A-Z April Challenge (Cities Visited) – I is for Istanbul

For me Istanbul has recently been used as a gateway to somewhere else – overnight train journeys east en-route to Syria and Georgia, direct to Thessaloniki and as a flight stop off en-route for taking an overnight train from Tbilisi to Baku or a journey through Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan.

This has usually meant just whistle stop visits, but I have still been able to cram in plenty in the city that straddles two continents.

The first time that I actually visited was the ’90s when I stayed at the Marmara Sea resort of Büyükçekmece an hour or so from Istanbul by bus for five days. With no desire to visit a beach or stay by the pool, I travelled into manic Topkapi bus station every day, before we were bused back to Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast to end the holiday.

Sadly I have no photographs from this first visit when I went inside the Topkapi Palace, Ayasofya Mosque and the incredible Blue Mosque.

Here then are a few pictures from my more recent visits between 2006 and 2015.

Train Journeys from Istanbul

Heading East to Ankara

Haydarpasa Station, Istanbul

Haydarpasa Station, Istanbul (Asian Side)

Haydarpasa Station Interior, Istanbul

Haydarpasa Station Interior

Dogu Express, Istanbul

Dogu Express, Ankara Bound

Haydarpasa Station, Istanbul

Another shot of Haydarpasa – sadly still shut after several years

Steam Locomotive, Haydarpasa Station

Istanbul to Thessaloniki Train

Train to Thessaloniki, Istanbul Sirkeci Station

Istanbul Mosques

Ayasofya Mosque, Istanbul

Ayasofya Mosque, Istanbul

The Ayasofya Mosque was actually built as a Byzantine church called Hagia Sophia, converted in the 14th Century.

Blue Mosque at Night, Istanbul

Sultan Ahmad (Blue) Mosque at Night

Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Blue Mosque – so named for its amazing interior

Blue Mosque Interior

Blue Mosque Interior, Istanbul

The Bosphorus

This is the stretch of water that divides Europe and Asia.

Bosphorus, Istanbul

View from a Bosphorus ferry

View of Istanbul from the Bosphorus Ferry

View of Istanbul from the Bosphorus Ferry

Istanbul Fishermen

Istanbul Fishermen

Train Station Beneath The Bosphorus, Marmaris Tunnel

Train Station Beneath The Bosphorus, Marmaris Tunnel

Istanbul Skyline from the Bosphorus

Istanbul Skyline from the Bosphorus

The Grand Bazaar

Miscellaneous Istanbul

The city beginning with the letter I that I would most like to visit that I haven’t yet? Irkutsk in Russia (on the Trans-Siberian train route).

How about you?

Look out for J tomorrow.


  1. I knew that it would be Istanbul. I am doing well with the guessing but am struggling with J…
    Not many clues in your previous blog posts for this one!

    1. I have been to all 3…..

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