Our family recently took a quick trip to Istanbul and I wanted to share some photos I took of this magical city. We had just under a week there which I found was not enough to explore everything Istanbul has to offer. Incredible, irresistible, inspirational, intriguing, sometimes irritatingly crowded Istanbul made a huge impression on me and I will definitely return there one day with better time on my hands.
Turkey is a popular holiday destination among Saudis and we saw many of them in Istanbul. The city is easily reachable from Saudi and visas can be purchased on arrival. The beautiful mosques, shopping, great food and Islamic history attracts large numbers of Saudi tourists here.
Turks love love flowers! This is from a flower market at Taksim square.
We took an evening cruise on the Bosphorus it was beautiful despite the cloudy day. And also very romantic of course!
Cruising between the two continents.
Taksim Square, this lady was selling bird seeds for tourists to feed the pigeons.
Topkapi Palace splendor. The Sultan had over 500 concubines in his palace! It was so huge we didn’t have time to even see a third of it, but enough to get a general impression of the ridiculously lavish life style of the time.
Mouth-watering Turkish foods. These men were breaking the clay pot dish with the spoon and they made it into a spectacular show on the street where people sat watching on the restaurant terraces.
The Sultan’s harem at Topkapi palace. This place was freakin huuuuge! There was separate quarters for the favorite concubines and mothers to sons and then a less fancy motel like part where I guess the less popular lovers were kept. What a sad life that must have been (for the women)
Check out the Sultans modest bedroom furnace!
Inside the Harem a view to the sky. I wonder how many women looked through these holes and thought of escaping their miserable life as basically sex slaves to the Sultan..
The “flower passage” is lined with restaurants and cafe’s.
Turkish baba enjoying some traditional Turkish ice cream.
Inside Aya Sofia the original place of the Virgin Mary is almost identical to the direction of the Qibla, is it coincidence? How amazing I thought!
The entrance to the Aya Sofia which was originally a church then turned into a mosque.The images of Jesus and Mary were covered and then revealed again after it was turned into a museum in 1930’s. I saw only a few Muslim tourists at Aya Sofia. Comparing to the neighbor Blue Mosque where the crowd was mixed of non-muslims and muslims alike. I thought it was sad and showed how religious tolerance among Muslims is non existent. Why would they not want to visit Aya Sofia as much?
Cat at the Blue Mosque.
Sultanahmet mosque courtyard
Inside Blue Mosque
Alladdins lamps and a thousand other things for sale at the Grand Bazaar’s 4000 shops
I love these lamps!
Most delightful Turkish delights.
Just another of the thousands of Istanbul’s mosques
A sheesha cafe in Sultanahmet.
A poet and his kitten at an ancient cemetery.
Aya Sofia by night.
A lazy well fed and groomed street cat.
Crowded Istilkal Caddesi
I love the cats of Istanbul they are treated so well they look like house cats
Roasted chestnuts sold by street vendors
The Turks are obsessed with the evil eye!
My daughter had many admirers people would come up to her all the time to squeeze her cheeks and say mashallah.Here a police officer stopped us to give her a ticket for being too cute!
Which picture do you like the most? My favorite is the Turkish Baba :)
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Hello there! I’m Laura, the founder of Blue Abaya- the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia, established in 2010. Travel has always been my passion- so far I’ve visited 75 countries and I’m always on the lookout for new adventures inside and outside of Saudi Arabia! Follow my adventures in Saudi and beyond on instagram: instagram.com/blueabaya