The Hidden Charms of Istanbul

The summer has come. Istanbul is more beautiful during the springs and summers. So what are the less known hidden charms of the city rather than the places that first come to mind?

Here are the 5 less known hidden charms of Istanbul:

Ataturk Arboretum (Sarıyer)

Located in the southeast of the Belgrade Forest and on an area of 345 hectares, the Arboretum, that is the tree park, belongs to the Faculty of Forestry of Istanbul University, but the visitors are admitted. No food and beverage other than water or camera other than shooting with private permission are allowed inside the Arboretum, which is a paradise on earth with a wide variety of plants, the beauty of the trees and ponds covered with water lilies. Especially in the spring and autumn months, it offers great views with the most beautiful colors of nature all together. If you come here, take a long walk from the Belgrade Forest to the Kilyos coast.

Atatürk Arboretum
Atatürk Arboretum

Galata Mevlevihanesi (Tunnel)

The museum, which is called the Divan Literature Museum, was not well known until recently. It has been renovated with the name and concept of “Galata Mevlevihanesi Museum” and with the restorations performed as of 2007, it was opened for visitors in 2011. The museum is situated in an Ottoman social complex containing the tomb of Sheikh Galip who is one of the most important Divan Literature poets of the 17th century and is also the sheik of the lodge. This Ottoman social complex was established in 1481 and is one of the most important Ottoman monuments in Beyoğlu as well as the “Galata Palace Enderun School”. Various musical instruments, Mevlevi belongings from different periods and various works are exhibited in the museum, which is open to visitors every weekday, apart from Mondays. After a visit in awe here, you can end the day with a tour of Karaköy.

Galata Mevlevihanesi
Galata Mevlevihanesi

Molla Aşkı Hill (Balat)

The original name of this park is Molla Aşkı, and it is nowadays left to its own frequenters and neighborhood again, after it has become publicly known through the famous TV show “Ezel”.  Molla Aşkı Hill is worth visiting with the tea garden in it and its great views. From the ridges of Balat towards the horizon, it is possible to see Kayışdağı, Haydarpaşa, the Selimiye barracks, and Topkapı Palace to the right and Galata to the left. Situated a little further down, the Yavuz Selim Khan Mosque, Rum Red School, Bulgarian Church and Jewish Synagogue represent the brotherhood of religions, side-by-side in the same silhouette. This terrace is recommended especially for the sunrise. If you happen to pass by here, do not forget to have a nice tour on the Fener-Balat line.

Molla Aşkı Hill
Molla Aşkı Hill

Otağtepe Park

In this beautiful hill, which usually succumbs to Nakkaştepe in terms of visitors, a unique Bosphorus view will be beneath your feet and the smell of pine will fill your nose. There are no places for eating and drinking, but at its exit, there are plenty of cafés and restaurants in Nakkaştepe. Otağtepe Park is ideal only for enjoying the view and having a nice walk. The sunset is particularly great. If you happen to pass by here, do not forget to have a nice tour down on the Beykoz, Beylerbeyi, Kuzguncuk line.

Otağtepe Park
The Amazing Sunset at Otağtepe Park

Caferağa Madrasah (Sultanahmet)

You may have passed by Caferağa Madrasah several times, but not noticed it. Incorporating peace, many artists and pure apple tea, the Madrasah is waiting for you in a small side street next to Hagia Sophia. With its small rooms, the Madrasah is surely a gift of Mimar Sinan, also known as Sinan, the Great Architect, to Istanbul. There are courses and exhibitions of marble art, calligraphy and many handicrafts inside. We are sure that, after here, it will be great to visit Sultanahmet again.

Caferaga Madrasah
Caferaga Madrasah

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