Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Home of Tolerance

Do you like to smell the sea?
Do you like to have shopping?
Do you like to have some tea or coffee?
Or, you like to dine out at a fish restaurant?
I'm sure nobody would reply 'No';)

- The Ortakoy Mosque -

Ortakoy is the best address for all of them with its narrow streets, caffees and street vendors! (See below) Arriving in from a nearby car park, you pass the food stands selling baked potatoes amongst other treats, that's great for mornings or even in the late evenings. You can find live music at different times as well as lots of pigeons. Also Ortakoy is a meeting point for artists that they gather every Sunday to exhibit their works in a streetside gallery.

On Sundays it becomes really crowded but it's the best day for shopping about any hand-made stuff to antiques, you're warned at once as it's one of the very popular spots in Istanbul:) I, too, like being at Ortakoy on Sundays if I can.

Oh... she's my sister, Bengi, only one-year younger than me:) I bet she was looking for her blackberry in the bag;) She's my 'guru' in website design having much more developed skills than me. Her job is on e-commerce consultancy.

It was a perfect sunny wintery(!) weekend. We had an amazing time last weekend. Lots of art happenings took place here with some fascinating exhibits. It's worth noting at this point that it was sunny, a clear blue sky, in the high 18C's, and admiring the beauty of Bosphorus. Oh.. I could die! So we spent a sunny spring-like afternoon with no-jacket wandering around Ortakoy.

More commonly known as Ortakoy Mosque, or Buyuk Mecidiye Camii, is the most splendid of Istanbul's Baroque mosques. Superbly situated on a point extending into of the Bosphorus, located in the European part of the city. The mosque's location along the shore provides outstanding views of the Bosphorus.

Ortakoy with its magnificient view was the site of President G. Bush's speech during the NATO Summit, on June 29, 2004 which he delivered at the front of Galatarasay University.

The mosque was built under the directive of Sultan Abdulmecid, who was the first Sultan to reside at Dolmabahce Palace, in 1854-56 by the Turkish-Armenian Balyan Family that designed also the Dolmabahce Palace; father Nigogayos Balyan, and the son, Garabet Amira Balyan. Nigogayos Balyan designed it in Ottoman baroque-rococo style:

Adding to the splendour is the mosque's monumental location in Ortakoy on the banks of the Bosphorus Strait just beneath the Bosphorus Bridge. In designing this mosque, Nigogayos Balyan, who had studied architecture in Paris, is said to have been inspired by Opéra Garnier in Paris.

Amazing architecture; made of marble, with two-towering minerettes (above) each with a single gallery that are reached by a flight of stairs.

It's composed of intimate rooms and a private areaor sultans. The walls are made of white stone. The walls of the mosque's only Dome (see above) were decorated with very nice pink mosaics along with some calligraphy samples. Inside the mosque, there is a beautiful crystal chandelier hanging (see below). The wide and high windows are designed to let in ever-changing light reflections of the Bosphorus shine in the Mosque, superb!

The Mosque is today overshadowed by one of the world's largest suspension bridges, the Bosphorus Bridge, linking Europe and Asia: an exciting feeling!

In Ortakoy, a mosque (the Ortakoy Mosque), a church (the Hagia Foka Orthodox Church) and a synagogue (the Etz Ahayim Synagogue) have existed side by side for centuries, a tribute to Turkish tolerance:)


  1. Hi Nihal, lovely post and beautiful pictures. The dome is gorgeous! I definitely have to get back; can't forget how freezy and rainy it was (before the snow storm) when I got there...
    Those crochet looks quite delicate; no wonder it matches your taste!
    Your picture in UK is wonderful, and your windows are stunning. They look like paintings (actually from Maluda, a Portuguese painter, who re-created several windows of Lisbon).
    Your contribution for Turkey's tourist development should be acknowledged; but beware of the competition of Travelphilippines... ;))
    Finally, I don't know why, but those bamboo never resist at home. Bad luck... :(
    Have a great week!

  2. Yes, I want to go shopping there. Shall I meet you next weekend?

    Once again you have posted wonderful information and photo's. Before long I'm going to be a seasoned tourist - if only in my mind.


  3. ciao Nihal,ho visto le foto e ho pensato che quella più giù di tua sorella sei tu.
    Mi fa molto piacere vedere come sei.
    ti abbraccio bea.

  4. WoW....some very beautifully captured shots...lovely viewing the place & the architecture as also reading your descriptions...very nice!

  5. nekadar güzel anlatmışsın ya fotolar zaten süper .. ortaköy'e hiç bu gözle bakmamıştım nedense.. sevgiler şimdiden dünya kadınlar gününü de kutlarım :)

  6. carol eldridge3/09/2008 2:40 PM

    I would love to come and visit Istanbul someday. We love to travel and it is on our list. It was so nice to see your great photos of the mosques and the bridge that I have heard so much about. I am a designer who lives near Boston in the states. Please stop by to say hello.


  7. @ Gil: Visiting Istanbul in february while snowing, as you did before, is not a good time planning b'cus spring-summer even autumn are the best for an enjoyable Istanbul voyage:) Yeap, you definitely have to get back in Ist'l:)
    Hahahaaa... My contribution for Turkey's tourist development? So cool definition from you as ever Gil:)) Let's hope Turkish Ministry for Tourism and Culture awards me presenting a plaque;)
    BTW, everyone is a self-contributor for his/her own country's tourism development, isn't it? Yes, everyone tries this and yes it does kind of help a bit or big scale:)
    One exception that's of you;) You're the one who tries for the WORLD TOURISM development thru your great blog, Sir:)
    For the best luck, try for the southeast of your home:) If you do that way, it works, believe me.

    @ Darla: Sure:) You can meet me at weekends, as it's the best time for me to be free from heavy work schedule:) Let's fix OK;)

    @ Bea: No, non sono piu' giu' della mia sorella. C'e' solo un'anno fra noi. E sono il numero uno. E' la foto della mia sorella, non sono. Per vedermi, vai al posto con titolare 'White Slavery' che pubblicato il feb 19.

    @ Iz: Calismalarim yogun ve buraya daha bugun gelebildim, cok pekcok tesekkurler Kadinlar Gunu dileklerin icin:) Ne kadar guzel beni de unutmamis olman. Ben de sana en icten dileklerimi gonderiyorum.
    Ortakoy'e bu gozle hic bakmamis miydin? Well.. Herkesin bakis acisi farklidir (smile:) Benim gozumden iste boyle gorunuyor Ortakoy (dermisim:) Guzel yorumlarin icin tekrar tekrar kucak dolusu tesekkurler! Sevgiler.

    @ Carol: A warm welcome to you from dreamy ancient cosmopolitan Istanbul:) Always but all-ways welcome as it's really worth. Designing is one of my interested areas, surely I'll be visiting your journal. Thank you for stopping by. Come again when you can, as I'd be pleased to welcome you again:)

    PS Carol, I cannot reach you. It does not work when clicking on your name:( Pls drop me a comment and let me know of your blog address please. Would love to visit yours:)

  8. Oh... as they say it's once again proved that I already have the research capabilities that's good enough:)
    Carol, this note for you. I just found your blog via googling. Now I'm going to visit you in Boston;) See you there:)

  9. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this,would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

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