants.



Uzungöl Cami


This place is comparable as a pearl of the Black Sea. And once you are in town, don't forget to pay a visit to the main church since it is known as a symbol of this town. It is located beautifully right at the forefront of the lake. We are very impressed with the refreshing nice atmosphere of this valley and the natural surroundings as well.



" Yakutiye Medresesi "


Erzurum, Turkey

It is in the afternoon that we travel to Erzurum and it is a 3-hour drive from Lake Uzungul. Originally, we plan to just drive pass the town but since we have plenty of time in hands and the town is also interesting so we are going to stop here for a while. Well, Erzurum is not a popular tourist destination. It is mainly Turkish people that travel to here. Therefore, you will be very attractive for locals especially if you are Asian. Locals will look at you wherever you go



This building is used to be a college which later has turned into the Turkish Museum hosting Turkish and Islamic artworks. The museum is a rectangle building decorated by stone carving and mosque tower in geometry style. You can find it in the middle of the square.



" Ishak Pasha Palace "


Doğubeyazıt, Turkey.


We are heading to the eastern part of Turkey which will be another 3-hour drive. This travel route is by the border of Armenia and Iran. If you read the newspaper recently, you would know that there is Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in this area. The news are all about the car robbery, kidnapping, and military and police attack. That's why we have studied about how to travel in this area quite hard. We drive very carefully with pretty high speed in order not to be the target for them. You will also feel secured after seeing numbers of soldier guard houses for observation and security along the way. And yes, we have finally arrived at our destination safely in the late afternoon. Well, we are heading to a place known as a great viewing sunset point first. The sky is clear with partly cloudy and the weather is just nice, not too hot nor too cold right now which is perfect for taking photos.



After taking photo for a while, there is a car approaching the spot. They have come down, and greeted us asking how did we get here. "We drove from Erzurum", we answered. Once they have heard that, they are very surprised and kind of shocked at the same time. They told us that "traveling in the east by car is a no, no". They continue explaining that it is very dangerous here because of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Not long ago, there was a group of tourists got robbed while driving here and got kidnapped. Actually, we have heard that as well. It is just that we have reserved the car and all the hotels already so it will be totally a waste of all the money if we cancel. That's why we stick to our original plan. We guess we better ask them for our next leg. "Is it safe to travel from here to Mardin by car?", we asked. They all nod their heads accordingly. They suggest that the safest way to travel is by the airplane. We are very stressful after knowing this. Then they are leaving and wish us a safe journey and good luck.


" Whatever we might encounter along the journey, we will stick to what we have planned "


DAY3


" Turkish Breakfast "



This is the Turkish-style breakfast. It consists of cucumber, tomatoes, cheese, boiled egg, and delicious tomato soup eating with bread. It is tasty in overall. That's why we have gone back to the buffet line and take more of them. We have filled up our stomach and we are ready to go to Van to see the most famous lake in the country.



It is more than 3 hours to drive from Doğubeyazıt to the lake shore in Van. The locals here are mainly Kurdish. They are same group of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who committed the latest kidnapping of the tourists and military attack which caused the death of more than 10 soldiers. We are totally scared and will we be caught as the hostages if we tell that we are Thais? Moreover, the surroundings are making this place don't look like a peaceful border. For example, the local police station is surrounded by sand bags and barbed wire equipped with machine guns and there is even the tank standing by. This is very warm welcome, we feel like. But actually it is not really giving us that impression, it is rather scary. There is zero tourist here excluded us. Anyway, we shouldn't think too much. Let's just go! We are now boarding to a ferry to Akdamar Island. It will be only 20-minute ride.


" Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross "


Akdamar Island, Lake Van

This Palace belongs to the King of Armenia. This palace was built in the purpose to be a shelter for the King during the war. Since it is an island so it is hard to reach and invaded.



If you would like to get a photo shot like this, you need to climb up in the mountain only. It is not that tough, just a little steep and I highly recommend you to do so. The walk can be tiring though. hahaha We have to catch the last ferry at 5 PM so we don't have much time up here actually. Anyway, it is good to go back to the hotel and rest now because we need to wake up at 10 PM tonight for another 7-hour drive to Mardin.



