Today, we have an appointment with Kévin, an SEO colleague who knows Istanbul by heart. His Airbnb is on the Asian side, so we meet there to spend the evening together. Before crossing the beautiful bridge that separates Europe from Asia, we first stop at the mosque that we spotted from far from the restaurant with a panoramic view.
is the mosque of Ortaköy. The locals seem to enjoy the scenery as much as we do, as many people sit here, chill out, enjoy the street food and the presence of the street cats.
The interior is quite small, there is a nice ceiling height and numerous chandeliers. Sorry for the heavily retouched photo below, but as we are out of date, the original photo seems too dark to show you all the splendor of this mosque. As usual, I have to put a scarf on my head. The women have a dedicated prayer corner, that’s why you only see the men in this picture.
cross the bridge by cab to Berlerbeyie Palace on the Asian side. Since our arrival in Istanbul, this is the first time I set foot on the Asian bank 😀 hihihihihi while JB came several times to watch a soccer match, basketball and go to the hammam.
At the time of payment, the driver signals us that we have to add 10TL more to what we see on the meter. We’ll find out later, and learn that he didn’t lie to us 🙂 The crossing of this bridge did indeed cost him 10TL, but we didn’t see it because there is a machine then allowing to pay the tolls remotely.
The entrance fee is 40TL (which is very expensive). This is the summer residence of je-ne-sais-que-sultan, and it has received several heads of state. From the garden of the palace, you can see the beautiful bridge we just crossed. Many cruises pass in front of this palace, it is more beautiful seen from the Bosphorus than from the garden 😀
The interior can be visited with a “plastic bag” (shoe protector) on each shoe. We can’t take pictures, but the interior is really sumptuous, between a reception room with a swimming pool right in the middle, many candelabra, vases, marble columns…. I let you do a search on Google Images to see all this. Anyway, I’m really impressed.
‘s time to find Kevin. He gives us an appointment at the neighborhood vegetable garden: Kuzguncuk Bostani. It’s a very nice place. Every year, there is a draw to determine which inhabitant will have the right to take care of this or that plot. In the summer, there are film screenings, and cute cats live here all year round. It really feels like a village.
However, village life has a cost. The old colorful houses you see in the distance are very expensive ($2000/month just for rent). Apparently, to change the slightest thing in this neighborhood (to renovate your bathroom for example), you have to ask permission and pay (within 50€) but hey, it’s quite restrictive. K. showed us some very nice Airbnb in the area. I think it’s one of the rare places in Istanbul to be so quiet.
However, we aren’t cut off from the world, there is a street full of superbly decorated cafes and restaurants. Type Icadiye Cd. on Google Maps.
We are walking quietly when a thud surprises us. The customers of a café, sitting on the sidewalk, also startle. Apparently, a nut fell on the roof and then on the sidewalk. It didn’t hurt anyone. But a minute later, another nut fell. And everyone discovers that the nuisance came from a crow. Does he have a homicidal urge? No, he just tries to crack his nut, to eat. And he has realized that if he drops it on the floor, chances are the nuts will break on their own. Clever!
makes us take a dolmus (local mini-bus) to go to üskurdar. We could have taken a normal bus, but it’s more local, more Turkish to take a dolmus 😀 (pronunciation: dol-mouche, there is a cedilla on the s => pronunciation ch). We skirt the Asian bank (type üsküdar harem sahil yolu on google maps) and attend a dream sunset.
The minarets of the mosques on the European bank stand out from the landscape, you can see them clearly. Today, there are quite a few clouds, but the view is still satisfactory. A real postcard landscape. There are cafes along the bank, where you can sit and enjoy traditional Turkish tea, or have a bite to eat.
We are in front of Maiden’s Tower (the Leander Tower) on a tiny island.
There are many legends about the construction of the tower and its location. According to the legend, the most popular in Turkey, a sultan had a beloved daughter. One day, an oracle predicted that she would die bitten by a poisonous snake on her 18th birthday. The sultan, to keep her away from the land and thus from the snakes, had the tower built in the middle of the Bosphorus to protect his daughter until her 18th birthday. The princess was placed in the tower, where she was often visited only by her father.
On the 18th birthday of the Princess, the Sultan, delighted to have been able to prevent the prophecy, brought her a sumptuous basket of exotic fruits as a gift. However, a snake was hidden in the basket and bit the princess, who died in her father’s arms, just as the oracle had predicted. Hence the name of the girl’s trick.
We dine together in a nearby restaurant offering hookahs.
Then we take a cab back home (50TL to Karakoy, near us). We couldn’t take the boat because there isn’t any more apparently 😀
But if it isn’t too late yet, you can take a boat for 3TL/person to reach Karakoy, one of the two European shores. Here is a picture taken on this boat, another day.
What we would have liked to visit on the Asian shore but didn’t have the time :
- visit the çamlica mosque, with 6 minarets, whose construction was recently completed
- go up to the hill of çamlica to see the sunset