Explore the culture and history of Istanbul, the crown jewel of Turkey.
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Istanbul and the Turkish Coast. Photo © [.O], licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Discover Istanbul & the Turkish Coast

Istanbul not only delineates the continental divide between Asia and Europe, it serves as a lively meeting point of the modern and traditional, and of Western, Eastern, and Middle Eastern cultures.

Turkey’s crown jewel won the hearts of the emperors and sultans of four empires who fought to claim the city as their capital. Even Napoleon thought it should be the capital of the world.

The magic of Istanbul lies in its many contradictions. Five times a day the müezzinler call the faithful to prayer from minarets, some atop former basilicas that were built by early Christians. In the streets, female fashionistas don designer dresses in the bars lining the Bosphorus while the more religious color-coordinate their hijabs with conservative overcoats adorned with gold buttons and trim. Nowhere is the synergy more apparent than on dining tables, where spice-infused kebabs are served alongside mezes (appetizers) and the ubiquitous Western cola. Read on at
The grand Ayasofya in Istanbul. Photo © Calflier001, licensed Creative Commons Attribution & ShareAlike.

The Best Photo Ops in Turkey

Pack an extra camera battery and charge up every evening because Turkey is packed with gorgeous photo opportunities. Pack a tripod as well: enchanting night shots all around the country are a sight to behold.

Have the lens focused on the gilded mosaics, marble columns, and hanging chandeliers of the grand old Ayasofya. Lately it has nearly been upstaged by another attraction—the cross-eyed chubby-faced resident Ayasofya cat, so photogenic he’s got his own blog and Twitter account.
 The Egyptian Spice Bazaar, full of sugar-powdered green, red, and yellow Turkish delight and the warm hues of saffron and red peppers, is a feast of visual temptations.
 Take a Bosphorus cruise at sunset to capture the quintessential shot of a mosque silhouetted against a glowing orange sky. At dusk, find a spot near the Galata Bridge in Eminönü to capture neon-lit boats bobbing against the docks.

The Coast and Cappadocia

 The camera will get a workout on the haunting rock-cut Lycian tombs of Dalyan, Fethiye, and Myra.
 Capture the village life of the quaint whitewashed Şirince and the timber tree houses of Olympos set against lush green forests.
 Arrive in the morning to capture that shot of the Library of Celsus at Ephesus in perfect harmony with natural lighting, or contend with shadows in the late afternoon as the sun sets behind this majestic structure.
 Hike through the ghostly stone remains of Kayaköy or up through the cobble paths of Assos to photograph Turkey’s remote pine-clad coastlines with nearby islands adorning azure seas.
 Ottoman homes with tons of character are best in Antalya’s Kaleiçi and Ankara’s Citadel districts, while the former homes of Greeks make for a nostalgic excursion in Ayvalık and Bozcaada.
 No photo album of Turkey should lack the moonscape lands of Cappadocia, painted with multicolored hot-air balloons hovering above the Rose Valley.

Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Istanbul & the Turkish Coast.
Unique Places to Stay in Turkey. Photo © LWYang, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Unique Places to Stay in Turkey

From tree houses to Ottoman mansions to a cave complex that’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site, Turkey offers unforgettable lodgings.
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Photo © neverbutterfly, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

If You Have . . .

One Week: Visit Istanbul and Cappadocia.
Two Weeks: Add a cruise through the Turquoise Coast's half-dozen resorts.
Three Weeks: Add the southern Aegean cities of Kuşadası, Pamukkale, and Selçuk. Or add the northern Aegean coast, Ankara, and Konya.

Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Istanbul & the Turkish Coast.

Book of the Month

Moon Istanbul & the Turkish Coast
Moon Istanbul & the Turkish Coast
is also available as an ebook.

Turkey resident Leeann Murphy guides travelers to the highlights of Istanbul and the Turkish coast, from exploring the world-class shopping and dining of Istanbul’s charming neighborhoods to relaxing on the golden sands of the Mediterranean’s beaches.
Copyright © 2014 Avalon Travel, All rights reserved.

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