DAY4


We choose to travel at 10 PM because of the security reason. We might be targeted easily driving in the early morning or in the afternoon. Do we think too much? Anyway, we don't think we are going to get robbed like at 1 AM so in order to be sure we better travel during this time. We drive from Van using the highway. That's why we can drive pretty fast plus there is only a few car on the road. We can't really sleep along the way since we are scared. In addition, Mardin is known as another red zone during this time as one of the hubs of both ISIS and PKK who mainly live in eastern Turkey. The more we know, the more we have got to be careful not to be attractive for locals. It is around 6 AM that the sun starts to light up the day and we have finally arrived our destination safely. We have arrived at Mardin, an ancient world historical town.



Nicely decorated houses are made out of stones. They have been very well preserved for thousand and thousand years. Mardin is the main highlight city of this entire journey in Turkey actually and we have planned that we mustn't miss for any reasons!!



The town has been built up along the mountain ridge in different levels. It is very unique. You should also be noted that all the streets here are one way so you should study about all the streets well in advance. If you drive into the wrong street, you need to drive down before you are able to drive up here again.


Ulu Camii is the oldest and the biggest mosque in Mardin. Mardin itself is located in the southeastern part of Turkey in Mesopotamia. The town is believed to be about 4,000 years BC. The land on the left-hand side is plain and it lasts until the border of Syria which is about 20 kilometers far from Mardin.



The locals here are very friendly. They keep smiling at us. We don't hesitate to ask to take a photo of them. And then they start to ask "Where are you from?". We answered "Thailand". They look at us, smile, and say "welcome". We would say that people here are much nicer than we thought. hahaha



From this spot, you can look outside the town. It is very beautiful.

We have planned to stay here for 1 night but we will leave early around 9 PM like yesterday. Our next stop will be Mount Nemrut. We will go up to the top of Mount Nemrut to take some photos of the stars at night and we hope that the sky will be clear enough for that. And we should arrive there around 2 AM.



DAY 5


It is not only Istanbul that is interesting in Turkey but also Mt. Nemrut. You should find a chance to visit Mt. Nemrut once in your life. This place is the birthplace of civilization World, Mesopotamia. That is why it is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The best time to come up here would be around 5 AM before the sunrise. You will be experiencing an amazing stargazing spot at 2,150 meters higher than the sea level with the light cold wind. Millions of the stars can be seen without the need of any further stargazing equipment if the sky is clear. You will feel amazed with it and feel mysterious with the location as this spot is also where the tomb of the King of Commagene Kingdom is. Therefore, it is a must to visit when traveling in Turkey.


We are kind of unlucky because it is freezing cold up here around 2 AM and it is windy as well. We have got to wait for many hours until the sunrise. It is very cloudy and it starts to rain a bit so we can't really take a good photo of the sky with the stars. Not long after, the sky is totally full with clouds. That is when we give up and decide to take a nap instead. We take a nap behind the big stone where the wind can't reach us. We are half-asleep and half-awake until around 5 AM when we heard a sound of people coming up. They are tourists and they are here for the sunrise. They must be wondered why we are sleeping up here. Anyway, we better get up and be ready for the sunrise.



The sunlight finds its way out from the clouds. The day gets started to be bright and shining....



The clouds continue to be the main obstacle for taking photos. We have been waiting for pretty long while for the sun to completely light up the mountain so we can get an amazing shot.



Most of the statues start to be broken. Some of them are caged in order to protect them from tourists and so on. After making sure that we have taken photos covering everything up here, we are getting ready to go down. We need to move to the next destination.


The photo you see above is the only walkway to go up and down Mt. Nemrut. It doesn't look safe but it is. It is just the weather in the early morning that can be very cold and windy.



We are on another 7-hour journey to Cappadocia. The view on both side of the road are so pretty. You can't really say that this is Turkey if you just see this scenery.



The landscape starts to be different, some are mountains and some are plain enormous district where you will feel so relaxing.



The peak you see above is the peak of Erciyes Dagi. Erciyes Dagi lies before the town of Kayseri at 2,770-meter high. It is nice to go up especially for trekking to reach the peak at 3,917-meter high.



Cappadocia

Cappadocia has been a very important town since the ancient time. It is a part of the well-known silk road, an ancient network of trade routes and cultural interaction through regions from Turkey to China. The area's landscape is totally unique and mysterious caused by the volcanic eruption. It is full with stone in cone shape.



