Monday, 27 November 2017
The plan for today was to visit Topkapı palace. We headed to the palace from Gulhane Park, as it was nearer to our hotel. As we were walking towards the palace, we saw remnants of Roman columns by the roadside, from the Byzantine era. There were so many of the old remains that it’s just left by the roadside.
The crowd wasn’t too big that morning. We bought the entrance tickets from the machine, headed to the gate, and after entering the palace, we bought the audio guide.
Completed in the 1460s, Topkapi was the main residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans.
It’s quite a big compound. We started the tour by visiting the harem and then into the main compound.
At the back of the palace, I found the museum exhibiting artifacts from prophet Muhammad and his companions. Among the items on display are weapons and daily tools from the prophets era.
From Topkapi Palace, we walked to Hagia Sofia in search for a lunch place. I was surprised to find the palace is actually located right behind Hagia Sofia! We found a decent restaurant near Sultanahmet tram stop. The food was good.
After lunch, we took the tram to the Spice Bazaar. Built in 1660CE, it is also known as the Egyptian Bazaar as it was built from revenues from the Egyptian territory (back then part of the Ottoman Empire).
The bazaar wasn’t very big, but it is clean, organised and well ventilated. There were lots of spices on sale, living up to its name.
After we were done at the bazaar, my daughter Sofia had some fun chasing birds at the nearby square. There were even people selling bird food for you to attract the birds. It was good fun.
We took the tram back to Sirkeci. On the way back to the hotel, we had coffee and turkish sweets at Osmanlizadeler, a cafe that has been around since 1879. The cafe is just next to our hotel.
For dinner, we wanted to eat something else (apart from Tukish food). So I decided to get Burger King from Sirkeci area. I am always intrigued to see the different menus of common fast foods (eg. McDonalds, KFC) around the world.