Need to Know

Little-Knowns of Istanbul by Ayşe Korkmaz

I was born in Aydın in 1973. My life can be divided into three periods as Istanbul, Ankara and then again Istanbul. The next period will not be experienced in Istanbul, this is the only thing I am sure about now. After 22 years of banking career, in my professional life, I decided that I had been playing overtime for a while and went out from the plaza environment. Deciding to leave did not happen in just one day, very busy workers like me will understand this, but it is necessary to change it, and it was necessary to plan it simultaneously. The two things I knew best were writing and traveling.

I can write at any moment, luckily, I had many environments to observe. My stories and travel articles that I am working on are more than enough for me. I learn Italian in addition to English and German, just because I love that country. My greatest pleasure of living in Istanbul is to take photos while visiting all the beauties of the city.

You can find moments of my trips around Türkiye and many different places of the world in my blog I also invite you to my Instagram account: @ayseningezileri.

Welcome to the first of my small series about the little-knowns of Istanbul. The places to see in Istanbul are so many that it will not end even if you travel for days. You already know the places that tourists visit the most, I will take you on a journey in lesser known treasures. Our location is around Sultanahmet-Eminönü.

Goodwill Cistern

First reach Sultanahmet Horse Square. While everyone will wait in the queue to the Basilica, you can freely and without a fee enter the nearby Şerefiye Cistern (The Basilica is of course more magnificent, so if you have time, I’d say see both). You will love it.

While you are at the cisterns, drink a tea or coffee in front of the colorful houses that adorn the Yerebatan Street, and enjoy the colors of the street. Yörük Collection is a historical shop, there are collections of design jewelry, pillows, rugs decorated with silver and various stones. Both the venue and the goods sold are extraordinary and stylish.

The next stop is Nuruosmaniye after Cağaloğlu. It’s a 10-minute walk. Especially the interior of the Nuruosmaniye Mosque should be observed. You can get some great shots for your Instagram account from the top floor, however you need to ask permission to go upstairs.


While you are at the Nuruosmaniye gate of the Grand Bazaar, it is impossible not to discover the hidden corners of the Grand Bazaar. Go inside the door and go down the main street where the jewelers are located to the fountain and ask where Şark Kahvesi is, Havuzlu Restoran (the restaurant with the pool) is right behind it. When you come to the destination, enjoy eating Turkish home-made food in a historical restaurant, crown your choice with a nice tea and a dessert on top. Even if you eat lots and lots, you will find that the prices are very affordable.

While at the Grand Bazaar, stop by Zincirli Han, one of the most original places. With its arched entrance, its colors, its fountain in the middle of the courtyard, the cobblestone floor that takes you on a journey from the complicated world outside to the different times, it really has the atmosphere of the old days. Today, the jewelers have their shops on the ground floor and workshops on the upper floors. The classics of every inn are present with excess here too, tea stove at the entrance, miniature jeweler and repairman on the right, cats, and carpetmaker Şişko Osman, who is mentioned in the foreign travel guides at the inn … This is the inn of the masters of this place. With the photos you take here, you are guaranteed to become the Instagram phenomenon. But don’t forget to listen to the sounds, touch the walls, close your eyes and travel to the 1800s while taking pictures.

New Mosque

Now time to digest what we’ve eaten, walk through the Grand Bazaar and go down to Mahmutpaşa and then to the New Mosque downhill. You are now in Eminönü. Find the Hunkar Pavilion here. Right next to the New Mosque. There is a tile exhibition at the entrance, you can walk through exhibition to its end, you will love the tiles.

This trip will take about 6-7 hours, it is well suited for photographers who are keen on history and culture. There are so many places to visit in this area that I leave another series of little-knowns for another day.

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Ayşe Korkmaz

Travel, local tastes, books and a little bit cats.
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