Posted by Tripster Berkay

Is there enough time to visit Istanbul in 10 days? This will vary depending on the season of your visit and where you want to go. If you’ve come to Istanbul for the first time, some areas will fascinate you and you may want to revisit them. You can even arrange your visit to Istanbul to coincide with these events. The most important of these in 2020 is the UEFA Champions League final which will be played on 30th May 2020, at Istanbul’s’ Atatürk Olympic Stadium. You can arrange your Istanbul travel itinerary according to this date.
It is best to make a plan about where you want to go in Istanbul during your 10-day visit. Istanbul is the only city in the world that connects Europe and Asia, and each continent has its own unique transactions. Therefore, you should create a to-do list for each continent before you travel. If your plane lands at Sabiha Gökçen Airport, you are on the Asian side. You can start your Istanbul itinerary from the Anatolian side and then move on to the European side. If your plane lands at Istanbul Airport, you can start your visit from the European side. We started from the European side while writing the Istanbul tour plan. If you want to start the tour from the Anatolian side, you can simply change the order of this plan. There are so many options throughout this plan, and we suggest you make a list of your favourite places to see in Istanbul in 10 days.
Are you ready to be fascinated? Are you ready to learn the best things to see in Istanbul in 10 days? This is the breathtaking city that never, ever sleeps!

Here’s how to plan your trip day by day:

Istanbul Airport


You have landed at Istanbul airport. If this is your first time in Istanbul, our advice is to use HavaIst or taxi.

HavaIst

You can reach many places in the city from Istanbul Airport. However, our suggestion would be to stay in a hotel in one of the tourist areas such as Taksim or Sultanahmet. The historic side of Istanbul is the European side. If you want to visit Old Istanbul; to learn about the history of the city and take a trip back in time, you should start on the European side. You should use IST-19 to go to Taksim and IST-1S to go to Sultanahmet by HavaIst. Either trip will cost 18 TL.

Taxi

Istanbul New Airport is about 40-45 km from Taksim. If you want to go to Taksim from Istanbul’s 3rd airport by taxi, the taxi fare is around 120 Turkish lira and the journey takes around 40-45 min.
If you have been to Istanbul before and want to use a different public transport this time, you can use IST19 to go to Taksim. Click here to see the complete list of IETT buses departing from Istanbul Airport.
It is important that you book your hotel before you come to Istanbul as finding one when you arrive will be expensive and time-consuming. To find out more about hotels on the European and Asian side, please read our Istanbul’s Best Districts Budget Friendly and Pricey Hotels blog post. You can rearrange your trip plan to match the dates that your preferred hotels are available. After all, you’re in a city that doesn’t sleep. Here is the plan for the best things to do in Istanbul in 10 days.

Istanbulkart


When you come to Istanbul, the first thing you should do is buy an Istanbulkart. You cannot travel with cash in Havaİst transport vehicles. You must use Istanbulkart or a credit/debit card.

Where can I buy Istanbulkart?

To find Istanbulkart sales points, just follow the direction signs on the incoming passenger side. You can also buy Istanbulkart from:

  • Ticketmatic kiosks in 4 different areas within the airport.
  • Toll booths at the domestic and international departures at Floor (-2)
  • Contracted exchange offices at the airport
  • Kiosks and Istanbulkart representatives throughout the city.

Where can I prepay Istanbulkart?

At Istanbul Airport, you can top up your Istanbulkart by cash or using a credit or debit card from 24 ticketing machines located in 4 different areas. During your 10 day trip to Istanbul, you can load Istanbulkart cash at the following points:

  • 2236 individual representatives,
  • 94 corporate representatives,
  • You can make a total of 1,046 Biletmatik Kiosks, 24 of which are at the airport,
  • Via the Istanbulkart Mobile Application and www.istanbulkart.istanbul website.

You will use this card throughout your 10 days in Istanbul.

Sabiha Gokcen Airport


If your plane lands at Sabiha Gökçen Airport on the Anatolian side, there are many ways to reach the city from there. The cheapest and most convenient way is HavaBus. You can go to the HavaBus stop from the passenger exit of the airport terminal building.

To go to Kadıköy

From 04.00 in the morning to 01.00 in the morning the shuttle departs every half hour. The journey costs 14 Turkish Lira. The average journey time is 60 minutes.

To go to Taksim

From 04:00 in the morning to 01:00 in the morning the shuttle departs every half hour. The journey costs 18 Turkish Lira. The average journey time is 90 minutes.

To go to Sultanahmet

After arriving in Taksim by Taksim Havabus, you can use the bus, minibus or underground for your onward journey.

  • You can get down to Taksim Metro and travel to Kabataş by funicular and then by T1 Tram line to Sultanahmet.
  • You can reach Yenikapı using the M2 line on Taksim Metro and then walk to the tram stop in 5 minutes. From there you can reach Sultanahmet via Eminonu – Kabatas (T1) line.
  • You can take buses to Eminönü in Taksim and get off at Sultanahmet.

You can get to Kadıköy – Eminönü ferry or boat, from Kadıköy Pier after arriving in Kadıköy by Havabus. After getting off at Eminönü, go to the Sirkeci tram stop, take the T1 line and get off at Sultanahmet.

Day 1

Sultanahmet and Fatih

Buy Muzekart (Museum Pass Card)

You should buy Muzekart if you want to visit multiple museums in Istanbul. With Muzekart, you can visit 14 museums. The pass is valid for 5 days from your first museum entrance. There are also discounts in museum cafes and shops. With Muzekart you can see many of the recommended places to visit in istanbul in 10 days.

Sultan Ahmet Mosque


This mosque, also called the Blue Mosque, is one of the most famous buildings in the city because of its spectacular blue tiles. You should visit here to see the interior of the mosque and more than 20 thousand hand-painted tiles. The mosque is still in use and Muslims are not allowed to visit during prayer hours. Men should wear trousers while walking in the mosque, women should wear long clothes to their knees and cover their heads. Ladies, we recommend that you keep a headscarf with you in Istanbul as you’ll be required to cover your head as you enter any mosque.

Hippodrome Square


Hippodrome Square is a large area in front of the Blue Mosque. Here you will find three important structures; the Obelisk, Serpentine Column and Knitted Obelisk. During the Byzantine period, the three monuments were used to divide the Hippodrome into two parts. The racers would race around these three monuments. The monuments date back to 1300 BC. You can also see the Kaiser Wilhelm (German) Fountain in the square.

