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Turkey

Visiting Istanbul & Cappadocia

Story by Andre Ribeiro August 17th, 2015

ISTANBUL

Istanbul – once called Constantinople – is a magnificent metropolis and an iconic link between Europe and Asia. A region where so many empires once thrived and later succumbed, is now an upcoming center where the old and the new seem to somehow complement each other. A place with astonishing heritage, full of cultural and architectural wonders.

Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque).

Built from 1609 to 1616, the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) is probably one of the most well known mosques in Istanbul.

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Topkapı Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and between 1465–1856 was the major residence of the Ottoman sultans. With 7,535,000 sq. ft and four main courtyards, the place is filled with invaluable relics of the Muslim world, such as porcelain, robes, weapons, shields, armor, Islamic calligraphic manuscripts and murals, as well as a display of Ottoman treasures and jewelry.

At the end of the 16th century the famous Harem section was added, which was home to the sultan's mother (queen mother) as well as the concubines and wives of the sultan (several dozen women). The forbidden place was also inhabited by the rest of his family including children, as well as some highly trusted servants, such as the eunuchs.

Imperial Gate.
The Gate of Salutation.
Imperial Council building.
Imperial Council building.
Imperial Council building.
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Magnificent patterns and hand painted tiles.
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Audience Chamber.

Basilica Cistern. Built in the 6th century, this is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns in Istanbul.

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Grand Bazaar and some other market places.
Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world and it is among the world's most-visited tourist attractions with 91,250,000 annual visitors.

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A small sample of the Turkish cuisine. Chicken kebabs, Testi Kebap (Pottery Kebab), lamb, baked goods, tea and of course, the baklava and turkish delight.
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Visiting Turkey during Ramadan was fascinating. Having the chance of being immersed in one of their biggest religious events and to witness how incredibly devoted these people are was for sure a very fulfilling and enlightening experience to me.

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Nuruosmaniye Mosque. A beautiful mosque near the Grand Bazaar (by the way judging by the predominance of blue, to me that should be the one called Blue Mosque.)

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Turkish bath. A relaxing slash weird experience.

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Hagia Sophia and some other temples.

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Heading to Cappadocia.

Cappadocia

Cappadocia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with astonishing culture and history dating back as far as 1800 BC. A place known for its exuberant rock formations (fairy chimneys), its underground cities and the mesmerizing hot air balloon rides.

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Derinkuyu underground city. The underground cities and structures are carved out of unique geological formations and were used as hiding places during times of raids.

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Stone doors.
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Hot Air Balloon ride.

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Footnote: Fujifilm XT-1
Turkey