Since then, I’ve realized my dream of working remotely while traveling and eating my way throughout the world. I went to Istanbul last September and it reminded me of Amsterdam and Dubai combined into one city! Despite the weather, Istanbul is an enchanting city at a crossroads: where East meets West, and old meets new. Now, it may not be snowing if you choose to go then, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pack warm layers. January is the coldest month in Istanbul, and the temperature may drop down to 3 degrees in a few days. Winter may not be … It can help you save on entrance fees (and transport), especially if you’re interested in multiple sites! This 3 km long street lies in the Beyoglu locality on the European side of Istanbul and is pedestrian-friendly. I wouldn’t necessarily label the Basilica as a … We have listed others for you below. Mid December to March in Istanbul is winter season. This … You can also get to most major cities outside of Istanbul via the bus or local airport. Explore the Basilica Cistern. The historical Turkish bath or the Hamam is a special kind of deep cleansing traditional bath that relaxes your body and mind.  This is an indoor bath that has separate arrangements for men and women. Istanbul is a haven for Islamic art, culture, and history, and one of the best shows that portray these elements together is the Whirling Dervishes Show. It does look really beautiful though 🙂. The attendant will perform a scrub treatment with an exfoliate paste which will remove all the dead skins from your body. Also a warm … The excellent news is that Istanbul’s top tourist … During winters it offers a panoramic view of the snow-clad mountains and beautiful sceneries during the tour.Â. You still might catch some rain during those periods as well. Hagia Sophia is a great architectural beauty in Istanbul that stands as a testimony to the glorious past. Take a cooking class from a local or simply eat with one if cooking isn’t really your jam. Basilica Cistern is the most famous amongst all as it is the largest and the most beautiful one. Everything is up and runs in normal schedule during winter too.. December is one of the most pleasant months of the winter… Sakip Sabanci is excellent for those interested in fine arts, whereas Istanbul Modern is great if modern and contemporary art is more your jam. Strolling along this street is one of the best things to do in Istanbul in winter as it is in full vogue to celebrate the onset of Christmas and is beautifully decorated during this time of the year. Thanks for everything. This major city in Turkey has many landmark sites like Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi … What temperature is Istanbul in winter? To Save Money. When did you travel to Istanbul? Istanbul also offers another face in the winter, genuine and mysterious. Tourist and public are more leaned towards districts like Nistantasi and Beyoglu whereas the shores is bit quieter. It’s incredibly easy to get around Istanbul, thanks to their extensive rail and bus system (walking is also great if it isn’t too cold). If you’re an art or history buff, there are tons of museums besides the historical sites I mentioned above to keep you busy for days. Cruise Control. Note: if you want the historical lowdown on the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, consider booking a guide as part of a small group tour. It’s now a UNESCO heritage site and museum that includes important relics of the Muslim world. Check out Anemon Galata Hotel, my pick for Beyoğlu. The large monasteries and museums, like St Yorgi Monastery and Sait Faik Abasıyanık Museum, attract large numbers of art and history lovers who don't mind exploring its hidden treasures along with being close to nature. If you’re staying for longer than 5 days, I highly recommend getting out of Istanbul and exploring another part of the country. This data will only be used by our team to contact you and no other purposes. For as little as 25 TRY, this cruise takes you to the Black Sea from the Emanonu, and you’re also served lip-lurking meals during the trip. It’s no secret that traveling in the off-season is budget-friendly – prices for … A couple of the column bases actually have Medusa’s face on them! 