Istanbul Travel Blog› entry 5 of 29 › view all entries
Today was our last day in Istanbul and we planned to see Dolmabache Palace and Suleymaniye Mosque. Before we could do anything though we had to book our flights to Izmir. After breakfast and after talking to my hubby on Skype we head out to the Travel Agent, we seem to be having trouble booking the tickets on the Internet. The travel agent didn’t seem to see the same cheap price we did for Onur Air so we ended up back at the hotel to try once again to book them on the Internet. This time we succeeded! Now the flights were sorted we could go out. It was another nice sunny day and it felt a little warmer. We took the tram to Dolmabache it was clean, comfortable and very efficient and very cheap at 1.50Lira. We picked up a couple of Simit’s and cheese from the Simit cart before heading into the palace grounds, there was a bit of a queue for the Palace but it moved quickly. You could see by the extravagant stone carvings of the entrance that this was going to be an extravagant palace. The entrance had a guard who stood there and didn’t move a muscle and at first I thought it was a dummy until Zehra told me he was alive! Of course all the silly tourists had to get a tacky photo with him and as close as they got to him he still didn’t twitch!
The palace was more European style in architecture and was built in the 19th century, it was home to the Sultan’s and Attaturk himself who also died here. We passed through lovely gardens with a fountain at its centrepiece. We first explored the Crystal Palace which was small and had a lovely glass conservatory. Outside were avaries containing chickens and peacocks, they were caged the doors were open and they could come and go as they pleased. More gardens and a pond were close by so we chose to eat lunch there later. Our next stop was the Harem, inside the rooms and furniture were typical European nothing like its Tokapi Palace counterpart. We then went to the main house where you had to have a guided tour but it was free. Inside was absolutely magnificent, true grandeur and opulence it was oozing richness and it was very overdone. Huge Crystal chandeliers hung from every room, crystals embedded even in the staircase! Huge marble columns decorated with gold leave design, richly painted celings and they saved the best room for last which just made my jaw drop the ceiling was so beautiful. I really enjoyed this palace and its position right on the Bhosphorus was just lovely, it wasn’t as crowded either which made all difference. We went to the gardens near the Crystal Palace and had our simit and cake picnic lunch which of course the peakcocks and chickens joined us with!
We caught the tram back but the ride wasn’t as pleasant as going it was very crowded and there was a bees dick of space between us all, trams are regular but people rather push there way onto the first one that turns up! We got off near our hotel and organised our 6am pickup for the airport from a hotel nearby then headed to Suleymaniye Mosque. The streets were more crowded today probably because it was a Saturday and it was quite tiring fighting the people traffic. We got a little lost trying to find the Mosque and had to ask several people before eventually we were guided through the Grand Bazaar to get to it. We found it eventually the otherside of the Bazaar. It was a very old Mosque about 15th century and quiet as it didn’t seem to get as many visitors as the Blue Mosque so it was very pleasant to wonder around.