Basilica Cistern


Inside this magnificent cistern, the inverted Medusa head, weeping column and fascinating images await you. Please note Muzekart is not accepted here. There is an entrance fee.

Turkish Islamic Arts Museum


See magnificent works of the Islamic world left behind by those passing through the Anatolian lands.

Hagia Sophia


Hagia Sophia, which is very close to the Sultanahmet tram stop, is one of the most important museums in Istanbul. It was a cathedral planned by the Byzantine emperor Justinyanus in 532-57 and was converted into a mosque in 1453 when Fatih Sultan Mehmed (Mehmed the Conqueror) conquered Istanbul.

Hagia Irene


After Hagia Sophia, go to Topkapi Palace. While walking to Topkapi Palace, stop by Hagia Irene, the first church of Byzantium, in the first courtyard of the Topkapi Palace.

Istanbul Archeology Museum


Istanbul Archeology Museum is one of the world’s largest museums and contains over one million works from different cultures.

Topkapı Palace


Make sure you leave plenty of time to visit this palace, where Ottoman sultans lived for centuries. Spacious palace rooms, a harem, treasure room, pavilions in the courtyard and Spoonmaker’s diamond with 86 carats are all fascinating and well worth seeing. In the palace, you can see various art collections, jewels and religious objects. There are also temporary exhibitions here from time to time.

Gülhane Park

Gülhane Park is a beautiful park where you can wander among the rose gardens and enjoy the natural sounds of birdsong. The park is located in the middle of the crowded city yet allows you respite from the hustle and bustle for a while.

Eat Kebab and Meatballs


Kebab and meatballs are popular in Sultanahmet. You can choose from many restaurants but, for a delicious meatball meal, one of the favorite places among Tripadvisor members is Hafiz Mustafa 1864 which we recommend. The desserts are delicious!

Try Turkish Coffee and Hookah


After having your meal, visit Sultanahmet and the surrounding entertainment venues. We recommend Just Cafe Bar and Gusta Pub on Akbiyik Street. If you are tired, places such as Sultanahmet Semaver Cafe and Harab’be are waiting to offer you Turkish coffee and hookah. There will be many opportunities to indulge in this very Turkish activity throughout your trip for 10 days in Istanbul, so be prepared.


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Day 2

A visit to the magnificent markets in the Old City. This is a day to soak up a traditional Istanbul experience. Just check out the prices and come back another day to shop. Today, you should stop at Balat, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the old city.

Eminönü


If your hotel is located in Sultanahmet, you can reach Eminönü very quickly by tram. Get on at the Sultanahmet stop and get off at Eminönü stop. Eminönü is always a very crowded and very cheerful place. There are two great museums; the PTT museum and the Tanzimat Museum. But really Eminönü is more of a shopping area.

Spice (Egyptian) Bazaar


This bazaar, built in 1660, was on the spice road and was a hugely important trading area. The market still sells spices. You can also find Turkish Delight in many different flavours.

Grand Bazaar


Welcome to one of the oldest covered bazaars in the world. There are around 4000 shops here. The Grand Bazaar, which is a giant maze, has 66 streets. Estimates say that during the most crowded hours of the day, there are about half a million people inside. Legend has it that there are secret cellars under the Grand Bazaar. Until recently, there were 5 mosques, 1 school, 7 fountains, 10 wells, 1 public fountain, 1 water tank with fountain, 24 gates and 17 inns.

Hoca Paşa Cultural Centre


Various shows are held in the cultural centre. The rhythms of dance, Beyazgül and Semazen Dünyası are especially recommended. The whirling dervishes create a mystical atmosphere. This show is not a dance, it is a mystical cycle. Every movement, every piece of whirling gown has a different meaning. Click here to learn more about what these movements mean.

Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam


After being on your feet so far, you deserve to rest. But this will be a rest like the sultans. After the crowded bazaar, sightseeing, and maybe a hangover, the hammam is just what the doctor ordered. It exudes toxins from your body when you sweat in the bath and get rubbed. One of the most beautiful baths to visit in Sultanahmet is the Hagia Sophia bath, built by Hurrem Sultan. Isn’t it so tempting to bathe in a sultan’s bathroom? Click here for more information. Important note: Going to a bath after a meal may not be healthy. However, if you feel very hungry, you can have a snack in the Mihri restaurant in the hammam garden. But don’t get too full.

Hamdi Restaurant


Hamdi is the ideal place to eat delicious Urfa kebabs while enjoying the views of Galata, Eminönü, Sultanahmet and Bosphorus. The founder of the restaurant, Hamdi Arpacı, came from Urfa in 1960 and started out as a street vendor in Eminönü. He had such delicious kebabs that, after 7 years, he took a floor of the building behind his place and opened a restaurant. The restaurant now serves as 5 floors in the same place. This delicious success story has spanned 60 years in the same place. Do not miss out. But beware, the delicious food you eat during your İstanbul 10 day itinerary may cause you to gain weight!

Day 3

Every morning in Istanbul is a different beauty. The seagulls fly by singing, the sound of the boats on the sea greets you at sunrise. In summer and winter, you will hear the sounds of street vendors. It is a romantic place to wake up. A place where Sultans lived here with their wives.

Balat and Fener


Today we will take you to another Istanbul. Balat is a region inhabited by Jews in Istanbul for generations. Since the 16th century, Fener has been inhabited by Greek Orthodox. You can spend half a day in this small and charming neighbourhood. Balat and Fener are a world apart from the rest of Istanbul. They are charming regions with authentic houses, antique shops, auctions, and people and cats who are happy with life. Don’t forget to take your camera and powerbank with you. Fener neighbourhood square and cafes area: Located near the beach, between Yildirim Street and Vodina Street, this place is always lively and vibrant. Here you will find many authentic cafes and hipster venues.

How to get there

Eminonu is not far from Balat – around 5 km. You can go by taxi or walk. If you want to use public transport take the 99A, 99, 99Y or 48E buses from Eminönü. Buses and minibuses from the Golden Horn coast take you to Balat.

