Istanbul appeals to you like no other city. It is a melting pot of culture, has an extremely rich history and literally lies between two continents. Chances are that it will evoke positive emotions by appealing to one or more of the five senses :- sight, hearing, taste, smell or touch. If you are planning a trip to Turkey, here is our five “must do” experiences in Istanbul, that will appeal to all your five senses.
1. Smell – Visit the Spice Bazaar
This is the second largest covered market after the Grand Bazaar. The Spice Bazaar has a grittier feel. As expected the air inside is aromatic. The frequent stalls displaying carefully arranged brightly colored pyramids of spices have a pleasant exotic smell. Here you’ll be able to pick up spices, nuts, dried fruit, Turkish coffee, loose leaf tea, and even Turkish delight! The smells and colors are a feast for your senses. A great experience, truly what you would expect in Istanbul.
2. Touch – Get naked at Hamam
3. Listen – To the call of prayer between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
One of the most beautiful call of prayer, that you could ever listen to is between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia (which although is no longer a mosque, still keeps a prayer room). One muezzin would sing out part of the prayer and then the second muezzin would respond from the other minaret. It is one spiritual experience, which you should not miss. So if you find yourself there during the prayer time, grab a seat at one of the park benches, soak in the view and just listen.
4. See – Go to a whirling Dervish show
The dervishes spin themselves into a trance-like state that brings them closer to God, and it’s a unique religious ceremony to witness. The centuries-old ceremony is a spiritual performance featuring graceful choreography, Persian chanting and traditional Turkish music, played by the on-site orchestra. Enjoy a drink and some Turkish delight from the bar, and then sit captivated as the dervishes glide around the stage in their eye-catching robes; it’s the perfect evening out for a taste of age-old Istanbul culture.
5. Taste – Eat Kumpir and drink Pickled juice
A kumpir is a loaded baked potato. The server will mix the potato with cheese and butter until it’s light and fluffy, and then you can choose from an assortment of toppings including olives, hot dogs, pickles, corn, peas, bulgur and more. It’s the perfect snack to go. Just don’t let C word cross your mind at that time, else you wont be able to enjoy a single bite.
Slurping pickles and pickle vinegar while ambling across Galata Bridge. How heavenly is that? Pickle appreciators everywhere will appreciate that one! If you’re a pickle juice slurper, Istanbul is the city for you. Pickle juice is an amazing concoction sold by street vendors in Turkey. Pickled juice tastes like sour, lemony pickles