tea :: whereist istanbul

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Molla Aşkı Cafe has a nice view of the Golden Horn along with fresh hookah and their selection of herbal tea’s.

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 |  CATEGORIES: Activities, Historical Landmark, Whereist Turkish Hamams

bursa kervansaray termal oteli

Sofular Turkish bath is a 16th century hamam with two-story dressing cabins and an elegant pool with fountain. There are separate sections for men and women. Tea, coffee and soft drink services are available. It has two levels and it’s rooms are clean and well taken care of. It has a functioning (as of November 2010) pool in the center.


If you are looking a local and not expensive one Sofular hamamı in Horhor street in Fatih is the place. Sofular hamamı was also constructed by Sinan The architect and it has a great atmosphere. It is highly likely that you will be the only tourist here since their service is geared towards locals that live around the area. 

Entry is 20 Liras, optional scrubbing service is 8 Liras

10pm for men – 8pm for Ladies

Aksaray, istanbul


Phone +90-(212) 521 37 59

Tel:  +90 212-5217050

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 |  CATEGORIES: Bosphorus, Istanbul Top 30 Tourist Attractions, Scenic & Park & Sightseeing, Tours, Whereist Driving Scenic Tour

Highlights of Çengelköy: Gherkins and MansionsFor Istanbul residents, free association with the word “gherkin” calls up the name Çengelköy, a village on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus.

Nestled in a nostalgic setting, overlooking the waters of the strait, Çengelköy lays claim to fame not only with her succulent gherkins, but also with her historical seaside mansions and tomatoes cultivated on stakes. Nonetheless, Çengelköy remains a village (köy) in name only.

Some fine spring day, chancing to find yourself in the nearby district center of Üsküdar, you may opt to rent a rowboat. Distancing yourself from the shore and delighting in the mild weather, you leisurely sail past, in turn, the villages of Pasha Limanı and Beylerbeyi. Your approach to Çengelköy will be signaled by a glimpse of the brick-red Sadullah Pasha Seaside mansion. On disembarking and inhaling the aroma of bread baking in wood-fired ovens, you may wonder whether you have landed in another world. Strolling the main avenue, you will pass by shops with small windows, stands of fresh fish, the historical bakery, wooden houses, many of whose doors open onto the avenue, seaside mansions from the pages of history, the local inhabitants, and, of course, greengrocers where pride of place is awarded to the “Çengelköy gherkins.”  One other place not to be overlooked is the savory pastry shop.

There are a couple of stories accounting for the uncertain origin of the name of the village. Though little information is available about its status in the 15th Century, it is known that Sultan Mehmed II, while preparing for his campaign to conquer İstanbul (1453), discovered a number of Byzantine palmed anchors in the neighborhood of the village, whose Turkish counterpart (derived from the Persian word for “claw”) is çengel. Thus, the village became known as the “Village of Anchors,” or Çengelköy.  Another story puts forward the claim that the village derived its name on account of its renown as a place where anchors were forged.

Regardless of the source of its name, Çengelköy possesses a justly earned reputation as one of the most charming villages on the Bosphorus. Çengelköy preserves its special distinction despite being incorporated, like the other quiet Bosphorus villages, by the greater metropolitan area of Istanbul.

The Bosphorus has been justly acclaimed for the beauty of her wooden seaside mansions. In the past, Çengelköy also possessed a bounty of such structures. A number of these historical witnesses have been sacrificed to fires.  The Sadullah Pasha seaside mansion, built in 1783, is one of the few to have survived to the present.  On its last legs, the Edip Effendi seaside mansion is one of those still awaiting restoration.

Friendly inhabitants, piping hot tea, and a fatal plane tree
Seaside mansions are not the only reflections of history, of course. The inhabitants of Çengelköy are also distinctive.  The hale and hearty local old-timers and veterans beam with friendly smiles.  What makes them stand out is that they still enjoy amicable relations with their neighbors. Nowadays, when those of us who make our homes in outsized apartment buildings have difficulty in even recognizing our next-door neighbors, the residents of Çengelköy are closely acquainted with each other.