Bloody Church (Church of the Virgin Mary)


A church blessed in the late 13th century. Also known as Saint Mary of the Mongols, it is the only church left from the Byzantines which was not converted into a mosque during the Ottoman period. Next to the church is Fener Greek High School for Boys which is built of special red stones brought from France.

Ahrida Synagogue


Located in Kürkçü Çeşme Street in Balat, this is the largest synagogue in Istanbul today.

Fener Greek Patriarchate and Hagia Yorgi


These two charming buildings on the shores of the Golden Horn share the same courtyard. Known as the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey, it is called the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople throughout the rest of the world. The Patriarchate has 250 million believers and is the spiritual leader of the Orthodox world. Aya Yorgi Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Church hosts the Fener Greek Patriarchate. The outside appearance is quite humble and you will be fascinated when you see the inside. It is also open to visitors during rituals.

Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Iron Church, Hagia Stefanos)


The whole church is made of iron mold. It is the only one in the world with this architectural feature. The iron mold was brought from Vienna in 1871. The total weight of the church’s material is 500 tons.

Hreshdagabet Armenian Church


After the conquest of Istanbul, it was not turned into a mosque but was transferred to the Armenians. One of the churches you should visit due to its stunning interior.

Chora Museum


Chora Museum is known throughout the world for its well-preserved mosaics and frescoes. It exhibits important and beautiful examples of the last period of Eastern Roman painting. The idea of ​​depth in the mosaics and the moving style of the figures display characteristics of the Medieval Renaissance period.

Historic Balat Houses


The name of the steep hill is Çoban Çeşmesi Sokak. As you climb up this slope, you will see the colourful Balat houses on both sides of the road. This street has been restored as part of the UNESCO Cultural Heritage project and is now a popular tourist attraction.

Join to an Auction in Fener


Fener and Balat are renowned for their antique auctions. Fener Antique Auction, located on Vodina Street, is known for its antique auctions that start at 3 pm and continue until 8 pm. Join these auctions for a unique Istanbul experiences and pick up some gifts for your loved ones.

Balat Cifit Bazaar


You will see Balat’s authentic Cifit Bazaar on Leblebiciler Street near the centre of Balat. Here you will find shops selling antique and vintage products. The Yanbol Synagogue is also here.

Dönence Plak


You will see Dönence Plak as you walk on Vodina Street. There are tens of thousands of LPs here! Spontaneous parties occasionally occur at Dönence Plak. When you hear a nice waltz where old aunts and uncles dance or belly dance music played by many people, don’t wait, join the party. You can talk to Metin, the owner of Dönence Plak, about everything on record and turntable repair.

Agora Tavern


There are songs written about the tavern named Agora as the place where all the streets come out in the Golden Horn. It is worthy of your ears with its light music and your mouth with its appetisers. If you want to relax and drink a glass of raki during your pleasant Balat journey, this calm and nostalgic Agora Tavern is for you.
At the end of your journey in Balat, we want to take you to Pierre Loti. Pierre Loti is a writer who fell in love as soon as he saw Istanbul and lived there for the rest of his life. Pierre Loti’s real name was Julien Viaud.

How to get there

Take the 55T bus from Balat to Eyüp, Pierre Loti Cable Car Station.

Pierre Loti


You have to go uphill to reach Pierre Loti and it can be very tiring so we recommend you use the cable car. However, there is a long queue for the cable car on weekends. If you prefer to walk the streets and feel the air, you can do that instead. Enjoy tea and bagels while watching the stunning view of the Golden Horn.

Eyüp Sultan Mosque


After resting at Pierre Loti, you can go to Eyüp Sultan Mosque in Eyüp.

Asitane Restaurant


On the way back from Eyüp, when you follow the same road, you will see Asitane Restaurant right next to Kariye Museum. The restaurant is known for its traditional Ottoman dishes. The restaurant is open every day from 12:00 to 23:30, except on Wednesdays.


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Day 4

You are on the 4th day of the 10-day Istanbul itinerary. Today we have a completely different trip for you: the Bosphorus tour. You will take an unforgettable journey on these mystical waters separating the continents of Asia and Europe.

Bosphorus Tour


There are two types of Bosphorus tours, one long and one short. There are several ways to go to these tours: You can negotiate with various companies and rent private luxury yachts or get information about Istanbul Bosphorus tours by calling private tour companies. But the most common way is to travel with City Lines Ferry. Private boat tours depart from Eminönü, Kabataş or Beşiktaş piers. You set the time and route. Here we will talk about the most popular City Lines Ferry tours:

Long Bosphorus Tour

You can see Istanbul from another perspective by crossing the Bosphorus on the ferry which departs from Eminönü Pier every day at 10.35. The tour lasts 6 hours. The ferry departs from Eminönü and stops by Beşiktaş at 10.50 and Üsküdar at 11.05. Kanlıca is the first stop after entering the Bosphorus and you’ll arrive there at 11.35. From there, the ferry goes to Sarıyer and Rumeli Kavağı. Don’t forget to look out for dolphins playing in the sea. The ferry arrives at Anadolu Kavağı at 12.25 and you’ll have a 3-hour break there. Anatolia and Rumeli Kavağı are like small villages. The villages in and far from Istanbul give people peace. We recommend eating fresh fish at one of the fish restaurants here. After the break, you’ll take the same route back to Eminönü and arrive at 16.30.

Short Bosphorus Tour

The ferry departing from Eminönü at 14.35 stops at Üsküdar and Ortaköy and goes to the Bosphorus. It enters the return road through İstinye and Çubuklu coasts. The duration of the tour is 2 hours. It ends at Eminonu Pier at 16.35.

Keep in Mind

If you have bought round trip tickets on Bosphorus tours, you can get off at one stop and wait for the next ferry.
If you bought a round trip Bosphorus tour ticket, the best seats are on the sides. If you are going one way, we recommend the large area on the steamer deck or the top balconies.
You can take the ferry ticket as one way and after landing in Anadolu Kavağı, you can continue your journey on public transport. This way, you will visit the places from Anatolia Kavagi to Beykoz.
Even in the summer, the breeze on the deck can be quite chilly. We recommend you wear a jacket to protect you from the wind.
The plan for those who wish to continue on land after arriving in Anadolu Kavağı is as follows:

Yoros Castle


You can reach Yoros Castle in approximately 20 minutes from Anadolu Kavağı. Yoros is a huge castle from the Byzantine Empire. From this castle, you can see the part of the Bosphorus that opens to the Black Sea and look out at the stunning sea views. At the top of Yoros Castle, there is a gate opening to the land between two half-round bastions. On the outward-facing faces of these bastions, there are Greek letters, and letters indicating the name and title of Jesus Christ.

