Exploring History in Istanbul’s Conservative Neighborhoods

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Miniatürk

Located in Istanbul’s Conservative Haskoy, Miniaturk, one of the world’s largest miniature parks is an unexpected delight. It is home to 122 miniature replicas of all of Turkey’s most important points of interest. Each key monument has an audio explanation of the history of the display. 

Miniaturk is a great crash course in Turkish and Ottoman legacy, it is fun for kids and adults. The facility also has a go-kart track, a cafeteria and a lovely tea-garden

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Rahmi Koç Museum

Transportation buffs will not want to miss the Rahmi Koc Museum also located in Haskoy on the Golden Horn. Inspired by the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan, Mr. Koc opened this permanent exposition which is host to antique race cars, aircraft, trams and even an impressive marine display among many other things. After learning about the history of Turkish transportation, industry and communication 

 

I would recommend walking to the nearby Lale Lokantasi for lunch. This lokantasi is a favorite among locals but little known by tourists due to the non-touristic location. The English speaking owner will greet you with a smile and a handshake and you can eat as the locals do.

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Zeyrekhane

Sit outside and enjoy a tea in this calm Fatih location. Zeyrekhane upscale restaurant is best known for its stunning views of the Golden Horn, Galata Tower, and the Suleymaniye Mosque just to name a few. It is located near the Zeyrek Mosque which was once a monastery although was later transformed. 

Zeyrekhane is also one of the best places in Istanbul to listen to the Muslim Call to Prayer. Due to large quantity of mosques in such a small area it is amazing to hear the calls resonate all around.

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Saraçhane Parkı

Take a walk through Sarachane Park and marvel at the Valens Aqueduct built by the Roman to provide water to the city. Also located in the park is the 16th century Ottoman, Burmali Mescit Mosque which translates to ‘mosque with the spiral minaret’. 

This park could also be considered the conservative answer to Gezi Park as in recent years protests related to Egypt, Syria and Kurdish issues have been held at this location.

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Grand Bazaar - Kapalı Çarşı

No trip to Fatih would be complete without visiting this massive covered bazaar. Housed between the Beyazit Mosque and the Nuruosmaniye Mosque the Grand Bazaar is one of the most visited monuments in the world. Depending on the season anywhere from 250,000 to 400,000 tourist and locals visit this bazaar daily to do their shopping.

 

 Everything from spices, to gold, carpets to trinkets are sold. There are over 3,000 shops at the Kapalicarsi so be prepared to spend some time if you want to see it all!

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Jen Welter-Çaylı

An American expat who has been living in Istanbul for the last 4 years. Interested in travel, exploring other cultures and eating great food along the way.

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