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
The Ayasofya Mosque was actually built as a Byzantine church called Hagia Sophia, converted in the 14th Century.
This is the stretch of water that divides Europe and Asia.
The Grand Bazaar
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.