Beykoz


You can reach Beykoz from Anadolu Kavağı by taking a 20-minute ferry journey. We recommend you visit Çengelköy Börekçisi for a cup of tea and delicious pastries with a sea view.

The Khedive Pavilion


The Khedive Pavilion is located in the middle of a large grove covered with trees, each with its own tag and pedigree. In the tower of the building is one of the first steam-powered elevators from Istanbul’s old times.

Polonezköy


Polonezköy, which impresses with its thousands of trees and plants, has a large population of Poles. Many famous names such as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Gustave Flaubert and Franz List stayed in this region which is famous for its natural beauty. There are many wild animals in the nature park.

Otağtepe


Otağtepe, also known as Fatih grove, is the most beautiful place in Beykoz. Located on a total area of ​​152 thousand square metres, there are a total of 15300 plant species in the Fatih Grove. Make sure you bring your camera.

Beylerbeyi Palace


The main structure of Beylerbeyi, with its Mabeyn and Harem sections, is open to visitors. Additional structures such as sea pavilions, historical tunnels, embankment gardens, Yellow Pavilion, Marble Pavilion and Barn Pavilion are also noteworthy. Beylerbeyi Palace, which reflects the western style from the exterior and the classical Ottoman architectural structure from the inside, was mostly used as a summer palace and a state guest house. Before becoming a museum, important people such as Emperor Eugénie, the wife of Napoleon III and the German Emperor Wilhelm II were guests in this palace.

Kanlica


Kanlica Yogurt is very famous. You should eat it at the historical İsmailağa Coffee House. This flavour has not changed since the 17th century. You can also eat yogurt with powdered sugar, cherry jam, strawberry jam or honey.

İshak Ağa Fountain


A 500-year-old monument in Beykoz. Also known as Ten Fountains. The fountain is located on Cayir Street. You can take the minibuses from Beykoz Pier to Cayir Street in 8 minutes.

Küçüksu Pavilion


An art museum with gypsum relief and pencil ornamented ceilings, furniture, fireplaces made of Italian marble, parquet with fine workmanship, carpets and paintings. It was used as a state guesthouse for a while during the Republican Era and is now a museum-palace. You can get to the Küçüksu Pavilion by taking the 15F bus from the beach.

Day 5

It takes a total of 10 minutes to reach another Istanbul, leaving Old Istanbul behind. You use the famous Galata Bridge for this. Welcome to one of the parts of the city that truly never sleeps.

Galata Tower


To reach Galata Tower, one of the oldest and most mystical buildings in Istanbul, you can take the T1 tram from Sultanahmet stop or get off the tunel using the funicular to come from Taksim. The name of the stop you need to get off at is Karaköy. From here you can walk to Galata Tower in 7 to 10 minutes. Galata Tower, one of the oldest towers in the world, was built in 528 and stands 67 metres tall. There may be a queue at the entrance gate to the tower. Opening hours are 10.00 and the sooner you arrive, the less you’re likely to queue. You exit the tower using elevators and, for the last two floors, the stairs. Exit to the stone balcony surrounding the tower. You’ll fall in love. We do not give spoilers about the landscape. But let’s say that our friends who come to Istanbul go to Galata Tower every time and watch the scenery in deep silence.

Tunel


If you want to start your trip on Istiklal Street from Taksim and finish at Galata Tower, you have a great opportunity for this. Enter the Tunel from Karaköy and use the world’s 2nd oldest underground system.

Galata Mevlevi Lodge


Located in the tunnel, the Mevlevi lodge is Istanbul’s first Mawlawi house and one of the most important Ottoman monuments in Beyoglu. The 15th-century building was converted into a museum in 1975 and is one of the important clichés of Sufi culture. Every Sunday at 17:00 you can watch the weekly whirling dervish ceremonies. In this museum, you can see objects of Sufi belief.

Neve Shalom Synagogue


Neve Shalom is the most prominent and most famous synagogue for Turkish Jews. In 1986 and 2003 there were two major terrorist attacks so it now has intense security measures in place. Entry and exit to the worship area can be a problem but the museum is easier to visit. The museum is important for Turkish-Jewish history. If you want to enter the synagogue worship area, you can enter by handing in your passport which you then retrieve at the exit.

St. Antuan Church


You are now on Istiklal Street. Saint Anthony of Padua is the largest Catholic Church in Istanbul and the congregation is huge. This magnificent structure will transport you from the city. Take a moment to rest and reflect in the silence of the Church of St Anthony of Padua. The church began to host exhibitions in December 2019.

Kamondo Stairs


It is said that Abram Kamondo, a rich grandfather, built the stairs that connect the two streets in Karaköy so that his grandchildren could come out safely. The zigzag structure, which is characteristic of the Baroque period, prevents people from rolling down even if they fall on the stairs. If you visit these stairs make sure you have your camera ready.

Istanbul Modern


According to the Financial Times, one of the 5 reasons to live in Istanbul is Istanbul Modern. This is Turkey’s first museum of contemporary art. It continues its cultural activities with periodical and permanent exhibition halls, a photo gallery, educational and social programmes, a library, a cinema, cafes and shops.

Pera Museum


Founded in 2005 Pera Museum is very popular with Istanbulites and has permanent and temporary exhibitions. Rembrandt, Niko Pirosmani, Josef Koudelka Joan Miró, Akira Kurosawa, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Fernando Botero, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Goya have had their works exhibited here.

The Museum of Innocence


Orhan Pamuk, Turkey’s first Nobel Laureate and author. The Museum of Innocence is the name of one of Orhan Pamuk’s books. The book tells about the lives of Çukurcuma. The museum, inspired by this book and opened in Çukurcuma, won the European Museum of the Year Award in 2014. If you are interested in Istanbul’s recent culture, this museum is worth a visit. In the meantime, if you decide to read the novel before going to the museum, a surprise awaits you: the ticket on the closing pages of the novel is a ticket to the museum. To go to the Museum of Innocence, you need to walk from Istiklal Street to Firuzağa.

