Istanbul, the European capital of culture. This an understatement. God, Istanbul is the world.

My fascination of Istanbul started when my best friend, Ata, showed me beautiful photos of Istanbul from his Facebook album. Then, I read a lifestyle magazine that featured a Robin Padilla’s trip to Istanbul. The photos were again, outstanding, and I felt Robin did really enjoy his whole trip. I was completely mesmerized and from that day on, Istanbul was a dream place to see.

God, Istanbul is the world, just saying it again. It was way far richer when it comes to culture, and everyone was so accommodating. In the streets, people were offering us their warmest smiles. They loved to guess the origins of people – my friends, Nawi and Boggs can be Koreans, Nash can be Chinese, and Tani can be Arab – so it was funny, sometimes we were Malaysians, Thais; but most of the time, they called us “Japon! Japon!”

It was a royal palace. Everyone seems to talk and walk like the empress and emperor. The city was a display of pride and royalty. I loved the combination of everything Ottoman, everything Byzantine and everything Constantinople; everything Asian and yet everything European. I was witnessing a live showcase of the three famous empires in the history of mankind.

I was speechless many times. The showcase of culture was beyond compare and inexpressible in natural human terms. The Panorama 1453 museum was whew! I was totally blown away, like my mouth was unconsciously open while entering the 3D grand painting of the conquest of Constantinople. The dome painting was probably as huge as Smart-Araneta Coliseum, and it was so real that I thought I was in a time machine. Another surprised, the museum was underground, so one cannot tell that a spectacular art creation was happening down there.

The Blue Mosque, of course, was another superb display of the Ottomans. The interior was a work of a genius, or a super-natural genius. Same feelings I thought with Byzantine’s Hagia Sofia, sunken Basilica, and the Topkapi Palace. To my surprised, these great contributions to human history of civilization were just in “one square” or district. As if, the Sultan Ahmet Square was the center of the universe, philosophers, artisans, geniuses, probably angels and demons as well, all gathered by God in one place.

And for more enchantment, just a few blocks away was the famous Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets and the most visited markets in the world. Next to it was the Bosphorous, a strait connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. It was not summer, so the weather was cold, in fact, very cold, but still we managed to enjoy the Bosphorous cruise, sightseeing mansions and forts of Istanbul.

Obviously, Istanbul is the cradle of everything possible, and I wish to live in Istanbul, forever. #


Me at the Blue Mosque


Me at the Grand Bazaar (Photo credit to my friend, Tani)


Istanbul’s usual scenery. That is not the Blue Mosque. All mosques in Istanbul look similar. In the photo are Bosphorous’ boat restaurants


The Hagia Sofia is a former Orthodox cathedral, a former Roman Catholic cathedral, a former mosque; now a museum


Jump shot with friends at the cobbled-street of Istanbul

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The cobbled-streets of Istanbul


Sexy “aswangs” is Istanbul. LOL


I LOVE ISTANBUL merchandise

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Finest interior. The hanging lanterns are lovely. I got goosebumps inside.


On our way to the shocking Panorama 1453 Museum. Don’t be fooled by that tiny building not afar.


Inside the Panorama 1453 Museum

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At the Grand Bazaar


The sunken Basilica. Medusa’s giant head is one of the pillars of this Basilica.


Inside Topkapi Palace, where walls, domes, plates, candles are decorated with golds. Topkapi is the largest palace in the world. One of the biggest diamonds in the world is also in this palace. Prophet Muhammad’s beard (as claimed) can also be seen inside.


Heading to the market for dinner. In Istanbul, it is rare to find popular fast food chains.


Istanbul by night (Photo credit to my friend, Tani)


Me at the Boshorous cruise


48 thoughts on “Istanbul

  1. I could have never enough of Turkey. It’s one of those magical places as if I’m riding the magic carpet. I’m glad you had a chance to experience the life. And to be a Bosphorous it the division of two continents, Asia and Europe. Imagine that.


  2. Not to be missed are all the Baklava variants in the bazaar! The chocolate baklava is heavenly! The bazaar is also a great place to find decorations and vintage curios at reasonable prices, the only problem is getting them home!


  3. Hey Layas,
    I totally enjoyed reading about your Istanbul trip. i visited Istanbul around the month of September last year and i fell in love with it. i am planning to go there again during peak winter and even visit Cappadocia.

    when you were at Istanbul, did u vista the Spice maker as well?? the Turkish Delight from the market is way more delicious than the ones i bought from a sweet shop in the high street.


    1. Hi rain123xia, Istanbul is lovely, right? we didn’t really go into “shopping” esp the spices, but we tried all the good food and went to various restaurants. Istanbul is really amazing, but other cities as well are equally inviting. I will post about the other cities as well, we actually did a road trip, and the view is just amazing!


    1. Hi Charlton Kis-ing, thank you very much. I hope you will enjoy more of my upcoming travel post here. Salamat at bisita lang lagi. I also like your blog and what you are currently doing is really a great contribution to society.


  4. I hate that Istanbul’s tiled streets stay put, not like from where I live LOL! I’ve overdosed on many a TLC show in the past months, and this is definitely a place I’d like to plain walk around in. Plus, I heard (watched and read, fine~) the food’s good.

    Now all I need is money….


    1. Hi newspapermache, the food’s good, but not really match with Pinoy appetite. But I enjoyed the food. But they have the best yogurt drink on earth, they called it Aryan, and the best ice cream on earth they called it dondurma, Marash ice-cream. I will blog about it later.


    1. Hi fargazer, thank you for that, i googled where Eastern Europe is, and yeah, you are right, it is a must-see, especially Russia. Let’s see, how my luck will work this time around to travel that part of the world.


    1. Hi Sarahlyn Pablo, how are you? thank you for laughing, I really thought of sexy aswang when i saw those hilarious mannequins. By the way, I love your refreshing, cool blog. Let’s enjoy each other’s company, virtually. LOL Good day!


    1. Hi Leandra, yes, it is very beautiful. If you want to go back, try to visit other cities in Turkey, you will find yourself in a different dimension – beautiful as Istanbul, yet uniquely identified with the Greek tradition and the Arabs on the other, depending on where you want to go. Inshallah you will go back. Appreciate your comment and visiting this blog. Your blog is also very interesting.


      1. very brief nga when we were there due to work stuff. hopefully longer and more leisurely next time hehe. i have tons of Turk friends here in Bah and they do keep blabbing about other places like Capaddocia, Bursa… & am looking forward to that trip!

        thanks for visiting my blog as well, will keep posted, 🙂


  5. Gosh! You make me want to visit Istanbul! Funny how one person can alter someone else’s mind with word choice. The way you described Istanbul was really nice. I didn’t think much of Istanbul before but now you have me wanting to visit 🙂 If only I had the money.

    The photos look amazing by the way!


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