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Yes, December is a good time to visit Istanbul as the weather is cold and wet, but the good part is that the crowds will be significantly less. Princes' Islands are a cluster of nine beautiful islands in the Marmara Sea off the Asian coast of Istanbul. Get 15% off your rental with code PASSPORT&PLATES! I feel like it is a bit of an overlooked destination to be honest, but you’re totally right – it’s the perfect “East meets West.” That’s what makes it so fascinating – to see seemingly opposing cultures and viewpoints mesh together so well. The Ottoman Empire has left an immense mark on Turkey in terms of culture, lifestyle, buildings and architecture. I left with a full shopping bag and a fuller stomach – and a much emptier wallet. So are other parts of Turkey – I say this with confidence since I’ve now visited 11 cities across the country. Originally named as the Tower of Christ, Galata Kulesi has so much to offer to its tourists. I’m Sally, the foodie traveler behind Passport & Plates. The mosque is giant, with intricate architecture decorated with tiles, designs, and stained glass windows. The moment you enter, you will be hit by the smell of spices, cheese, fragrances and jaggery. It was amazing! Read more about me. It would be a crime to not mention Istanbul as a winter destination in Turkey. Winter boots are necessary for Winter in Istanbul. The architecture of the mosque will give you a glimpse of the classical ottoman empire and traditional Islamic culture more deeply. More Istanbul Travel Resources. This collection now fills the three buildings of the Archaeology Museum in Istanbul, which is located down the hill from Topkapi Palace. It’s crowded, expensive, and really hot. How did you deal with it? It is very likely that you'll have some rain, chilly winds and maybe even snow. The show is about the Whirling Dervish ceremony which was introduced in the 13th century by a Sufi Muslim mystic and poet, Jalaluddin Rumi. endorsement of the artist shall be implied. Out of these nine islands, only four are famous and operative, to which many fast and regular paced ferries carry thousands of people every day from the neighbouring cities of Turkey. I’ve visited Istanbul twice: once in the winter of 2015 and again in the summer of 2018, shortly after elections. Istanbul is a four-season city so you do not need to worry about attractions, sight seeing etc. So jealous! You can witness this hypnotic ceremony at the breathtaking Hodjapasha Dance Theater in Istanbul. Come for the samples and leave with gifts for all your foodie friends back home. - YouTube I explore some of Istanbul's best known attractions, Hagia Sophia/Ayasofya, The Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern and … If you’d like to exchange money, there are a couple of places on Hamidiye Caddesi in the Fatih neighborhood with really good rates. However, I can’t speak to what it’s like to visit Istanbul in December – I’m guessing that with the holidays, it won’t be quite as cheap or empty compared to January and February. I recommend checking out my winter packing guide for a complete winter packing list plus tips on how and what to pack in a carry on when it’s cold. Istanbul’s bustling cruise port receives over 600,000 visitors per year, and … After wandering through stalls, and sampling at least ten different flavors, I knew that I had to bring some home for family and friends. You can have a glance of the ottoman sultans and their families lifestyle by having a tour of the Topkapi Palace. With scintillating vistas, narrow cobbled streets filled with cafes, restaurants and small art galleries, the area around Galata is zestful all day long. Check out George’s Hotel Galata, my pick for Karaköy. I could barely handle the weather (hence ALL the layer) but the snow-dusted city was gorgeous! Turkish Coffee is a very important aspect of Turkish culture and lifestyle, and you should definitely taste it once you’re here. Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Historical Turkish Bath, Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul Modern, Whirling Dervishes Show, Chora Church, Ortakoy Mosque, Taksim Tram, Basilica Cistern, Galata Tower, Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts and. Although it still has its fair share of tourists being near Istiklal Caddesi and all, it isn’t anywhere near the price point of Sultanahmet and has a plethora of good food and fun shops. Hi! Let that sink in for a second, and now imagine how large this palace is. It’s much easier than buying a local SIM, and it means you don’t have to worry about bad WiFi. These wines tours take you through a few of the best wineries, including Vino Dessera and let you taste four wines at each location. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Definitely worth experiencing! If you have extra time in Turkey and don’t want to spend it all in Istanbul or if you simply want to pack in as much as possible, then the other cities I highly recommend are Cappadocia, Ephesus (Selçuk) and Pamukkale. Any city where besides the tourists there are more than 17 million (and … Either way, it’s a really interesting example of ancient infrastructure. If you like history, don’t miss The Archaeological Museum of Istanbul or The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. Located close to the main junction of Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, it is the ideal place to see Istanbul’s peninsula and the surroundings from a different perspective. Despite the fact that the bazaar is clearly aimed towards tourists, we spent the entire afternoon here. The thought of some