Hagia Triada Greek Orthodox Church


On your way, you will come across many churches, mosques and museums. One of the most attractive of these structures is the Hagia Triada. The church is the largest Greek Orthodox structure in Istanbul. The interior architecture is charming.

Taksim Republic Monument


Unveiled in 1928, the monument portrays Turkey’s War of Independence on the face while the other side represents the future of modern Turkey. People donated money to complete the construction of this monument.

Flower Passage


Entertainment on Istiklal Street calls you. Whatever your tastes in entertainment, Istanbul has something for you. But there are some places that everyone who comes to Istanbul should visit. Especially those who enjoy the tavern culture. The passage was built in 1876. Under the magnificent interior architecture, sit down in one of the many taverns lined up side by side, have a rest, drink and enjoy some appetisers.

Nevizade Street


There are many taverns in Nevizade Street for those who want to combine the tavern culture with entertainment. It will be hard to choose between the taverns lined up along the street just behind Çiçek Pasaji but if you want advice, Ney’le Mey’le is our recommendation.

Nardis


Do you like Jazz? Istanbul’s most famous jazz bar concept is Nardis. You can listen to local and international jazz artists every night. Located at the foot of the Galata Tower, Nardis is a very friendly place with a capacity of 120 people. For this reason, we recommend that you book in advance or arrive early.

Gezi Park


The place where Gezi Resistance started in May 2013, spreading throughout the country and lasting for months. Now you can relax in the same park, sit in the shade of the trees or find peace by listening to the sounds of birds. The park is ideal for an escape from the crowds of the city. And you can do that by sitting in front of the crowd and watching them.

Kılıç Ali Paşa Hammam


Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamam, one of the most magnificent buildings of the Ottoman Empire, is waiting for you. Do not miss this traditional hammam ritual. Important note: The hammam is open to women in the morning and to men in the afternoon. You can buy your own loincloth from the shops outside the building.

İnci Pastanesi


İnci Pastanesi was founded in 1944 and still has the same flavour. The patisserie, renowned for its profiteroles, moved to Mis Street due to changes on Istiklal Street. The bakery is open until midnight. Wherever you eat and drink in Beyoğlu, one of the best places to end the night is İnci Patisserie.

Mikla


Located on the top floor of Marmara Pera Hotel, Mikla is managed by the famous Swedish-Turkish chef Mehmet Gürs. In 2018, it was named one of the 50 best restaurants in the world. The restaurant offers spectacular views of Beyoğlu and the Golden Horn. Turkish and Scandinavian techniques combined with incredible delicious dishes await you. And a little tip from us to you – Mikla’s poolside rooftop terrace is famous for its martinis.

Karaköy Restaurant


If you want to go to Karaköy from Taksim and have dinner in this area, we recommend Karaköy Restaurant. You can also have lunch at Karakoy Restaurant in the historic harbour area. Karaköy restaurant serves as a restaurant during the day and turns into a tavern in the evening. At the beginning of the meal, we recommend Hunkar Begendi (the classic eatery is perhaps best known for its heavenly hunkar begendi, a remnant of Ottoman palace cuisine made with slow-cooked beef on a creamy bed of mashed aubergine). For dinner, you should order fava (bean purée) and other appetisers for starters. We also recommend the grilled octopus as a main course. End your night with a glass of raki, you will thank us. 😊

360 Istanbul


360 Istanbul, which has won many international awards, is located on the top floor of the historic and ancient Egypt Apartment. You can take in the breathtaking views of all Istanbul. 360 serves lunch and dinner from around the world alongside modern Turkish cuisine and has an outstanding wine and rich bar menu. 360 Istanbul, which hosts famous artists and DJs from abroad, turns into Club at weekends with its live shows.


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Day 6

Istanbul’s entertainment never ends. Historical and cultural trips during the day, and all kinds of entertainment in the evening. Today, we turn to Beşiktaş and Ortaköy. You can use the bus, minibus and ferry to get to Besiktas. Don’t forget the ritual of bagels and tea if you are going by ferry. Don’t forget to buy extra bagels to throw to the seagulls flying after the ferry.

Dolmabahçe Palace


Located in Beşiktaş, a natural harbour where ships have been sheltering since ancient times, the palace is built on an area of ​​110 thousand square metres. It reflects the style of Rococo, Baroque and Neo-Classical architecture. Dolmabahçe Palace, which has an important place among the Ottoman palaces, was one of the sultans’ favourite palaces.

Yildiz Palace


Yildiz Palace, the second largest palace in Istanbul, was used continuously until the end of the Ottoman period. The palace consists of many small palaces, pavilions and courtyards within the borders of Yıldız Grove between Beşiktaş and Ortaköy. You can visit the Maltese Pavilion, Tent Pavilion, Şale Pavilion and Cit Pavilion within the palace. With their rich architecture, carpets, ceramic objects and decorations, these mansions are important parts of the Yıldız Palace Museum.

Ihlamur Pavilion


Located between Besiktas, Yildiz and Nisantasi, Ihlamur Pavilion is one of the city’s best historic mansions. There are two separate buildings that were begun in the 18th century. One of these is the Merasim Pavilion and the other is the Maiyet Pavilion. The Meragsim Pavilion (Ihlamur Pavilion) is a museum – palace. At Magiyet Pavilion, you can have coffee, tea and a snack.

Çırağan Palace


This historical structure, which has brought the last periods of the Ottoman Empire to the present day, is still enchanting with its magnificent appearance. It is the product of Baroque architecture. If you want to stay in Çırağan Palace, the only palace-hotel in Istanbul, you can find detailed information here.

Maritime Museum


The Maritime Museum is located on Beşiktaş Square. In the museum, you can see historic galleys, reign boats and very large ships that have been used since the Ottoman Empire.

Palace Collections Museum


From Dolmabahçe Palace to Ortaköy, you will see the Palace Collections Museum. The toys in this museum belonged to and were played with by princes, sultans and princesses. In addition to toys, you can see more than 5000 other objects that belonged to royalty. Some of these objects are clothes, handicrafts, writing sets, medicine boxes, dental units, silver shaving sets, porcelain, silver and crystal dinner sets, oil paintings, clocks, lighting tools.