Hot Air Balloon in Cappadocia


Apart from the amazing unique landscape, Cappadocia is famous for its hot air balloon ride. You mustn't miss doing this activity when in town. The ride is to see the town from high above especially when the sunrise. You will see something truly breathtaking which you can't find it anywhere else. Therefore, please don't miss to experience this. It will be once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget.



To reserve the hot air balloon ride

The most convenient way to reserve the hot air balloon ride is through your hotel or resort. You just need to make an agreement on the price, hot air balloon's company, date, and time. It is a long holiday here in Turkey so it is almost fully booked. Thanks God that we are going to stay here for the next 3 nights so we can get a chance to hop on one of the hot air balloon. We pay for the ride at 150 Euro per person since we can't find the cheaper one and we really want to do this. We even go to look for one in town but they are all full so we just stick with this one.



After all arrangement is done. We are being picked up by the minibus at the hotel in the next morning. We have been transferred to a gathering point for breakfast. The breakfast includes a few different types of bread, tea, and coffee. It is a light breakfast before the ride.



Once the sky getting brighter from the dark, people are all asked to get together and transferred by car to the take-off point. Over here, they show us how to set up the hot air balloon and it is very exciting. We are lucky that today's weather condition is perfect with the light wind. Then they demonstrate what we need to do when in the balloon for taking off and landing in order to be safe. Now all the preparation stage is well done. The time that we all have been waiting for is here, it is time to take off!!!



We were not sure earlier whether we should do this activity or not because we heard that there was an accident here before. Anyway, we thought it through that it will be something last for a lifetime so we shouldn't be scared. Well, we don't feel scared at all after the hot air balloon has taken off. We feel very excited instead. It is incredibly amazing when we are higher up in the air. The most memorable moment would be the time that the sun starts to rise up into the sky. It is so magical. We would say it is one of the best moments you can have in the lifetime of traveling and we are truly happy.



You can see the unique landscape of Cappadocia more clearly once you are higher up in the air. And you will be amazed with this extraordinary, soaring rock formations from the volcanic eruption which you have never seen before for sure.



There are so many hot air balloons operated by different companies. You don't need to be afraid that your balloon will crash with one another because the captain is very skillful.



After a 40-minute journey is completed, captain has the balloon landed safely. There is a little champagne party after the ride to celebrate the success. hahaha



Viewpoint of Cappadocia


Nightlife in Göreme ( GPS : 38.642331, 34.833300 )


After the hot air balloon program is done, we are going to take you to one of the viewpoints in town. It has been a long day so sitting and watching the sunset is totally relaxing. The atmosphere during twilight and all the lights in the town are just way too fantastic. This viewpoint is very nice so we would really like to recommend you to come over. We love it here totally and of course you will be impressed with it too.



Üçhisar Kalesi ( GPS : 38.629810, 34.805369 )



In the past, houses were built by digging into the rock mountains. These houses protect the villagers from the danger of the heat. They offer nice and steady temperature inside. In addition, it is believed that there used to be 1,000 locals living in them. How amazing it is and how smart they are to build this kinds of housing. They have done such a creation which stands still wonderfully for us to see until today.



After taking more photo of Capadocia in the morning, we are back at the hotel for breakfast. Our breakfast looks very yummy and it tastes so good. We can't remember the name of the one on the right-hand side but it is like omelet with cheese. This one is totally tasty as recommended by the hotel's owner and we love it. After the breakfast is done, we start to pack right away before leaving to Antaly.



Atalanta, a city known as the second most attractive city in Turkey after Istanbul. We couldn't agree more with that. The atmosphere, the beautiful blue ocean, the cute souvenir shop, the nice restaurants, the luxury local bars, the well-developed streets, it is totally different from other cities we have visited here in Turkey so far. The tourists here are mainly Americans and Europeans. There is only a few Asians. That is why people keep staring at us (they even come and ask to take photos of us!!). So this city is very nice and perfect for a total relaxation in overall. It is clean and locals are very friendly.



The view at night is as beautiful as in the daytime. All the bars and restaurants are lit up with fancy lighting. You will have so much fun with all the music from there as well. It's like a city that never sleep.



