Hey there, fellow wanderers and culture enthusiasts! Today, we embark on a thrilling journey to the crossroads of civilizations, a city that straddles two continents, and a place where time seems to collide with tradition – the one and only Istanbul! Join me as we dive into this mesmerizing metropolis and get ready to be enchanted by its vibrant culture and rich history.
Today we want to share our hidden gems of istanbul and talk about our origins. Okan Gökgöz, Kulaberlin founder born and raised in Istanbul, Jane Katharina di Renzo . Co-founder of Kulaberlin, lived 5 years in Istanbul. Lets start the show!
The Lure of Istanbul – Where Dreams Take Flight
As I stepped onto the bustling streets of Istanbul, a wave of excitement engulfed me. The city has an undeniable allure, pulling in visitors from all corners of the globe like a magnet. Some call it the City of Seven Hills, some refer to it as the Pearl of the Bosphorus, but to me, it’s a kaleidoscope of colors and emotions that ignite the senses.
A Culture Like No Other – East Meets West
What sets Istanbul apart from any other city in the world is its unique blend of East and West. A potent fusion of ancient traditions, imperial legacies, and contemporary trends creates a mesmerizing cultural tapestry. Standing majestically at the confluence of Europe and Asia, Istanbul boasts a captivating mix of Eastern mystique and Western sophistication.
Every step I took, I encountered architectural masterpieces that stood as witnesses to Istanbul’s illustrious past. The Hagia Sophia, once a Byzantine cathedral and later an Ottoman mosque, served as a breathtaking museum and turned back to Mosque in 2020. Its awe-inspiring dome and intricate mosaics left me awestruck, showcasing the harmonious blending of Christian and Islamic influences.
Of course, no visit to Istanbul is complete without exploring the stunning Blue Mosque, with its cascading domes and six minarets that grace the city skyline. When the sun sets, its exterior is bathed in a celestial glow, giving the impression of an otherworldly spectacle.
The Bazaars – A Shopper’s Paradise
As a self-proclaimed shopaholic, I couldn’t resist the siren call of Istanbul’s bazaars. The Grand Bazaar, a labyrinth of winding alleys and endless stalls, offers an exhilarating shopping experience. From dazzling jewelry to exquisite textiles and spices that awaken the senses, it’s a treasure trove for any eager traveler.
For a true taste of Istanbul, one must dive into its culinary scene. The city’s cuisine is a testament to its diverse cultural heritage. I delighted in sampling traditional Turkish delights like baklava, kebabs, and Turkish delight (lokum). Don’t forget to try the hearty breakfast spread, where freshly baked bread, olives, cheeses, and jams create an explosion of flavors.
Turkish Hospitality – A Warm Embrace
The heartwarming hospitality of Istanbul’s locals left an indelible mark on my journey. The genuine warmth and friendliness of the people made me feel like I was part of the city’s tapestry. Whether I was wandering through the historic streets or sharing tea in a traditional çay bahçesi (tea garden), I felt at home in this foreign land.
Istanbul loves to celebrate, and I was lucky enough to immerse myself in some of its vibrant festivals. From the Tulip Festival, where the city transforms into a sea of colorful blooms, to the International Istanbul Film Festival, where cinema takes center stage, each event revealed a new facet of Istanbul’s cultural diversity.
The Whirling Dervishes – A Dance of Spirituality
One of the most captivating experiences during my visit was witnessing the mesmerizing Whirling Dervishes. This mystical Sufi practice, called Sema, is a spiritual journey symbolizing man’s connection with the divine. The hypnotic dance, accompanied by soul-stirring music, transcended time and space, leaving me entranced.
Parting Thoughts – A Love Affair with Istanbul
As I bid farewell to Istanbul, I couldn’t help but reflect on the whirlwind of culture, history, and warmth that I had experienced. This city is a tapestry of tales, woven through time by countless civilizations and their enduring legacies. Istanbul leaves an everlasting mark on all who venture within its embrace, an indescribable enchantment that beckons us to return time and time again.
So, fellow travelers, if you haven’t yet set foot in this magical city, pack your bags and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. Istanbul awaits you with open arms and a myriad of cultural wonders, promising an unforgettable journey that will leave you spellbound. Here’s to the City of Dreams, where East meets West in a whirlwind of culture!
Lets move to the other side, Kadiköy, the place where we lived.
Nestled on the serene Asian side of Istanbul, Kadıköy stands as a living testament to the city’s ancient history and modern-day allure. Stepping into this vibrant neighborhood is like taking a journey through time and space, as it seamlessly blends the old with the new, the traditional with the contemporary, and the local with the cosmopolitan. Join me as we delve into the captivating world of Kadıköy – a place where time-honored tradition meets bohemian charm.
