Where To Start Dig­ging

Business Traveler (USA) - - COVER STORY -

On any first visit to Is­tan­bul there are a few musts not to miss. These are the Ha­gia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Tokapi Palace, Basil­ica Cis­terns, Dolmabahce Palace and the Grand Bazaar.Yes, they are tourist mag­nets with throngs and lines and groups hud­dling in a va­ri­ety of lan­guages but the up­shot is the same. The spots are sig­nif­i­cantly his­toric, the beauty and preser­va­tion mag­nif­i­cent, and they un­de­ni­ably con­trib­ute to the mo­saic of what is Is­tan­bul, no mat­ter what the pur­pose for vis­it­ing.

For cost-ef­fi­ciency, start with the Is­tan­bul Mu­seum Pass and sim­ply fol­low the map. The pass costs TRY85 (around $30) and al­lows easy ac­cess to twelve of Is­tan­bul’s most pop­u­lar mu­se­ums, with­out hav­ing to en­dure the long queues. Pur­chase the pass through the concierge desk at in­ter­na­tional ho­tels. It is valid for 120 hours start­ing with your first mu­seum visit and of­fers an­cil­lary discounts at smaller pri­vate mu­se­ums as well as shops around the city.Visit mu­se­umpas­sis­tan­buld­is­trib­u­tor.com.

Tokapi is notable if only for the im­men­sity of it. In its hey­day (1465–1856) the cas­tle res­i­dence held some 5000 in­hab­i­tants at­tended by 8000 staff, and con­trary to the 1964 ca­per film star­ring Melina Mer­couri and Peter Usti­nov, the jew­els are still there – in par­tic­u­lar, the Spoon­maker’s Di­a­mond that car­ries with it a legacy of his­tory and in­trigue.

Be pre­pared to spend time at the palace, a good half day to wan­der through court­yards, mu­se­ums of all man­ner of sa­cred relics, elab­o­rate digs where con­cu­bines spent their time or kitchens where cooks pre­pared meals for a city each day. Don’t miss the relic of Mo­hammed’s foot­print, eas­ily as big as an ele­phant’s; also, a walk­ing staff be­lieved to be Moses’.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.