Roman Theater


Roman Theater is a quick stop over for us during the way to Pamukkale. The way they built this place is very interesting, they built the arena from carving into the mountain.



It can accommodate up to 12,000 audiences. The site is under the on-going restoration. That's why it is so pretty standing to welcome all the tourists all the time. If you are here, please don't forget to go down to the middle stage of the arena and clap your hands. You will be amazed with the echo that goes around the arena. The people who built this place are just way too smart.



This is the way to Roman Theater. You can spot the site further up on the right-hand side.



To be honest with you, I didn't think that this is a theater at the first sight. hahaha The theater will reveal itself once you walk up this hill.



Pamukkale


Pamukkale or known as "cotton castle" is a white limestone waterfall of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. The water is from the underground stream flowing from the Cal Dagi mountains in the north. The water is 35 degree Celsius and contains a high Calcium oxide. The terraces of carbonate minerals are created by the nature purely. It is very unique and outstanding. That is why it is not easy for you to find something like this somewhere else.



Its uniqueness attracts tons of tourists every year. So it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Turkey. Tourists are also able to swim here. Some are very well-prepared, they come with their swimming costumes.



Another highlight activity here would be watching the sunset over the Pamukkale. We are pretty lucky that we have arrived here in the late afternoon so it is not long until this sunset time. People said that you will be able to see the beautiful color reflection of the sunlight on the water surface right before the sunset. And we think it will be worth it, so let's wait for that!



And yes, we are not disappointed with what we are seeing now. The time during the golden light is totally fantastic, the light and the color are just way too pretty. We enjoy our time experiencing this moment very much and taking photos is a good fun too.



After having such a good time watching the sunset at Pamukkale, we drive down from the hill. We are kind of hungry though. On our way, we have found a spot where it is full with restaurants and souvenir shops. So we don't hesitate to find a good restaurant with reasonable price right away. And our dinner has ended up to be a big set of grilled chicken which is very tasty.



Bodrum



Bodrum Castle or St Peter Castle was built in 1402 located near Greece. The castle is surrounded by the ports. And from there, you can get a ticket to go to Greek islands such as Kos, Leros, and Kálimnos. You can even rent a yacht for a day or week. Some of them are very luxury yacht. You can also just enjoy walking around seeing these fancy yachts without renting.



We would say this town is similar to Santorini. Houses are in white with blue windows and doors. And it is not just a few of them, they are all like this in the whole town.


It is so pretty. If we are not mistaken, this is by law that you need to paint your house into these colors in order to support the tourism. For those who didn't do accordingly, they need to pay higher tax rate.



Ephesus



Ephesus or Efes is an ancient Roman city. The town was prosperous during the Classical Greek era in Roman period under Emperor Caesar Augustus. The city is truly enormous. We wonder how beautiful it would be when the city is alive.



Istanbul



After traveling through Turkey for a long while, we have come to the last city of the journey and the highlight city of the whole trip, Istanbul. Istanbul is known as a transcontinental city of Asia and Europe. I have been here before with my Mom and Dad. It was a family leisure trip last year. I really like it here personally and I have promised myself that I will make my way back here one day. At the same time that this journey includes Istanbul so I didn't hesitate to decide to come along. Istanbul has everything to offer, the beautiful historical city, amazing architectures, delicious food, and friendly people. The city has a long rich history for thousands and thousands years. So let's go and see what would be interesting to pay a visit!



Hagia Sophia



Hagia Sophia or Aya Sofya Museum was built during the reign of Constantine the Great. It used to be an Orthodox church before turning into the mosque and it is used as a museum today.



This is how it looks like from the inside of Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya). Even though the admission price is pretty expensive, we would say it is a must to visit when in Istanbul. Moreover, this museum has been recognized as a UNESCO Heritage site since 1985. Well, we are sad that some parts of the museum are under restoration process so we can't really take photos of everything. More importantly, we can't take the panoramic view of the inside of the museum. Anyway, for those who love this kind of architecture would love it here, I confirm.



Deisis Composition (Doomsday) - In the mosaic, Virgin Mary and John the Baptist's prayers to Jesus Christ for the mercy of people during the doomsday are portrayed. There are several debates regarding the exact dating of Deisis Mosaic since the lower part of the mosaic was mainly destroyed but the valid date that is currently accepted is the 13th Century.