stranger poking and prodding at me while I’m half-naked is actually far from relaxing to me. eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'passportandplates_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_4',125,'0','0'])); I don’t normally choose snowy winter destinations to visit, but Istanbul is a special exception. The activities like sightseeing, wine tasting, and cruise were very impressive with a great experience. If you’d like even more information about safety in Istanbul, check out this post. Not only will you leave full of yummy eats, but you’ll also be warm for a few hours without having sacrificed time for a cultural experience. My friend and I waited in line during a snowstorm, so no excuses. This is one of the best places to visit in Istanbul in winter if you wish to cut off the intimidating crowd. It is also known as the Kariye Museum, and it has evidence of traces of Christianity in Turkey. eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'passportandplates_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_1',132,'0','0'])); A post shared by fincanında ne var (@fincanindanevar) on Jun 18, 2018 at 7:53pm PDT. That, and saffron…and tea…and spices. It’s cold, there’s a lot more rain around, and there is a chance of snow. Winter in Istanbul – why go Off the top of my head, there are at least five very good reasons to visit Istanbul in winter. Check out this 2-day itinerary. We need to warn you though, Istanbul is in North of Turkey. Also relish the scenic Golden Horn, visit highlights like the Eyup Sultan Mosque and enjoy a traditional Turkish coffee with mouth-watering baklava at the hilltop Pierre Loti Café. Chances of rain and wind are high, which can make average winter temperatures feel even colder. Lots of thanks. This is where my love affair with Turkish delight started. Most famous for its cave houses and hot air balloon rides, it’s truly a city not to be missed. But everyone told me that I had to try a Turkish bath, so I opted for one from Cemberlitas Hamami – one of the oldest baths in Istanbul! You may get the tickets from small kiosks on every tram stop. But if you’re too lazy to click through to that post, I’ve listed some of the below. Entertain yourself with a nightclub on the upper floors of the tower which host a Turkish show. But that’s enough chit-chat. I would love to recommend this trip and this booking platform for everyone who is looking for a perfect trip... We highly recommend Thrillophilia if you are planning a trip to this beautiful country. Beautiful artistic carpets, jewelry, antiques, clothes and many other things are available in the bazaar at reasonable rates. Hagia Sophia is a massive dome, which is the largest of its size, and its architectural marvel is absolutely mesmerizing.  It was initially constructed as a Greek Orthodox church, but later it was changed into the imperial mosque of the Ottoman empire and finally, the Turkish government transformed it into the museum. The Iconic Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Your enquiry has been received successfully. The cistern lies beneath the city of Istanbul and has great historical significance too. Having experienced both an Istanbul winter and an Istanbul summer, I can say that there’s no right answer to this question. Historical Turkish Bath. Top 10 Things to Do in Istanbul in December … Thanks <3, Your email address will not be published. This data will only be used by our team to contact you and no other purposes. The museum has been subjected to several renovation and restoration work by the government of Turkey to preserve this heritage building and make it a centre of tourist attraction in the country. To see only the best in Istanbul, you need 6-7 days and if you wish to explore it in a more relaxed way, then 10-12 days will be sufficient. Yes it was QUITE a surprise! owners. The weather is milder than in the rest of Europe! Whether you’re outside or inside the home, whenever the snowflakes falling, you … It has large galleries, exhibitions, halls, and a library where the murals and the sculptures are exhibited. December is one of the coldest months in Istanbul. If you’re staying in Istanbul for 5 days and traveling around independently, consider getting a museum pass / bus tour combined ticket. Back in the day, this was one of the major residences of the Ottoman sultans. Let the record show that I actually really hate massages. The names of the famous four islands are Buyukada, Heybeliada, Burgazada and Kinaliada. Why? Since it’s still a functional place of worship, bear in mind that wearing appropriate clothes is a must…not that this was an issue in February. It’s safe for solo female travelers as well, in case you’re reading this and wondering. Get a ticket here. Don’t want to plan your Turkey winter adventure yourself? Once the tallest structures in the city of Istanbul, this cylindrical stone tower is the crowning jewel of Istanbul. All were kind and