Images Sophie Turol Gülseven
Crossing the Bosphorus from the European side to Kadıköy feels like stepping into a different realm altogether. The bustling ferry ride is an adventure in itself, offering awe-inspiring views of the Istanbul skyline and the historic Maiden’s Tower perched on a tiny islet. As the ferry docks at Kadıköy’s shores, you are greeted by a lively atmosphere that promises an enchanting escapade.
The Soul of Kadıköy – Moda
At the heart of Kadıköy lies Moda, an eclectic neighborhood that embodies the spirit of the area. Known for its bohemian vibe and artistic flair, Moda exudes an aura of creativity and intellectual energy. The tree-lined streets are adorned with charming cafes, quirky boutiques, and street art that adds to the area’s boho-chic ambiance.
Kadıköy’s history is deeply intertwined with diverse cultures, and the area proudly embraces its multi-ethnic heritage. Stroll through the lively streets, and you’ll find historic Greek Orthodox churches, Armenian synagogues, and remnants of ancient Byzantine structures, all serving as reminders of the neighborhood’s rich past.
The Bazaar Experience
No trip to Kadıköy is complete without wandering through the bustling Kadıköy fish Market. This vibrant bazaar is a sensory delight, where the aroma of freshly brewed Turkish coffee mingles with the scent of spices, colorful fruits, and handmade goods. Here, locals and visitors alike come together to shop for unique trinkets, antiques, and traditional handicrafts, creating an atmosphere that is both nostalgic and exciting.
Kadıköy is a true haven for foodies, offering a cornucopia of culinary delights that cater to every palate. Wander down Çiya Sofrası, a street lined with restaurants serving authentic Anatolian cuisine. From succulent kebabs and mezes to mouthwatering desserts like baklava and künefe, Kadıköy’s culinary offerings are an indulgence not to be missed.
Tea Gardens and Street Life
Turkish culture revolves around tea, and Kadıköy is no exception. Traditional tea gardens, known as çay bahçesi, are scattered throughout the area, offering a serene oasis where locals gather to relax, chat, and savor a cup of steaming black tea. Sidewalk cafes and street musicians add to the lively street life, creating a charming ambiance that beckons you to slow down and savor the moment.
As the sun sets over the Bosphorus, Kadıköy transforms into a nightlife paradise. The district boasts a lively music scene, with numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues that cater to diverse tastes. Whether you prefer jazz, rock, indie, or electronic beats, Kadıköy offers an unforgettable nightlife experience that keeps the energy alive until the early hours of the morning.
The Kadıköy Spirit – Embracing Diversity
What truly sets Kadıköy apart is its embrace of diversity and inclusivity. The neighborhood is a melting pot of cultures, beliefs, and ideas, where people from all walks of life come together harmoniously. This spirit of openness and acceptance creates an atmosphere that is both welcoming and refreshing, leaving an indelible mark on all who visit.
In conclusion, Kadıköy is a captivating neighborhood that captures the essence of Istanbul’s cultural wealth and bohemian allure. From its enchanting streets and vibrant markets to its thriving arts scene and warm hospitality, Kadıköy beckons you to immerse yourself in its irresistible charm. So, if you find yourself wandering through Istanbul, don’t miss the chance to explore this unique corner of the city, where time-honored tradition meets bohemian charm in an embrace that will undoubtedly leave you enchanted.
Following some traditional places to visit for original food
Literally the best Gözleme in the world. Made by Göhkan Kardesim and his family. Here, you should try the variety of juicy, tasty gözleme. Our favorite is zucchini, cheese, and pepper!
Adress: Caferağa, Sarraf Ali Sk. No 16 /A, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul
Meşhur Menemenci Cemal Polat
Then the best Potato Cheese Egg Dish for a long breakfast or menemen, you have to visit that place! Cemal Polat is an amazing host, and after eating many of these dishes in the years, he has become a friend! So, don’t waste your time looking for fancy places. If you love eggs, you have to visit that place! Promise!
Adress: Osmanağa, Pavlonya Sk. No:14/a, 34714 Kadıköy/İstanbul
That’s the place! You have a gorgeous community, and everyone is welcome. The owner makes you feel at home from the moment you step in! Here, you can have all-night-long chats with all kinds of people, enjoy a snack, and immerse yourself in the dynamic youth culture of Kadıköy.
Adress: Muhit Kadiköy Caferağa, Sarraf Ali Sk. 30/A, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul
Another spot, where we like to have a cold beer and chat is Pablo Pub. Nice team and you will see after a while often the same people! Which makes you feel home in a city of 20 Million people.
Adress: Caferağa Mahalle, Pavlonya Sk. No:25, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul,
You are looking for WINE and RAKI Sofrasi? Here you go!
WINE: Viktor Levi Şarap Evi
RAKI: Güneşin Sofrası Meyhane
BREAKFAST: Zapata Bakery