Zoe Mozaic is an ancient Byzantine mosaic. It is a portrait of Jesus Christ giving a bless to the Emperor Constantine XI who holds a purse of gold coins for the donations to the Great Church on the left and the Empress Zoe who holds a scroll of parchment on the right.





Istiklal Street and Taksim square

We are going to walk from Istiklal Street to Taksim Square. Istiklal Street is a famous avenue in Istanbul where people enjoying walking around especially in the late afternoon when the weather is nice. The street is full with beautiful buildings, shops, and restaurants on both sides. Although it is pretty far walking from Istiklal Street to Taksim Square, it is such an enjoyable walk. There are so many interesting stuffs along the way such as attractive old houses, old book stores, small nicely-decorated cafes, and so on.




There are also many street food available here. For example, you can get some roasted chestnuts or some delicious local bread to eat while enjoying a walk. You don't need to be worried that you will be hungry here. You can grab this and that or even go to the proper restaurants. And the food here is not expensive either.



This red old tram is the highlight and the symbol of this street. The tram way is about 3-kilometer long located right along the street. It is from Tünel to Taksim Square. The tram system here is the 2nd oldest tram system in the world after London.






The Balisilica Cistern and Yerebatan Saray


Yerebatan Sarnici/ Basilica Cistern, the largest cistern in Istanbul


This cistern is also known as 'Underwater Palace' because it is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. It is like a huge underground tunnel with the size as big as a basilica. Basilica Cistern is capable of holding 80,000 cubic meters of water. Inside the cistern is very dark and it has a high level of humidity.



One of the thing you shouldn't miss to see in this cistern is the two Medusa column bases. I have studied a bit about why this Medusa is here before I came. In Greek mythology "Medusa is a beautiful maiden and the youngest daughter in Gorgon family. She was raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple, the enraged Athena transformed Medusa's beautiful hair to serpents and made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn onlookers to stone". Greeks believe that if there are these Medusa column bases in here, this place will be well-protected. Tradition has it that the blocks are oriented sideways and inverted in order to negate the power of the Gorgons' gaze.



Galata Bridge

Galata Bridge at night is so pretty. It is where numbers of seafood restaurants are down under. The ambiance is very nice. It would be fantastic enjoying the ocean view like this while having dinner.



You can spot the local lives easily especially in the late afternoon, locals will come and do fishing on the bridge. They seem to have so much fun doing this. People here are totally friendly. If you walk toward them, they will start to show you what fishes have been caught and smile at you at the same time.



This metro connects the old town with the new town through this bridge. The public transportation is pretty good here. It covers all main tourist attractions. Most of them stop right in front of those places. So don't forget to try since they are clean, new, and not expensive.



Watching the ferries sailing around is very nice and the moment right before the sunset is totally romantic.



Maiden's Tower

We have moved to Üsküdar side overlooking Maiden's Tower. To get here, you need to take the ferry. We take it from Kabatas at Kabatas Motor Iskelesi on the route Kabatas - Üsküdar and get off at Üsküdar. The ticket is cheap at 2 TRY per person. It doesn't take long to arrive at Üsküdar before another roughly 1 kilometer of walking to get to this viewpoint. People live here quite a lot, that's why traveling by car is not easy and you better walk. Once you arrive, you will see this relaxing spot where you can view the tower while enjoying some food and drinks. What a relaxing place!

This viewpoint is pretty popular among the locals and tourists. It is especially during the sunset when people come to chill and enjoy the stunning sunset view. There is a shop where you can order some drinks such the tasty Turkish coffee as an example, and some snacks. They even have the umbrellas for you to escape from the heat if needed during the day. The seating is very comfortable and the weather is so nice. We really like it here.


Once the sun starts to go down, the beauty level of this spot increases. The sunlight on Maiden's Tower during this very moment is way too beautiful.



One of the thing you shouldn't miss while chilling here is the hot Turkish tea. It is very nice plus a great view and romantic ambiance. In addition, we see people are having yogurt with some bread so we order one right away. It is a plain yogurt with some salt. It is pretty salty on itself but taste perfectly with some bread. Eiei



Spice Market.