When shopping in Çengelköy, you are always greeted by warm, friendly faces.  True, the tradesmen and local residents already know each other. Though you may be a newcomer, you are certain to be treated as one of them. That is why the population of Çengelköy doubles or even triples on weekends. Many folks come simply to partake of the tranquil, friendly atmosphere.

Tea gardens named “Under the Plane Tree” are ubiquitous and Çengelköy has one, too.  Some 500 years old, the plane tree is 15 meters tall and measures 6.6 meters in circumference and 1.92 meters in diameter. Its history includes one unfortunate incident, however, and it has thus received the epithet “The Killer.”  As the story goes, one day a dead branch fell from the top of the tree and caused the fatality of someone sitting in the tea garden. Nonetheless, the popularity of the tea garden remains high on weekends. In any case, the tree itself is becoming decrepit. One sizable limb extends horizontally about a dozen meters.  Extending a helping hand, the Üsküdar Municipality has provided it with iron props at one meter intervals. In view of its antiquity, the tree was designated one of Istanbul’s monumental trees and taken under protection. Çelik Gülersoy, the late president of the Turkey Touring and Automobile Club, included it in his listing of monumental trees.

Fishers and cats
What more could anyone wish for than to sit by the sea with their legs stretched out, in the shade of this tree aged half a millenary? The waiter will soon bring you a glass of full-bodied tea to complement the savory pastry with ground beef filling you have at hand. Inhaling the fresh sea air, you survey the scene of boats, one after the other, docking and launching at the diminutive pier in front of the tea garden. These are the fishermen who set out before the sun was up. But it would be an error to assume that all those going out to fish were men. For the fishers of the sea include women and even children. You will be amazed at the quantity of fish that is harvested.

If you are not a cat-lover, you may be somewhat discomfited sitting Under the Plane Tree, for numerous stray cats of all colors and sizes wander about the tea garden. It is not unheard of to take home a cat to your liking. Growing up in this setting, they are tame. The local residents are very fond of cats. Bowls of food and water for stray cats are set out in front of nearly every house here. Several pet shops also offer a variety of cats from which to choose.

For car aficionados
Çengelköy also boasts a car museum. Going up on Bosna Boulevard, you will come to the Automobile Museum of the Sabri Artam Foundation. The museum preserves a variety of vehicles, including antiques, race cars, custom-designed cars, and motorcycles. It also offers a maintenance and restoration service for aging cars. This represents the most comprehensive car museum in Turkey.  It is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Çengelköy, which formerly supplied the entire Üsküdar area with its famous staked tomatoes and whose fragrance wafted throughout Çengelköy, is today simultaneously nostalgic and modern. It seems small, but, as you will discover, it possesses a number of pleasant features. Summer and winter, it welcomes the visitor with the same warm reception: You will always be glad that you decided to pay a visit.

In Istanbul Issue 4
An article by: Hande Kızıltuğ

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 |  CATEGORIES: Bars & Drinks, Bosphorus, Food, Scenic & Park & Sightseeing

A beautiful coffee shop in Çengelköy: Çınaraltı Kahvesi is a special place where one can enjoy either tea or coffee while enjoying a breathtaking view of the Bosporus. Located in Üsküdar’s Çengelköy neighborhood, the coffee shop gets it name from the historical sycamore tree (Çınar in Turkish) it was built under. It opens at 7:00 a.m. and continues to serve customers until midnight. Çınaraltı Kahvesi was used as a setting for Turkish television shows “Süper Babe” and “Çınaraltı.”

