Generally, crowds detract from an experience - more so in a beautiful, serene, spiritual place. In Istanbul the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) suffers due to it's popularity - especially with the cruise ship populations! To see/feel it as it should be seen/felt go in the evening - no crowds and a bonus of gorgeous lighting effects. Avoid prayer times by visiting www.namazvacti.com/Main.php?WSLanguage=EN
If you’re going to visit a historical site, it makes good sense to enjoy the whole experience as people in the past did, so I recommend the Cagaloglu Haman in Istanbul. It’s one of the oldest Turkish baths in the world and has been visited by figures as diverse and illustrious as Florence Nightingale, King Edward VIII and Tony Curtis. This place was a gift to the city from Sultan Mahmud 1 in 1741and it retains the original features, such as beautiful high-domed ceilings and marble fountains as well as an interior garden. The bathing experience is still just as it was in the Ottoman days - you are given a brisk body exfoliation followed by a bubble massage as you lie on a smooth marble plinth. I skidded around like a beached seal as the masseur slapped and pummelled me before washing my hair with a deliciously herbal scented soap. Afterwards, wrapped in white fluffy towels and sipping tea, I could almost imagine myself back in the days of the Sultan.
Alemdar Mh. Cağaloğlu Hamamı Sk No:34, Fatih, Turkey
+90 212 522 2424
Google map: bit.ly/15fTNQg
My family have just returned from istanbul. This is the fourth time I have been to this beautiful city but this was the first time we stayed at Alibaba Suites I would highly recommend these apartments to anyone. They are only five minutes away from the Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet Mosgue, are very clean, close to local shops where you are not paying tourist prices for food and other essentials. The apartments are fairly priced for what you get, better than staying in a hotel where you are stuck in one room. There was a lovely terrace upstairs where we used to have breakfast daily
Bunyamin and Moustafa, the two partners were very helpful and my children became attached to Bunyamin and wanted to visit them in their travel agency every day. We used to pass by and talk to Ben who was hospitable and would always give us good advice and looked after us as if we were their personal guests.
The apartment was cleaned every day and it was nice to come back to a nice and clean apartment.
Thank you very much Ben and Moustafa hope to see you soon again.
Walk through the ornate lobby of the Seven Hills hotel in Sultanahmet, and take the lift to the rooftop bar for the best view in Istanbul. Sip a Turkish beer or wine while drinking in the 360 degree panorama, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the ships on the Bosphorus. Swap seats each round for a different but equally stunning view!
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