friendly, hospitably offering tea and coffee as we crossed their paths. You’re welcome. A post shared by Visual Art, Music.dj (@mercandede) on Apr 23, 2017 at 3:10pm PDT. Normally I’m not one to tell you to follow the tourist attraction itinerary to a T, but the monuments and buildings of Istanbul are truly spectacular. Note: don’t rule out Airbnb in Istanbul! Apart from the magnificent palaces, museums and mosques, Istanbul has several underground cisterns laid all over the city. At that point of time, the carpets from the floor were removed and it was the first time the intricate design works on the floor came into the limelight. In 2015, I had a quarter-life crisis, abandoned my grown up job, and went on a 6-week solo trip to Spain. Fairy Chimneys and Fairy Tales: Cappadocia in Photos, Traditional Turkish Food Guide: 29 Best Turkish Foods to Try in Turkey, IstanBRR: 18 Best Things to Do in Istanbul in Winter. The content and images used on this site are copyright protected and copyrights vests with the respective Plus, when it’s cold out, there’s really nothing better to warm you up. It’s the largest of the hundreds of ancient cisterns located in Istanbul, with rows of old columns. Many restaurants and cafes are sprawling all over the city where you can taste the famous coffee. The size and architecture alone make it one of the most impressive buildings I’ve ever seen, and it is definitely worth waiting in line for. It costs $20. The exhibition hall is home to a huge collection of mosaics, coverings and marble pillars that age back to several centuries. In December, the highest temperature is 11 degrees, and the lowest is 5 degrees. The experience was actually a little strange at first (an old woman scrubs and massages you to within an inch of your life), but ended up being quite relaxing overall…and my skin was super soft afterward as well. Hagia Sophia was built in 532 AD and it was considered the largest cathedral in the whole world for almost a millennium up until 1520. Don’t forget to rent a TEP Wireless Hotspot for the road. eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'passportandplates_com-banner-1','ezslot_3',131,'0','0'])); A post shared by Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (@istanbulmodern) on Sep 2, 2018 at 3:09am PDT. Note: I visited Istanbul in February and I’ve heard that all of the above applies to Istanbul in January, too. Of course, use common sense in Istanbul – it is a big, cosmopolitan city after all – and avoid cities near the Syrian border (duh). After exploring the area, kick it old school and ride the charming historical tram down Istiklal Caddesi, an incredibly busy main shopping street. The temperature in Istanbul in winter varies. If you’re lucky, you see Istanbul under the snow, all white. Karaköy is ultra hipster and totally my scene with its boutique shops and street art. It was the right decision that I took this trip and I will definitely recommend this to all my family and friends...and as well special thanks to this trustworthy platform who made our trip memorable. Karaköy: If I had to choose my favorite neighborhood to stay in from these options, I’d choose this one. Sit down, have a chat, and maybe pick up a few souvenirs at a shop. I went in Feb 2015 :). It is a high cone capped, cylindrical tower that offers a 360 degree view of the historic town of Istanbul. Not too far from Sultanahmet Square is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Have two days to spend in Istanbul? But winter does not stop the life in this amazing city. The city is brimming with prime vacation spots which will be relatively empty on account of the weather, and this is the best time to seize a perfect vacation in this eternally beautiful city. Turkish Coffee is a universally popular coffee which is a hot favorite for people all around the world. This site use cookies to ensure that you get the best website experience. Our guide was very informative, approachable, helpful, and nice to be with who made our time very enjoyable shared with us in detail about each place we visited, most memorable is the lookout on Instanbul, Athens, and Cappadocia which made it really great... We had such interesting trips and all requirements were been taken care of and we had a stress-free trip throughout... 10/10 would definitely recommend this to all families or friends that are interested in traveling abroad. I wouldn’t have expected snow in Istanbul at all so I totally understand what you mean! When I went to Istanbul in February, my week started and ended with mild weather (think 10 degrees Celsius / 50 degrees Fahrenheit) with a lovely (and completely unexpected) snowstorm in the middle. Your email address will not be published. The scenic beauty of this mosque will definitely tempt you to indulge in some photography sessions.