There are not only spices here in this spice market but also so many selections of desserts and dried fruits. The prices are different in each shop and it is so good that you can try them before buying. The vendors are way too friendly. They will start to talk to you and let you try everything. Well, we would say that the desserts are quite expensive here.





Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar is a big market where all souvenirs, clothing, flags, beautiful lamps, desserts can be found. It is the same here that each shop offers different prices for certain stuffs. Therefore, you should go around and compare the price in case that you would like to buy something. In addition, don't forget to try to bargain here because it normally works. You can get up to 20-30% discount.




Galata Tower



The next tourist spot that will enable you to view the whole city is at Galata Tower. The best time to come would be during the sunset. However, you need to plan well because a lot of people are lining up at this time of the day. We would suggest you to come roughly 1 hour before the sunset. We wait for more than 1 hour to be able to come up here but the time being up here is not limited. Moreover, the space at the top of the tower is limited. For us, we can't use the tripod for taking photos. The time you shouldn't miss is during twilight after the sunset. During this time, you will be able to see the city being lit up. It is totally beautiful and we feel like it is totally worth it for waiting.


Most of the time we are in Istanbul, we always try the street food and they are everywhere. You don't need to be worried at all that you won't find anything to eat or food will be expensive here. We eat bread quite a lot because it is only 1 TRY which is about 16-18 THB. Other things will also be in this range of price. Let's have a look what do we eat here!



The first one on the left is something deep-fried before dipping into the syrup. We are not sure what it is but it is very tasty especially when it is hot. The second one is the grilled corn which is always good. The last one is a delicious fish sandwich that you should try when in Istanbul.



This yummy looking bread is perfect to have as the breakfast. They are freshly made every morning. For those budget travelers, you can have them instead of the whole breakfast set. You can even have it with Nutella if you don't want to eat it plain which will be extra tasty.




Sultan Ahmed Mosque


Sultan Ahmed Mosque or Blue Mosque is as beautiful as Hagia Sophia in term of the architecture and colors.


Normally Muslims are commanded to perform prayers five times a day including at dawn (5 AM-6 AM), at noon (12.30 PM-1.30 PM), in the afternoon (3 PM-5 PM), in the evening (6.30 PM-7.30 PM), and at night (after 8 PM). Therefore, this Blue Mosque is opened in 3 different period of times, 9 AM-11 AM, 12.30 PM-2.15 PM, and 3.15 PM-4.30 PM. Please make sure you come at the right time. Blue Mosque welcomes tons of people every day and before you can enter, you need to take off your shoes, put them into the transparent bag, and buy the ticket.



Once you enter, you will see an extremely enormous beautiful hall. The design is the culmination of two centuries of Ottoman mosque development. It incorporates some Byzantine Christian elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture. Blue Mosque is the biggest mosque in Turkey. It can accommodate up to 100,000 people. Blue Mosque is also located in the historic area of Istanbul that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985.



Well, you might wonder why it is called Blue Mosque. Here is the reason. When you are visiting the mosque but there is no sunlight, you will only see the red and brown tiles. This happens because the tiles at lower levels are traditional in design, while at gallery level their design becomes flamboyant with representations of fruit and flowers. These more than 20,000 ceramic tiles were made under the supervision of the craftsman from Cappadocia. The price to be paid for each tile was fixed by the sultan's decree, while tile prices in general increased over time. As a result, the quality of the tiles used in the building decreased gradually for example red tiles become brown, green tiles become blue. Some of the tiles are recycle from the Harem in Topkapi Palace once they were damaged from the fire in 1574.



Credit: http://www.oknation.net/blog/mena/2013/01/04/entry-1



It is rarely to see Turkish come to the mosque these days maybe because of the new era that people tend to go to the pub or bar rather than coming here especially those new generation of teenagers. We guess the Western culture has influenced on this greatly. We can only see the elderly who still strict on their religion come to pray here.




We have finally come to an end of the journey in Turkey. We would like to thank to all your kind supports. If there is any mistake in this travel review, please kindly let us know. And if you are interested in talking to us or in further travel reviews please click on the links below.


https://www.facebook.com/TwinTraveller

http://twintravellerblog.com



Thank you very much for your kind support and I will see you in the next review, our last episode of this journey "30 Days in 3 Countries Part 3 - "RUSSIA".


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