You have to see it to feel it! Unless, you experience it yourself, you won’t get the actual essence of bring in a city like Istanbul. My mom has been to many cities including many of the North American ones, and now I understand why she said, Istanbul is the most beautiful city in her eyes. It indeed has a mesmerising feel which one cannot know unless they are here.
The area where we are staying in is close to three major attractions of Istanbul- Blue mosque, Aya Sophia and Topkapi palace museum. I’d remember Topkapi forever because I’ve seen Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) footprints on a stone, his beard, swords, water-pot, his dress along with many other historical belongings. Swords and belongings of 4 khalifas was also there, so were Fatima (RA), her son Hussain’s dress, soil of Karbala etc. I’ve seen the magical stick of Prophet Moses (AS), sword of Daud (AS) And belongings of many other prophets was also there. I don’t know how the Ottomans preserved these historical and precious artefacts, but I truly feel blessed seeing these in my own eyes. Nabila was equally mesmerised. We’ve also seen Ottoman Empire’s weapons and belongings at Topkapi palace museum and those are just so beautiful!
How lucky the children who born in countries like these, they grow up looking at these amazing things and grow up with pride of their Ottoman forefathers. Not everyone understands English here but those who does, they’re pretty good. Since their tourism industry is booming, it creates new possibilities for them as there’s poverty in this country as well. People coming here from all over the world is actually great for them. However, very rarely we have seen people from the subcontinent and almost no Bangladeshi yet. Hopefully this will change. I wish they allowed taking pictures inside Topkapi palace but unfortunately they don’t. You have to come and see them yourself.
We couldn’t cover much in 2-3 days but a cruise and bus tour around the Golden Horn and Bosphorus channel is absolutely must for Istanbul visitors! It’ll cost you around 150 Turkish Lira for a half day afternoon trip spanning around 5-6 hours. They’d pick up from the hotel and drop off wherever you want, we’ve chosen hotel drop off would be nice to take some rest. On our way we’ve seen Suleymania mosque created by Sultan Suleyman the magnificent. It was the biggest mosque in Istanbul. The cruise trip is of around 3 hours and it’ll pass so fast, like a roller coaster ride! Beautiful blue water, amazing structures around the shoreline and rich history of these palaces will keep you mesmerised. Wind will be chilling so bring your winter clothes and cover yourself well. Temperature at Istanbul is from 4 degrees to 14 degrees celsius at the moment in April, a good preparation for our destination Canada. I however like this kind of weather over hot and humid ones since I sweat a lot.
Anyway, Bosphorus is the international waterway that separates Asian side of Istanbul from the European side. We’ve stayed in the European side since the major tourist attractions are on this side. Asian side is equally beautiful and the richest people of Turkey lives in the Asian side. We’ve seen the hospital where Florence Nightingale came to serve during the WWII. We’ve seen the Ottoman palace which turned into a luxury hotel, where your price starts from 5000 USD to 35000 USD per night, pretty cheap right? Most of the other Ottoman structures were turned into universities, hospitals or museums. I’ve recorded some videos for a glimpse of the Bosphorus. I’ll compile and post it soon.
After getting off the cruise we went all the way up to hill top from where we could see Golden horn. We had a nice city tour as well where we saw many other historical places, like fortress of Romans and walls of Constantinople, aged back 1500 years and more.
We faced traffic jam on our way back, met a Hydrabadi old couple living in Chicago .. they thought we’re Indians but comes out we have another country we call home- Bangladesh. Nabila goes for a shopping in the nearby market while I plan to give my back some rest for the long flight to Toronto next day.
I don’t remember when I fall sleep after talking to my mother 😇 .. wrote this last night around Fazr time next morning. Keep us in your prayers.
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