There are plenty of cities I want to visit and Istanbul, since ages, took pride of place on my to-do-list. Thanks to a good and spontaneously crazy friend my dream came true and suddenly I found myself fastening my seat belt saying „Merhaba, Istanbul“.
Honestly, there is something dangerous and sexy about this city: the clash and dance between East and West, between hot new scene and ancient culture, the energy that crackles in the air while approx. 14 million (!!!) inhabitants jam across the divided city. In detail being the melting pot between orient and occident, Istanbul combines the best of two cultures: ottoman past meets European modernity, chic designer shops stand next to splendid mosques, traditional coffee shops compete against fancy in-bars. And all this happens on the coast of the vibrant Bosporus, which changes its picture every single second with boats from all possible sizes travelling from East to West. My favourite hang out place was the rooftop of the hotel I was staying: a tremendous and unforgettable view, which took my breath and let my breakfast last for hours.
My blitz-visit was filled with a full time program especially being looking around for inspiration for a possible new collection for www.silviagattin.com. Here I want to focus on my personal city highlights, which I warmly recommend:
Located in the old embassy row in Beyoglu and on the rooftop of a 19th century apartment building this bar slash restaurant slash rooftop terrace slash club offers a 360 (thus the name) breath taking landscape view of Istanbul. Food is great, service is great, show is great, music is great, whole atmosphere: simply great.
I am a huge sushi fan and my Istanbul-travel-partner in crime brought me to Zuma, a traditional Japanese fusion restaurant with special food styles, I am still dreaming about. Also special is the location, namely in the vivid party area of Istanbul, Ortakoy, directly at the Bosporus and right next to Anjelique, a club where we afterwards burned dancing (oh, the Turks know how to party!!!) our dinner – calories.
SIGHTS in the old town:
The most appropriate way to feel the spirit of Istanbul is to make a walking tour in the Bazaar District. You will need a whole morning or afternoon to jingle around all the stands and specialized areas selling spices, clothes, jewelry, leather goods, interior and home décor objects. Don’t forget to bargain!
Sultan Ahmed Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque because of its amazing bluish interior decoration, is the most important mosque of Istanbul. It was built by the Ottoman sultan Ahmed I between 1609 – 1616 facing Hagia Sophia, in order to compete with it.
This great architectural beauty and an important monument both for Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires was once a church, later a mosque, and now a museum and next to the Blue Mosque THE must-see in Istanbul.