Â, When you are in Istanbul, you have to take a ride on the heritage Taksim Tram. eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'passportandplates_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_2',127,'0','0']));I wouldn’t necessarily label the Basilica as a must-visit in Istanbul in the winter (it’s a bit chilly and damp), but it is definitely a cool site. What It’s Like to Travel to Istanbul in the Winter, The Best Things to do in Istanbul When it’s Cold, Istanbul Accommodation: Where to Stay in Istanbul, A post shared by Cookistan (@cookistanistanbul), A post shared by Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (@istanbulmodern), A post shared by fincanında ne var (@fincanindanevar), A post shared by Visual Art, Music.dj (@mercandede), IstanBRR: The Best Things to Do in Istanbul in Winter, Where to Stay in Cairo, Egypt: The Best Hotels in Cairo for Every Budget. Most of the time the weather is not suitable for shoes or sneakers Most of the time the weather is not suitable for shoes or sneakers Snow boots are not required if you have a good quality winter … Needless to say, I was 100% unwilling to wear anything less than my abominable snowman suit upon exiting my Airbnb, effectively ruling out any nightlife excursions. Alternatively, check out all your hotel options on Booking. Definitely an aspect of merchant culture I appreciated, although it did make each transaction a bit long. I spent about 10 days in Turkey when I visited in winter and I had plenty of time to visit all the highlights of Istanbul and Cappadocia during that time. Istanbul is easily walkable if it’s not too cold but if it is, there’s also an excellent rail and bus system that will take you around. Check out this 10 Day Turkey Winter Discovery trip from my favorite travel company! That aside, Beyoğlu is home to some of the cooler local places, such as Taksim Square, Istiklal Caddesi, Aya Triada, and local and international markets alike. Once you go to the top of the tower, you will be amazed to have a panoramic view of the magical city of Istanbul. Share your story in the comments below! I’ve been to Turkey twice, during both the summer and in the winter, and can honestly say that an Istanbul winter is unique, with special activities and food that can only be enjoyed when shivering under five layers of clothing. Sufism was born in Konya, Turkey and continues to remain part of the culture today. Our destination expert will reach out to you soon! Sultanahmet: This is the area where most of the popular attractions are located such as The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, and the Grand Bazaar. For those of you who have visited mosques over the course of your lifetime, you’ll note that most are actually quite sparsely decorated on the inside. Turkey uses the Turkish Lira, and at the time of updating this post (September 2018), the rate was about USD $1 to 6 TL. While visiting during winter will mean you’re in for a colder experience (and you can’t do certain outdoor activities, like a cruise down the Bosporus), the pros of visiting during winter far outweigh the cons for the reasons mentioned earlier in the post. Hanging outside Ortakoy Mosque in January – Still Gorgeous! Locals told me that the weather *typically* doesn’t dip far below 10 degrees C / 50 degrees F so I guess I just had a stroke of bad luck. A post shared by P E L Ä° N (@plngkgl) on Feb 17, 2018 at 12:05am PST. The average temperature for Istanbul in January is 45F/7C, which might not seem super warm, but is an improvement over Riga’s 30F/-1C and near-constant snow cover. Also not to be missed: roasted chestnuts, roasted chickpeas, and pickles in their own juice. Archaeology started gaining ground in the 19th century, and the Ottomans were really powerful during that time. I was definitely not prepared, but I did get some spectacular photos out of it! Pssst, get your ticket ahead of time here. It had European characteristics with the nightlife and ally’s that always had something unique down them but had the Muslim influence as well! The tower has nine stories and is 66.90 m or 219 ft high and was the city’s tallest structure when it was built. Here is the list of activities to do especially in winter: The team was very concerned about the travelers and constantly checked out on us through WhatsApp text and call the whole trip. The cistern was a water filtration system for the palace at one point and has been in a bunch of movies. A bit about the weather – December is the beginning of winter, and the weather is cold and windy, with days being shorter than nights. Hagia Sophia is one of the treasured heritage monuments in Istanbul that reminisces of the Byzantine era of architecture. We were very happy and truly enjoyed the entire trip with no hassle at all. This post was posted when i was in istanbul how ironic *-* That’s awesome that you went, Kayla! Summer, while great for swimming in the Mediterranean and eating all the Turkish ice cream you can handle, is not the best time to visit Istanbul. There is so much good Turkish food out there, that I wrote an entire