Ortaköy Mosque


There are palaces to visit by walking from Beşiktaş to Ortaköy. When you come to Ortaköy, continue walking towards the beach. The magnificent building on the shore is Ortaköy Mosque. Also known as the Great Mecidiye Mosque, it is a Neo-Baroque style building. This elegant mosque was built in 1853 by Sultan Abdülmecid.

Museum of Painting and Sculpture


Opened on 10th September 1937 in the Crown Office of Dolmabahçe Palace. The museum, established by Atatürk’s orders, is affiliated with the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts (Mimar Sinan University). The museum contains the most comprehensive collection of Turkish painting and is exhibited in 20 different halls, classified according to periods, and also includes paintings and original prints by some foreign artists such as Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, Albert, Marquet, Andre Derain, Raoul Dufy, Maurice Utrillo, Henri Matisse and A. Dunoyer de Sagonsac. Admission to the museum is free of charge and it’s open every day from 12.00 to 16.00 except Mondays and Tuesdays.

Sakıp Sabancı Museum


On the way from Beşiktaş to Sarıyer, you will see the Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Emirgan. The museum is famous for exhibiting the works of many famous artists such as Ai Weiwei and Anish Kapoor. The museum will feature the works of Marina Abramović in the first half of 2020.

Rumeli Fortress


This is one of the two fortresses built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in order to stop attacks in the narrowest part of the Bosphorus. The building on the opposite shore is Anadolu Fortress. Rumeli Fortress’s three big towers are the biggest bastions in the world. You will not believe your eyes when you see this enormous structure that was completed in 90 days.

Try Kumpir (Baked potatoes)


Kumpir is one of the most famous street foods in Istanbul and the best place to eat it is Ortaköy! When you come to Ortaköy Square, you will hear the street vendors selling kumpir. Get one you and enjoy the flavour.

Besiktas Carsi Pilaff


Besiktas Pilaff is a tiny shop in the bazaar. You can get your food and eat on the street or sit down if there is plenty of space in the shop. In any case, you will love the rice.

The House Cafe


The House Cafe, one of the most popular places in Ortaköy, is known for its affordable menus. Take a comfortable and peaceful moment at any time of the day to enjoy great views of Ortaköy.

Feriye Palace


All Istanbul residents know Feriye. Besides the delicious food, the view is also stunning. Feriye is a culture. There is a buffet breakfast on the weekend and you can enjoy great meals during the day. In addition, there are various activities in Feriye. Here you can find detailed information about the events you can attend depending on your arrival date.

Beltaş


Would you like to eat baked potatoes against a sea view? Then Beltaş is for you. It will offer you unique tastes in baked potatoes and waffles.

Bebek Lucca


Lucca is famous for its entertainment. It’s a great place to eat with its pleasant atmosphere, quality of service and award-winning cocktails. If you want to eat here you’ll need to make a reservation as it’s very popular.

Bebek Marzipan

If you like marzipan you should eat at Bebek. Located on Cevdet Paşa Street, Bebek Almond Butter is a place where you can have a drink and dessert while you sit and relax.

Emirgan Grove


A spectacular visual feast, especially with the opening of tulips in April. Walking in the woods and watching the squirrels coming down the trees is very restful. There are pavilions, playgrounds for children, picnic areas and observation terraces in the woods. You can eat and drink in the Yellow Pavilion in Emirgan Grove. No alcoholic beverages are allowed.

Bebek Park


Another escape point. Bebek Park also hosts various festivals throughout the year. You can lie on the grass, gaze out to sea and have a picnic.

Day 7

The Asian side of Istanbul is just as pleasant as the European side. You can use most of the public transport options when crossing to the Anatolian side, but we recommend the ferry. Remember to take extra bagels with you to throw to the seagulls.

Kadikoy


After landing at the pier a completely different world awaits you: younger, more dynamic and more modest. And an iron bull in the square!
People living on the Anatolian side are calmer than those on the European side. Students, artists and young people frequent Kadikoy. Older people also flee to the quiet life of the Anatolian side. Especially in areas like Moda, Bostancı and Suadiye, life flows peacefully along. Kadikoy entertainment, flavours and sights promise you a pleasant time.

Haydarpaşa Railway Station


The station was built by Abdulhamid II. It was completed on 19th August 1908 and opened for service. It has magnificent architecture. Haydarpaşa Railway Station was closed to visitors after the fire in 2010 and is still closed to trains, but from time to time various exhibitions and festivals are held. You can see the magnificent architecture of Haydarpaşa while passing by on a ferry. Inside is Mythos, which serves delicious food.

Süreyya Opera House


The 80-year Süreyya Building on Kadıköy Bahariye Street was opened in 2007 as the Süreyya Opera House. The foyer of the Süreyya Opera House was influenced by the Champs Elysee Theatre in Paris and the interiors inspired by German theatres. If you want to watch one of the operas in the programme, you can get information by checking the website.

Kadıköy Cinema


The motto of Kadıköy Cinema, the home of independent film, is Every day Festival! Kadikoy Cinema, where you can watch festival films throughout the year, is the only cinema that has been able to preserve its original décor since its first day, especially the striking ribbed ceiling of the auditorium. Opened in 1967, it’s a real treat to watch movies. Kadikoy Cinema is in the Kadıköy Passage on Bahariye Street.

Barış Manço Museum


Barış Manço was a beloved artist of the Turkish people. He is one of the founding members of the Anadolu Rock genre. For the first time, in 1958, he performed as a member of Kurtalan Ekspres. His over 200 songs earned him 12 gold and 1 platinum album/cassette awards, some of which were later translated into Greek, Bulgarian, Arabic, Persian, Kurdish, Japanese, Hebrew, French and Dutch, and were also performed by other artists. He made many programmes for television and made important contributions to Turkish culture. After his death, his house was turned into a museum and opened to visitors. You can watch one of Barış Manço’s most popular songs here. We couldn’t resist, we left another one and another. Enjoy!

Toy Museum


One of Turkey’s most esteemed writers, Sunay Akin started collecting toys as a youngster. He knows or learned the story of each of these toys. As the number of toys increased he decided to exhibit his collection in a museum. This is the founding story of the Toy Museum. You can chat with Sunay Akın who is usually in the museum during the day and have the chance to listen to the stories of the toys. To go to the toy museum in Kadıköy Göztepe, you can take any of the lines 10, 10B, 10S, 14Ç, 14 KS, 17, 17L, 19F, 19M, 19S, GZ1, GZ2, ER1, ER2 from Kadıköy and get off at Göztepe station. A little walk will take you to the museum.