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 |  CATEGORIES: Scenic & Park & Sightseeing, Tours, Whereist Driving Scenic Tour

Yildiz Park
Native name: Yıldız Parkı
Yıldız Park , one of the largest public parks in Istanbul , is located in Yıldız quarter between the palaces of Yıldız and Çırağanin Beşiktaş district . The Park was originally part of Yildiz palace . When Abdulhamid II settled in the Palace , he included part of the forest into the border of the palace . The walled-park then was reserved only for palace dwellers . After the nationalization , forest area was expanded and the garden of Yıldız Palace was opened to the public .
Today , Yıldız Park is a beautiful garden with a very large collection of flowers , plants and trees , gathered from different parts of the world and dating from the Ottoman era . Park grounds provides a fascinating panoramic views of the Bosphorus . There are two beautiful old pavilions , namely Çadır and Malta pavilions , inside the park and are used as restaurants to rest , drink tea , eat breakfast and have lunch .
The park is divided into two sections , the outer section only is open to the public and contains the Şale , Çadır and Malta pavilions and the Yıldız porcelain factory . The vegetation of the park includes magnolia , bay leaves , Judas trees , silver limes and horse-chestnuts . Yildiz Park
There are various trees such as oak , cypress , pine , yew , cedar and ash trees in the park . Besides , there are also two artificial lakes .

Malta Kiosk

The Malta Kiosk is a pavilion located in Yildiz Park to the north side of the wall separating Yildiz Palace. There are also two watching and resting pavilions in the grove being the rear garden of Ciragan Palace from the Abdul Aziz I period. The origin of the name is not certain but it is thought that during the Ottoman era certain parts of palaces were called after the names of conquered places, so this name is given after the conquest of Malta.

Malta Kiosk is an example of secular architecture of the 19th century. The outer facade is painted in yellow and green. The building was constructed by Sarkis Balyas and his brothers. During the Abdul Mecid I period, the architects have been influenced by the European architecture and motifs of nature, flowers, fruits and hunting animal figures have been widely used on the walls. Round marble columns, terraces, bedrooms, wooden and crystal halls have important features like neo-classical, neo-islamic and neo-Ottoman characteristics. The arches in S and C shapes originated from the Rococo style. Columns. palmets or sea shells have been added to the keystones of the arches. The baroque style of the 19th century has been reflected with oval windows, fluted cornices, flushed columns with small tower on ends. The vertical and horizontal elements have been balanced in the Empire style symbolising the Napoleonic period under the influence of Egyptian and Roman architecture.

Malta Kiosk
Malta Kiosk
Malta Kiosk

The pavilion has four entrance doors. When entering from the side-door at the sea, one enters a big hall. There are balconies on the second floor facing the sea. In the middle of the hall there is a marble fountain adorned with a swan. There are big marble vases placed on bases. Four swans around the pool and six fishes placed around the vase embrace each other. There are jets at the tails of the fishes and the heads of the swans spraying water.

Both sides of the marble stairs are ground marble columns from ceilings to the floor. Just near the columns is a big jet ornamented with swans bending down its head to the water as well as leaves and flower designs carved into the marble.

On the upper floor are two small rooms and restrooms around the big hall.

There is a big fireplace in the big halls, surrounded with carved colour flower designs and there are balconies in front of the rooms and hall. The building was used as a hunting and resting pavilion with different hunting animals, flowers, vegetables and fruit motifs.

Two rooms on the upper floor are decorated with flower motifs. The main staircase is double-sided and carved. Sultan Abdul Hamid attached the pavilion to the Yildiz Palace and used it for resting and visiting. Like other pavilions of the Yildiz Palace, the Malta Kiosk has witnessed important historic events.

When the Ciragan raid masterminded by Ali Suavi in 1878 in order to overthrow Murad V failed, Sultan Abdul Hamid send him to this pavilion for security reasons, effectively keeping him there under house-arrest. The trial of Midhat Pasha took place in a tent behind the pavilion.

Following the exile of Sultan Abdul Hamid, Malta Kiosk remained unused for more than 40 years. In 1941, the large grove behind Yildiz Palace was turned into Yildiz Park, transferred to the Istanbul Municipality and openend to the public.