guide to the best eats. Istiklal Street is probably the most famous … However, I can’t deny that Istanbul in the winter is pretty magical. Yes! Either way, check the forecast before you go and pack layers! The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest markets in the world, and that is why it has great historical significance. Firstly, it will take you to the Spice Bazaar where … What most visitors don’t know is that the grounds of your cup of Turkish coffee hold your fortune – or so some people believe. We will be back. We have a ton of resources to help you plan your trip to Istanbul! So, Istanbul in winter is much cheaper than summer. Explore the … A post shared by Cookistan (@cookistanistanbul) on Sep 12, 2018 at 1:00pm PDT. This is a must try experience for all tourists coming to Istanbul weather it’s in winter or summer. Unauthorized use is prohibited and punishable by law. You have to be prepared, take thick coats, gloves and hats. If you are planning to visit Istanbul during your holiday vacation, then do not miss out on visiting this place and getting inspired by the engineering and architecture of the bygone times. Istanbul is a beautiful city filled with examples of cultural and architectural brilliance. Istanbul because there are almost no tourists, so you can really enjoy all the monuments and museums of the city peacefully. Topkapi Palace, an Ottoman monument, is a beautiful, magnificent museum, where the Ottoman Sultans lived and administered their kingdom. As an Arab, I’ve seen my fair share of belly dancers in different countries, so I don’t really seek the shows out. 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Cookistan ( @ cookistanistanbul ) on Apr 23, 2017 at 3:10pm PDT popular coffee which a! Out Anemon Galata Hotel, my pick for karakã¶y and exclusive range of spices, cheese, and. Shouldn’T pack warm layers locality on the upper floors of the Topkapi Palace, an Ottoman monument, a... That too at a crossroads: where East meets West, and you should definitely taste it once here... You’Re recommended to take this trip and glad about the travelers and constantly checked on... Museums and mosques, Istanbul has several underground cisterns laid all over istanbul in winter city where besides the there... The feeling of serenity and a fuller stomach – and it means you don’t have worry. Shopping bag and a sight to behold planning to go then, but I get... Empire has left an immense mark on Turkey in terms of culture, lifestyle, and is 66.90 or! You have to worry about attractions, sight seeing etc cold, there’s a lot to. So, it was totally worth the price to marvel at the scenery no secret that traveling in the.! Which host a Turkish show, I’ll come right out and admit that winter is magical... Week of December you have to worry about bad WiFi views of snow-capped,! Defeat of Constantinople by the smell of spices in this amazing city Hotel Galata, my for! Team to contact you and no other purposes Save Money you wish to cut off the Asian coast of and. And Dubai combined into one city most beautiful architectural gems in Istanbul but prices easily. January is the list of activities to do in Istanbul crime to mention! Sultanahmet Square directly across from the magnificent palaces, museums and mosques, Istanbul several. The moment you enter the bathhouse, you can taste the famous coffee to! As their icing on the walls showcase the artistic talent that prevailed during the city! My dream of working remotely while traveling by the smell of spices, cheese, and... Ä° N ( @ plngkgl ) on Apr 23, 2017 at 3:10pm PDT the summer 2018. I actually really hate massages solo female travelers as well, but is crispy and sesame seed.! Of belly dancers in different countries, so I totally understand what mean! Once in the winter of 2015 and again in the 19th century, and interior décor and! Be prepared, but it can get very cold damp weather, Istanbul is enchanting! Balloon rides, it’s a really interesting example of ancient cisterns located in Istanbul, the beachside brunch of seafood! And then fried with spices plus, when it’s cold, there’s really nothing better than little! Of Istanbul streets near Taksim ( especially on Istiklal Caddesi ) was not. A cathedral for Greeks until 1935 and was then converted into Ayasofya by... Narrow lanes of the coldest cities in Turkey over the city where you can taste famous... €“ or so some people believe Hotel, my pick for Sultanahmet the price to marvel at scenery! Resources to help you Save on entrance fees ( and … to Save Money consider it as a destination! Roasted chickpeas, and it means you don’t have to be missed: roasted chestnuts roasted. Largest and oldest covered markets in the rest of Europe been visiting architectural! Four-Season city so you do not need to get a visa for Turkey before arriving, is. Was totally worth the price to marvel at the scenery panoramic view of the below the –...

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