Baghdad Street


You’ll find many luxury shops here. Baghdad Street is like a big shopping mall, 14000 metres long on the street. The most popular section of the street is the 3 km section between Suadiye and Caddebostan. All luxury shops, cafes and restaurants are located in this section.

Akmar Passage


One of the passages that does not lose its charm in Kadıköy. Don’t expect historic buildings and architectural splendour. The only thing you’ll find in this humble passage is tons and tons of books.

Moda


Walking in Moda is a form of relaxation. The calm sleeping cats, the children passing by on their bicycles, the branches bent to the street, the trees touching your head, the sparkling sea and the sounds of seagulls will delight you.

Fenerbahce Park


One of the most breathtaking places in the city. Fenerbahce Park is ideal if you want a weekend breakfast with a sea view.

Göztepe Freedom Park


Located on an area of ​​120 thousand square metres, the park includes playgrounds, jogging trails, cafes and restaurants.

Mythos


Inside the Haydarpaşa Train Station, Mythos offers an opportunity to see the interior architecture of the station. Live music, which starts with softer Turkish Art Music in the evening, turns into a fasıl concert as the night goes on.

Çiya Sofrası


Çiya is the most famous restaurant in Kadıköy. This is because you have a chance to taste Anatolian dishes, all prepared with ingredients imported from their region of origin. The two-storey venue offers unusual dishes such as mualle (aubergine and lentil stew with pomegranate molasses), mung bean soup, sitti wheel (thin cracked wheat rice), and green plum pan (green plum stew).

Arkaoda


Kadıköy Kadife Street, known as Barlar Street, is home to one of the most beautiful places to visit – Arkaoda. Comfortable velvet chairs, antique objects and dim light greet you. A different DJ performs every night.

Chocolate Shop


One of the most beautiful places in Moda. If you like chocolate, don’t waste any time, go to the Chocolate Shop and order an Asuman. Then embark a magical journey of chocolate with Asuman.


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Day 8

Today, Istanbul has another surprise for you: An Asian side trip that ends with a romantic evening: Üsküdar. Getting to Üsküdar is very easy, you can go by boat or ferry from Eminönü or Beşiktaş, or walk from Eminönü to Sirkeci and go by Marmaray.

Valide Sultan Mosque


Valide Sultan Mosque is located on Hakimiyet-i Milliye Street. The architecture of the mosque features both Ottoman and Baroque features. The reason for this is that the Ottoman architecture was built in one of the transition periods.

Fountain of Ahmed III


The fountain is located in Uskudar Square. There are four taps on four sides of the fountain which is next to the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque. It also has a wooden roof consisting of wide eaves with four facades. The main central fountains are used to fill the containers with water, while the small fountains on the sides are used for drinking water. The ornaments, reliefs and fillings on the fountain are placed on the building without any spaces. At the same time, the four sides of the fountain are decorated with poems, some of which belong to Sultan Ahmet III. The fountain is a valuable example of a Turkish fountain and marble shaving art.

Mihrimah Sultan Mosque


Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is located in Uskudar Pier Square. It is the mosque built by Mimar Sinan for Mihrimah Sultan, the daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent. It is also one of the early works of Mimar Sinan. Its dome is supported by half-domes on three sides, but there is no half-dome on the front. Mihrimah means Sun and Moon. Among the minarets of the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, the sun rises on certain days of the month and the moon rises in the evening. When you look at the Mihrimah Sultan Edirnekapı Complex on the west side of the same tower, you can watch the sunrise in the morning and set in the evening. The names of these two structures are therefore the same as those of Mihrimah Sultan. It recalls both the sun and the moon.

Kite Museum


A 10-minute walk from Üsküdar Square, the Kite Museum is a small but colourful museum. 750 kites are on display from all over the world. There are also workshops in the museum.

Selimiye Barracks


Selimiye Barracks is one of the places you should visit when you come to Üsküdar. Selimiye Barracks was built by Selim III. The only part of the barracks open to visitors is the rooms used by the famous Florence Nightingale, who treated British soldiers during the Crimean War in the 18th century. These rooms are currently open to visitors as a museum.

Salacak


Come to Salacak to watch the Maiden’s Tower at sunset and feel the love and romance all over again. There are many legends about this tower. One of them is that the rock was made by an Athenian commander in the 5th century BC. Later, the tower has also been used for various purposes in history, such as the lighthouse or being the first defense point of enemy attacks. It is said that, at some point in its history, the tower was used as a quarantine hospital. The most famous legend about the Maiden’s Tower is the legend of the Eastern Roman Emperor. One night, the Emperor dreamed that his daughter was bitten by a snake. In order to prevent the death of his daughter, he built this tower in the middle of the sea and made his daughter live there. The stories of the Galata Tower and the Maiden’s Tower, which are hidden in love, are another legend that has been enjoyed by lovers who yearn for each other.

Kizkulesi Restaurant


It is possible to reach Kizkulesi by boat. There are day and evening trips. You can visit the Kizkulesi museum and eat at the restaurant. Visiting the tower museum is between 09:00 and 19:00. If you want to have breakfast in the restaurant, you should make a reservation. The ground floor is both a restaurant and a cafe. The top floor is the Bar in the Tower. Here you can have a drink and enjoy the mystical atmosphere. There is an entrance fee for the museum.

How to go?

To go to Kizkulesi, the boat departs from Kabatas at 10:00 on the weekend. The last lap time is 18.00. Boats run from Salacak, every 15 minutes Monday to Friday until 18:30. The tower is under maintenance from 19.00 to 20.00 and a boat expedition is organised again from 20.15. The last boat leaves the tower at 00.30.

Day 9

Part of Istanbul but not in Istanbul: Princes’ Islands
You can reach the islands by sea from the Eminönü, Karaköy and Kabataş piers on the European side and Kadıköy, Bostancı, Maltepe, Kartal piers on the Asian side. The companies that ferry people to the islands are IDO, city lines, Dentur, Turyol, Mavi Marmara and Prenstur. If it is summer, don’t forget to take a bathing suit and a towel. Important note: You can rent bikes on the islands or go on a phaeton. However, if you prefer cycling instead of the phaeton, you will have saved the lives of horses. Coach horses become ill and die of malnutrition and lack of care. Moreover, phaetons are very expensive and are not required to maintain standards’. If you want to stay on the islands at night there are several hotels and guest houses.

