It is an image that has become synonymous with Turkey, its culture, and Middle-Eastern mysticism. At The Galata Convent of Whirling Derishes, you will be treated to the poignant and captivating sight of skilled Turkish Dervishes hypnotically spinning in deep prayer, a display staged in the worship of Allah. The ceremony which has long been performed for awed spectators shows groups of men whirling for a quarter of an hour in a trance-like state to the sound of ululating, sonorous, Islamic hymns. For an authentic glimpse into Turkey’s cultural and spiritual past, this spectacle is not to be missed.
The Galata Tower is one of Istanbul’s most striking monuments. The medieval tower has a phenomenal observation gallery upon which you can marvel the entire city and the coast. Additionally, it contains a restaurant and bar, which truly defines luxury dining. Enjoy world-class food, wine from around the world, and a stunning sunset as the Istanbul night illuminates beneath you. For those of you who have always enjoyed your history on the immersive side, don’t hesitate to try on some historical costumes and truly experience Ottoman decadence!
The Church of St. Anthony of Padua is the largest Roman Catholic church in Istanbul and a stroking tribute to the variety of the city’s religious history. This building was originally commissioned and built by Istanbul’s small Italian community between 1906-1912. Keen historians and architecture enthusiasts can marvel at the church’ Gothic fixtures and serene interior. The church is still fully functional as so all are welcome to attend a service.
The Oxford Street of Turkey will enchant you from one end to the other. It boasts a number of restaurants, dessert vendors, antique shops, familiar Western chains and independent boutiques. Buskers line the roads and hundreds of locals and tourists are constantly milling about. This is a fantastic shopping destination and makes a prime place to sit back and people watch! If travelling the street by foot doesn’t appeal, feel free to take one of the vintage red trams!
These historical stairs, weaving their way in stone ribbons up an Istanbul street have become a monument in themselves for their gorgeous art deco design. These stairs are no more than a pedestrian walkway but one cannot fail to notice their exquisite design, standing out from the more typical Gothic spires or ottoman geometry. Build and named after the House of Camondo, an influential family of European Jews who settled in Turkey in the 1490’s. Definitely make time to seek out this beautiful architectural curiosity on the Istanbul streets!
Though more of a general monument in the capital city, do not hesitate to make the most of the Turkish boutiques and designers in Istanbul. Amid more recognizable western brands that are incredibly popular in the cosmopolitan city, there are still make unique products to be found and treasured. There are shops selling original art, furniture, clothing and much more that are lesser known on the world stage but are met with huge acclaim in Turkey. In a world that celebrates individuality and innovation, don’t hesitate to make a purchase that will mark you apart from the crowd!
Whilst not strictly in the Galata area, the Tük Telecom Arena is the home stadium of the Galatasaray football team. If at all possible, don’t hesitate to buy tickets for one of their matches as Turkish football fans are infamously passionate about the sport and loyal to their team – it is guaranteed to be a lively and entertaining match. The team formed in 1905 and as a team that is over a century old, boasts many life long fans that inherit their allegiance from generations before them. The Galatasaray kit is distinctively colored in orange and burgundy – colors that burn as bright as the enthusiasm of the fans!