Tag Archives: istanbul

Istanbul – Sightseeing and Carpets (of course)

Rüstem Pasha Mosque

Everyone clapped when we landed and I felt like joining in – I love Istanbul and it feels good to be back. The immigration officer rattled away to me in Turkish. I think he was commenting on the couple who were in front of me and had been sent off to get their visa but who knows. When I explained that I was Indian and did not understand he seemed truly surprised. So I have now been mistaken as Turkish, Uzbek, Iranian, Moroccan, Israeli, Spanish, Arabian. I’m beginning to feel like a true world citizen.

Giving myself the day off I went to see the fabulous Rüstem Pasha and Süleymaniye mosques. I will let the photographs speak for themselves. It was very cold and I am beginning to wonder why it is that I attract freak (always cold) weather wherever I go.

Carpet heaven! I spent the day with a wholesaler …

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Day 5: Diversion to Bursa

Original Door Canvas at Great Mosque

I travelled from Kutahya to Bursa and then back to Istanbul. The city was originally called Prusa and named after its founder Prusias who founded the city in the 2nd century BC to honour Hannibal, King of Carthage. Hannibal together with his soldiers sought refuge with Prusias after losing a final battle with Rome.

Bursa is a bustling city where new and old mix quite amicably. We visited the Ulu Cami (Great Mosque) which has the original 14th century door canvas displayed on a wall and has an ablution pool cum fountain within the building.

The antique bazaar is actually about six shops and not worth the effort but the silk caravanserai (Kozahan) is impressive. I found gorgeous silk fabric with traditional Iznik patterns that is now part of the Arastan collection.

This is also home to Turkey’s chestnut production and I managed to meet one of the larger exporters …

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Day 3: Istanbul Grand Bazaar in a Whirl

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

The day passed in a whirl (although not of the dervish variety). Made two separate trips to the Grand Bazaar for multiple meetings and in the process manage to see quite a lot of the bazaar and its many interesting architectural features. When I was here last I remember being completely overwhelmed by it all. This time around, I have found it much easier. Everyone speaks some amount of English and are incredibly helpful, so if you ask for directions you get there faster than by looking at a map!

Met a vendor who makes gorgeous Ottoman lamps in every shape and colour. Watch this space.

And of course I managed a Gözleme (Turkish spinach pancake), Adana kebap, some Ayran (equivalent of the Indian buttermilk) and baklava meant for queens (and kings!) while weaving my way in and out of the many lanes of Sultanahmet!

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Back in Istanbul

Blue Mosque from Turkoman Hotel

If the Earth was a single state, Istanbul would be its capital

Napoleon Bonaparte

It is great to be back in Istanbul. After dropping my bags off at the Turkoman Hotel (with a fabulous view of the Blue Mosque) I was off to get my cultural fix. While staying in Sultanahmet is expensive, I think the accessibility it gives to the sites is well worth it.

The thing I like most about Turkey is how open they are about their heritage, opening their mosques to non-muslims outside of prayer times. I was again struck by the sheer size of the splendid 17th century Sultan Ahmed Mosque (more popularly known as the Blue Mosque and with six, rather than the more common four, two or one, minarets). It is however not my favourite. That is, for me and many tourists and Turks alike, Rustem Pasha Mosque, which I …

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  • Welcome to Arastan

    Arastan was an online store that curated rare and handpicked treasures from exotic bazaars along the ancient silk route. Unfortunately we ceased trading in early 2014.

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