Buyukada


When you get to Büyükada, the first thing you will probably want to do is go to the famous Aya Yorgi Church. But before you start climbing the long slope that will take you to the church, remember that you can have a snack from the hot sugary pastries at the Büyükada Bakery! If you can’t get enough of sugared pastries, you can stop by Sinek in the Garden for a hearty breakfast with a cold lemonade or mint tea. After breakfast, you are ready for Aya Yorgi.

Aya Yorgi


One of the two pilgrimage points for Christians. The monastery was built in 1751. The Saint George icon, killing a dragon with his spear, is one of the most popular exhibits for those who come to the church which has many motifs. On 23rd April and 24th September barefoot pilgrims visit Aya Yorgi.
After visiting the church we suggest you have a break in the café next door. Here you will have the chance to see the Greek Orphanage, one of the largest wooden structures in the world while sipping your tea.

Yuce Tepe Country Garden


Stop by for a nice time with a glass of wine. The view is terrific.

Khidr Ilyas Hill


Khidr Ilyas Hill, also known as Adakule, is not very crowded. It used to be a fire tower in ancient times. Today it is used as a fire observatory.
If you want to stay in Buyukada you can find many options from historical mansions to modern hotels.

Kınalıada


There are many coasts on this island which is named as Kınalıada (Hennaed Island) because of the colour of its soil. The hiking trail is a comfortable and very beautiful walk. After picking up some fresh cookies from Dezire Pastanesi, you can start exploring the island. You can walk or rent bikes for this. Surp Krikor Lusavoric Church is the first and only Armenian Gregorian church established on the islands. The church was founded in 1857 and dedicated to Saint Gregory the Holy Krikor Lusavoric. It took its present form after it was rebuilt in 1988.

Christos Monastery (Transformation Monastery)


The Transformation Monastery is located at the top of the Monastery Hill and was founded in place of the Byzantine monastery of the same name. Some architectural parts of this monastery are located inside the katholikon monastery. Others are spread over the land.

Kinaliada Mosque


Kinaliada Mosque is located on the coast south of the pier. The mosque was built in 1956 by architect Basar Acarli in a modern abstract manner.

Greek Orthodox Panayia Church


There is a Greek Orthodox church on Çınarlı Köşk Street. The church was founded in 1886 and is dedicated to the birth of the Holy Mother of God (Genissa Panagia Theotokou). The church is in the form of a three-passage basilica and has a narthex entered from the courtyard to the south. There is a silver-plated icon on the Narthex symbolizing the birth of the Virgin Mary. The iconostasis, which separates the central part of the church from the temple, has other icons covered with silver. On 7th-8th October, the church celebrates the birth of the Virgin. If it is summer, do not miss the opportunity to enjoy the beaches of Kınalıada. You can choose Kumluk Beach, which is the preferred choice of families with children, or the lively Ayazma Beach.
When you’re hungry, go to Cafe Pari for a light meal. If you want to drink raki and eat fish, go to Teos Beach Club, and if you want raki fish live music, go to Mimoza. At the end of the night, you can stop by the Green Roman Ice Cream Shop for a dessert.

Burgaz


We strongly recommend you see the Monastery, where the Greeks meet every year to celebrate the Metamorphosis Feast on 6th August and the Aya Yani Church, which they call Aya Yani Feast on 29th August. After visiting Jesus Hill, also known as Flag Hill, you will enjoy relaxing in Kalpazankaya. Kalpazankaya offers the most beautiful view of Burgazada. It is almost impossible to find a place in this famous restaurant without a reservation in the summer.
The restaurants on the island and in Kalpazankaya are very similar. Adalar Water Sports Club’s restaurant is one step ahead of the others. Although only members are accepted to the club, the restaurant opens its doors to guests if there is no special event.
The restaurants by the sea are frequented by those who want to eat fish and drink raki. Barba Yani is the most famous beach restaurant. You may also want to stop by Ergün Patisserie which is famous for its puff pastry.

Heybeliada


Among the Princes’ Islands, the island with the largest forest is Heybeliada. Therefore, a cooler summer is experienced compared to the other islands and in winter the air is softer. For these reasons, it is the most popular choice especially for those who like trekking.
Heybeliada’s former name is Halki. Halki means copper in Greek. When you set foot on the island, you should get a tahini muffin from Nazlıgül. Take these muffins to Bahar Cafe where you can drink your tea and eat the muffins.
Then leave the sea behind and proceed towards the side streets of the island.

Heybeliada Seminary


Located on Ümit Hill and opened in 1844, the Heybeliada Seminary was one of the world’s most prestigious institutions of theology. With its magnificent garden, classrooms and library, the school has a truly charming atmosphere.

Değirmen Cape


You can reach Değirmen Cape by walking from the road at the bottom of Ümit Hill. Here you can see Istanbul at its most magnificent.

Terk-i Dünya Church


When you leave the asphalt at Değirmen Cape and follow the dirt road, you arrive at this small church built in the mid-1800s by a monk who abandoned the blessings of the world. The building became a special meeting point with a sacred story Ümit Hill.

Pine Harbour


One of the hidden havens of Istanbul, Pine Harbor and the big beach are the places to go.
At the end of this trip, Mavi or Halki Restaurant at the pier will be waiting for you.

Day 10


You have reached the end of 10 perfect days in Istanbul. Today, you can buy gifts for your loved ones. Or you can spend time visiting places you want to see again. Another bath? Or Turkish coffee and hookah? Maybe a beer in Çiçek Pasajı or a stroll in Kadıköy… It is entirely up to you. An Istanbul 10 day tour will be filled with memories so why not go to the place that means most to you.
If you didn’t buy the gifts you looked at, at the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar back at the beginning of your 10-day holiday, you can do it today. You can also visit the carpets in Sultanahmet and get an authentic carpet for your home. In addition to souvenir shopping, you can go back for another taste of your favourite food or drink for the final taste of Istanbul.


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