Istanbul, Former Capital of the Ottomans: Take Your Shoes Off


ISTANBUL sits at the head of modern Turkey, and is one of the world’s great cities.  It might not be like the old days in command of an empire, but it ain’t bad.  Istanbul’s glory days started as Constantine’s “New Rome” in 330 AD for over a hundred years, and then continued as the Byzantine capital of Constantinople for a millennium, before becoming the Ottoman capital for almost five hundred years.

Nowadays it’s a pleasantly huge city, more sympathetic than most of its size, surrounded by water, easily walkable and not expensive.  Landmarks include the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, TopkapiPalace, and many many more, too many to mention… but I’ll try.  How about the Seraglio, the Çinili Kiosk (Pavilion of Tiles), the Audience Chamber (Arzodası), the Hirkaiserif, the Baghdad Kiosk, the Beylerbey Palace, the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Çeragan Palace, the Grand Bazaar and the Yıldız Palace, for starters?  That should keep you busy.

It also contains a huge number of backpackers’ hostels, generally of very good quality (but don’t look for the kitchen; I guess it’s not a guy thing).  My new book “Backpackers and Flashpackers in Eastern Europe” has some forty–that’s 40–listed in it, with full specs and contact details.  It should published any day now, counting down: 10…