Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Istanbul

Topkapi Palace Museum
Sited on a promontory overlooking the confluence of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, the Topkapi is within walking distance of Sultanahmet's other cultural treasures.
Traditional Music Clubs
Book ahead to secure a table at Kallavi 20, one of the best meyhanes to hear traditional Turkish folk music. Knock back enough raki and you'll soon feel Turkish enough to join them on the dance floor.
Sultanahmet (Blue) Mosque
Located opposite the Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet, the Blue Mosque was built to prove (unsuccessfully) that Islamic architects could build a structure as wonderful. Nevertheless, it's a must-see.
Sakirin Mosque
Beautiful contemporary mosque, designed by an avant-garde female architect...
St Stephen’s Cathedral
Still used by the Bulgarian community for whom it was originally built in 1871, St Stephen's Cathedral is located on the short of the Golden Horn.
Mosaic Museum
Tucked away by the Blue Mosque, this unprepossessing building houses a mosaic floor depicting bucolic and mythological scenes. Afterward invest in more modern artefacts in the Arasta Bazaar.
Rumeli Hisari
Built by Mehmet II in 1452 as part of his conquest of Byzantium, the castle played a pivotal role in the campaign. In its most recent incarnation, it is now an open air theatre.
Kallavi
A fasil music bar that really gets the locals jigging about in an orgy of delight...
Kiz Kulesi
An immensely popular landmark despite its lack of historical or architectural significance, the Maiden's Tower is located just off the Asian Shore on a rocky outcrop.
Galata Tower
This 14th-century tower was converted by the Ottomans into a prison with one hell of a view over the city...
Hagia Sophia
Built by Justinian in AD537, the Hagia Sophia was the largest building on earth for a millennium. With its absolutely stunning interior, if you see one thing in Istanbul, see the Hagia Sophia.
Istanbul Modern
Housed in a former warehouse in Karaköy, Istanbul Modern is one of the few places in the city to see Turkey's more recent artistic achievements.
City Walls
Walk the length of the wall from the Yedikule Fortress on the Sea of Marmara or the ruined Byzantine Blachernae palace on the Golden Horn.
Adali Meyhane
Live Turkish music on the 8th floor of a hotel...
Arter
The most striking of the many appearing contemporary art spaces appearing in Istanbul...
Vefa Bozacisi
From boza (a fermented millet drink unchanged since Turkic pre-history) to sira (a fermented grape juice), a host of traditional pleasures are on offer at the pretty Vefa Bozacisi.
Smyrna
Fashionable and relaxed, Smyrma hits all the right notes. Designed with lounging in mind you might go for breakfast and find yourself still there for sundowners.
Mavra
Galata's hippest hangout comes equipped with free WiFi, funky tunes and delicious cake...
Mesale Cay Bahcesi
Although long on cultural splendour, Sultanamet is short on great places to stop for a snack - places that aren't uber-touristy that is. Despite a prime location next to the Blue Mosque, Mesale retains a local flavour. styl
Nature and Peace
Spiritual home to the doner kebab and lamb köfte, Istanbul has been slow to embrace vegetarianism. Nature and Peace is one of the few places with a meat-free ethos.
Leyla
Part of the Cihangir social scene - think fashionable creative types - the multi-facted Leyla is perfect for a coffee and mid-morning snack or light lunch whilst you're exploring the local boutiques.
Kumkapi Meyhanes
Although popularity with the tourist hordes has taken some of the joy out of eating at the Kumkapi Meyhanes, it is still a fun experience on a warm night. The fish is, as always, delicious.
Doga Balik
Delicious meze and fabulously fresh fish are served alongside superb views of the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. Within easy reach of Beyoglu's bars and clubs; head to nearby 5 Kat for a post-dinner drink.
Empress Zoe
Stylish in its simplicity and located in the heart of Sultanahmet, the Empress Zoe takes some beating for cultural visitors. Relax with a drink in the garden or on the roof terrace and soak up the atmosphere of Old Istanbul.yEventWatcherDiv

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