Malta Pavilion

Interior of Malta Pavilion

Interior of Malta Pavilion

Malta Pavilion

Interior of Malta Pavilion

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 |  CATEGORIES: Cultural & Museums

This museum is located in the anchor casting workshop at the docks on the Golden Horn (Halic in Turkish), an area that symbolized industrialization in the Ottoman Empire of the 19th century. The anchor casting workshop was built in the era of Ahmet II (1703-1730) and the building’s foundations go back to a 12th century Byzantine construction. It was restored under Selim III and used by the Finance Ministry until 1951. After a fire in 1984, the building stood in ruins. In 1991, it was bought by the Rahmi Koc Museum and Cultural Foundation, restored and opened to the public in 1994.

On the first floor, motors and steam engines are displayed. On the second floor are the scientific instruments and communications apparatuses. The entrance is reserved for the aircraft department, mint machinery for printing paper money and coins, bicycles and motorcycles, the naval department and ship engines. In the open area, there is a coast guard life-boat, a tram, a narrow gauge steam train, and a vertical steam boiler. There is a submarine in the water.

Open daily between 08:30-17:00 except Mondays.
Tel: (212) 256 71 53 and 54

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 |  CATEGORIES: Historical Landmark, Istanbul Top 30 Tourist Attractions, Scenic & Park & Sightseeing, Whereist Beyazit

The mother of all tourist traps, the Grand or Covered Bazaar is a vivid illustration of all that\’s gone wrong with the free market. The bazaar is a vast collection of over 2,600 shops (last count), 24 hans (privately owned inns or marketplaces), 65 streets, 22 gates, 2 bedestens (covered markets), restaurants, mosques, fountains, and teahouses. With over 500 goldsmiths each paying anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000 per month in rent, it\’s easy to see why sales tactics are so aggressive. And like any of the world\’s major commercial centers, it attracts a disproportionate number of ruthless businessmen.

A free market gone awry, the bazaar used to operate on an Eastern mentality that factors a personal exchange into the process of buying and selling. (Although this can be a lovely way to get to know the people, buying a $10 item shouldn\’t require so much effort.) Innocent Westerners who are inexperienced or too embarrassed by the thought of bargaining (particularly Americans, who are less likely to bat an eye at a $28 T-shirt), naively fork over whatever it costs, ruining it for the rest of us. The result is that bargaining in the Grand Bazaar is falling into disuse and trinkets like those colorful hanging glass lamps are out of my price range. Nevertheless, if you show interest in an item, the price will more than likely be flexible. Etiquette requires that once you negotiate and agree on a price for something, it\’s rude to back out of the deal, but if we follow the rule of Grand Bazaar law, all\’s fair in shopping and war.

So how to explain wandering the corridors for 6 hours? Call it an addiction. Although anything but pleasant, it\’s still a mandatory stop on any itinerary in Istanbul. A good plan of attack is to enter via the Nuruosmaniye Gate (take a minute to admire the Nuruosmaniye Mosque, the first example of baroque-style architecture in Turkey), adorned with a marble fountain commemorating the fire of 1954 in which one-third of the bazaar went up in flames. This main drag is Kalpakçilar Caddesi, the glittering main thoroughfare lined on either side with shops of silver and gold. Turn right onto Kolancilar and follow it into the Iç Bedesten (Old Bazaar) for a dazzling collection of antiques, jewelry, and copperware. Turn right again and follow Aga Sokagi out of the bazaar into Çuhacilar Hani, a beautiful courtyard amidst shops of antique silver and gold jewelry. On your way down the passage to the han, notice the chaos of the open-air Stock Exchange, packed shoulder to shoulder with cellphone wielding financiers.

To the north of the bazaar just beyond the exterior gates is a scattering of more hans, less-frequented workshops with retail outlets that are infinitely more charming than those inside. Because much of the merchandise is made on the premises, prices can be lower than in the main bazaar area.

The Silk Bazaar (Sandal Bedesten), the oldest section of the bazaar (it was built 10 years after the Iç Bedesten, but burned down twice before being rebuilt in stone), and the Cervahir Bedesten couldn\’t be farther apart these days; while Cervahir\’s quality silver and jewelry can be found in Barney\’s New York shop windows, the Sandal Bedesten traded in its namesake silk for acrylic and sweats.


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