A Photographer's Guide to Istanbul

I've wanted to go to Istanbul for many years. My friends who love Istanbul insist that it's a must-see destination for all travelers. They describe Istanbul as the perfect blend of east and west. So when Turkish Airlines started flying out of Boston I took it as a sign. Earlier this year I spent a week there and this is what I found. If it is your first trip to Istanbul as it was mine, start in Sultanahmet. It is the oldest part of Istanbul and the location of most of its historical sights.

Hagia Sophia

The thrill of experiencing this extraordinary famous church-turned-mosque-turned-museum is hard to overstate. 

Aya Sofya

Topkapi Palace

Home to generations of sultans and their wives. The palace is a collection of lush green courtyards and views to die for over the Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and Golden Horn.

Topkapi Palace

Blue Mosque

The early 17th-century Blue Mosque is one of only a handful of mosques in the world to boast six minarets. It's not really blue. Well, at least not from the outside. Inside, all the walls are covered with fine blue İznik tiles, which I'm assuming why it got its name. 

Blue Mosque

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. You'll find signs everywhere saying photography is not allowed. I found as long as you're buying things the vendors are pretty cool with you taking photos. 

Grand Bazaar

Sultanahmet District

Istanbul's Sultanahmet District cries out to be viewed from high. You can get a bird's-eye view of everything from the balcony at the top of the Galata Tower in Beyoğlu. So on a cold snowy night, I walked the narrow streets of Karaköy to the Galata Tower. After a brief climb, I saw this. Across the Golden Horn's junction with the Bosphorus, the majestic mosques of Sultanahmet. Yes it was cold, yes it was rainy and yes it was windy. But I saw this.

On a cold snowy night, I walked the narrow streets of Karaköy to reach the Galata Tower. After a brief climb, I saw this -- across the Golden Horn's junction with the Bosphorus, the majestic mosques of Sultanahmet. Yes it was cold, yes it was rainy and yes it was windy. But I saw this!

The Bosporus

The Bosphorus is an internationally significant waterway located in Turkey. It forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia.Taking a boat tour along shoreline best reveals the city’s grandeur hidden from street view, like the Dolmabahce Palace.

Bosphorus
Dolmabahce Palace

Is Istanbul the perfect blend of east and west? It is more east if you're visiting from the west. It is more west if you're visiting from the east.