One of the most visited countries by Europeans is, of course, Turkey. It is difficult to find such a place in the heart of this state, in Istanbul, where our tourist would not set foot. The more interesting it is to try to do it. Here are some unusual places in the capital, which the guides will not tell you about.
1. The oldest Jewish quarter of Balat
This amazing place is definitely worth a visit. Located just a short walk from the city center, the area immediately surprises with its atmosphere. Cozy quiet streets, colorful houses, a leisurely pace of life draw pictures of everyday life of a century ago, not destroyed by modernity. Along with two-story, three-story houses, you can also see houses made of clay, heated with firewood. In this corner of the old town there are also various religious buildings. Mosques are adjacent to Armenian and Greek temples. In addition, lovers of beautiful scenery will enjoy a beautiful view of the bay.
2. Beylerbeyi Palace
Another attraction that is not included in the list of the main ones visited by tourists. At the moment, it is the summer residence of the sultans and a hotel for honored guests. The sophisticated architectural structure of the mid-19th century is located on the shore of the Bosporus. The interiors of the palace combine Western and eastern styles, are filled with luxurious decoration, surrounded by a garden, especially beautiful in spring. It can be said that Beylerbeyi is in no way inferior to the famous Topkapi Palace, and even surpasses in decoration.
3. Macka Park
Cats are an integral part of Istanbul life. They’re everywhere. There is even a “cat park” where our smaller brothers live in huge numbers. Colorful, fluffy, smooth-haired, mismatched cats get along well with each other. Local residents and rare tourists feed the animals and are constantly surprised by their number. The purring inhabitants of the north live in special houses that are cleaned by volunteers.
4. Turkish Bazaars
To visit this country and not visit the local market is a crime. After all, it is here that you can feel the whole identity of the people, find unusual souvenirs, try street cuisine. You should visit the market behind the New Mosque and in the Kadikoy district. It is better to come to the market in the morning, when there is no large crowd of people. It is necessary to bargain, because the Turks initially put the price of the product more than it actually is.
5. Church of Christ the Savior in the Fields (Monastery of Chora)
It is unusual to find an early Christian architectural relic in a Muslim country. The main attraction of the temple is the Byzantine frescoes of the 15th century. The images of Christ, the Virgin Mary, saints and warriors that survived centuries of Muslim oppression, covered with plaster, and now restored, impress with their colors and convey the spirit of the centuries to their contemporaries.
6. Sancaklar Underground Mosque
The mosques of Istanbul are like twin brothers. After visiting one, the second one seems to be an exact copy of the previous one. Therefore, the Sancaklar Mosque is special. New, built in 2013, it surprises with its architectural solution. There is an unusual building on the outskirts of the city and it takes quite a long time to get there. The total area of the mosque is more than 7,000 square meters and accommodates about 650 people. It has a rectangular roof; part of the building is located underground. The building is modest, not decorated with traditional paintings and mosaics, although it is overwhelming in size and massiveness.