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Showing posts from 2015

Istanbul Museums for free: Turkish Bank Museum

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Even though Istanbul does provide a lot of museums, the majority of them are unfortunately - for the budget traveler - not free, not even cheap. One of the very few exception is the Turkish Bank Museum - Türkiye IS Bankasi Museum or Isbank Museum. 
Turkish Bank Museum IstanbulAccording to the name of the Museum one normally would suspect it is a museum about the Turkish Bank, but that is only half of the museum. Being situated in an old bank building in Eminönü it is a sight by itself. Built 1892 and used as the Isbank main branch from 1926 to 2005 it is a museum since 2007, and hosts changing exhibitions - about three to four throughout the year.

Besides an exhibition about the history of Türkiye IS Bankasi itself and about the technical development of banking over time, this years main exhibition is about Canakkale 1915. The Canakkale 1915 "From the depths to the trenches" exhibition will run until the mid of August and is also in English. Partially on the signs and complet…

Free Turkish Courses and many more

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Everybody who is intending to stay longer in the cultural and economic heart of Turkey, Istanbul, may want to learn Turkish. At least at a basic level. May it be just to get better in touch with all the locals and their culture, for better integrating or even for just being able to interact smoother when it comes down to everyday life.

Turkish lessons & more in Istanbul - for freeThere are literally mirads of Turkish lessons offered all over the city. Of better and worse quality and every level of rates asked. But besides that it is not the easiest thing to pick the right language school at all, not everybody may be able to pay much for a language course. Luckily here come the ISMEK in, which is kind of a free public school run by government. In the first place aiming at Turkish residents to provide courses in a broad range of topics from languages over programming to handicrafts, ISMEK also offers Turkish language courses for foreigners. And the best about it, those courses are f…

Turkish Food 101: Cold Street Food

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After providing an overview of the breakfast served in Turkey and typical drinks in Turkey, now an overview of the cold street food in the city. The probably most well known of them is the sesame ring called Simit, which can literally be found on every corner of the city in the red push-cars on the street. For a mere 1 TL one gets a decent snack, sometimes even with chocolate cream or cream cheese, the latest is highly recommended to try.


Turkish Cold Street FoodSimit - crispy round savory roll covered with sesame, kind of a Turkish bagel. The street version, the sokak simit (cold) is very crispy. Some street vendors also offer to prepare it with cream cheese or chocolate cream. Simi are dipped in water which is sweetened with molasses and are dipped into sesame seeds before baking. This process keeps them moist and tasty. Besides the only contain half of the calories as a boiled bagel. Prices are between 0.75 and 1.40 TL for the plain Simit, cream cheese or Nutella is normally 1 TL ex…

Special: Tulip Festival in Istanbul

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April until the beginning of May is tulip season in Istanbul. Since 2006 the city of Istanbul is honoring the tulip with this festival. And it is totally free, no entry fees, no nothing.
As the tulips are literally spread all over the city, providing eye candy, there are some spots, namely parks, which are especially worth visiting to enjoy the colorful tulips. These four spots are the highlights of the Tulip Festival, or Lale Festivali in Turkish.


Yildiz Grove, BesiktasThe Yildiz Grove is actually located between Besiktas and Ortaköy, and therefore an ideal spot to visit on the way to the market or the mosque in Ortaköy. It is one of the biggest green area close to the city and spreads over the hills above Besiktas delivering beautiful views of the Bosphorus, while inhabiting lots of different plants and an overwhelming amount of squirrels.
Best reachable by bus from Taksim or Besiktas.
Gülhane Park, Fatih/SultanahmetRight next to the Topkapi Palace and the Archeological Museum the Gül…

Viewpoints in Istanbul: Camlica Hill

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Camlica Hill is probably the number one spot for watching the sunset over Istanbul. It offers a unique perspective on the city, overlooking the old town - Sultanahmet, the areas of Besikatas and Beyoglu, the first Bosphorus Bridge and the main Istanbul waterway, the Bosphorus.
If the weather conditions allow it, it is even possible to see the Princes Islands and the famous Mount Uludag near Bursa.



Camlica Hill - The view over IstanbulCamlica is located about 4km from Üsküdar and divided into two hills: Kücük Camlica (‘Little Pine Hill’) and Büyük Camlica (‘Big Pine Hill’). Büyük Camlica is the highest point in Istanbul at 267m above sea level. Therefore providing the best views of Istanbul. Nevertheless Kücük CAmlica is worth visiting too, being more peaceful and offering beautiful gardens, forests and walking trails.
Especially during the spring time Camlica is worth a visit, as in anticipation of the Istanbul Tulip Festival many tulips are planted all over the area. Another colorful t…

Emirgan Park - Green Istanbul

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One of the biggest and most known parks of Istanbul is the Emirgan Park. The 452.000 square meter park is located on the European side of Istanbul, between the neighborhoods of Rümeli and Istinye. It is one of the big green lungs relatively close to the city centre. 
And if ones decides to take a bus from Taksim, Kabatas or Besiktas to the park, it also provides a nice ride along the shore of the Bosphorus, passing Ortaköy with its famous mosque - possible stop! - and the two Bosphorus bridges. 
Emirgan Park: Free views and recreationEmirgan provides not only some spectacular views of the Bosphorus but also a lot of caves, ponds, waterfalls, historic trees and water ponds. Altogether with a mirad of walking paths and three restored Ottoman mansions it creates a pretty unique atmosphere. The three mansions are a prime example for the Ottoman architecture of the late years, and are named in regards to their colors, pink, white and yellow. 

The Emirgan park especially creates a unique atmo…

Street Art for free in Istanbul - Kadiköy

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Yet another hidden gem in the always surprising city of Istanbul is located on the Asian side, in Kadiköy. There, located in some in the first glimpse normal streets of a standard neighborhood of Istanbul, around almost every corner there is an impressive piece of street art to find. 
Backstreet Street ArtThe street art in the backstreets of Kadiköy mainly features murals which have been painted during the Muralist Festival  2012 and 2013. For those who wonder what a mural is, a mural is is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. But now some of those impressive and marvelous murals should speak for themselves. Here are three out of eleven wall high murals, not counting all the graffitis which are to be found around the area. 




Occupy Antartica from B.Shanti of the artist collective "Captain Borderline". 

Elephant at Night by South African rooted artist Freddy Sam 



Resistencia by INTI, an artist based in Valparaíso, Ch…