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FAST FACTS

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03:28 GMT

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TRY 1 = INR 0

OVERVIEW

Istanbul has a lot to offer when it comes to history. Being the capital of many important empires in the past, Istanbul has witnessed a lot and now it’s your turn. Most important of all palaces and museums in Istanbul are the Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia Museums. Why wait in ticket lines at those marvelous places? Get an Istanbul Tourist Pass and enjoy free & fast admission to these top Istanbul spots. You’ll be saving a lot of time for other things to do in Istanbul.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Go to a whirling dervish show
Turkey is home to the Mevlevi Order of Sufi whirling dervishes. The dervishes spin themselves into a trance-like state that brings them closer to God, and it’s a unique religious ceremony to witness.

 

Race around the Hippodrome
Today a public square, the Hippodrome of Constantinople was a place for horse racing and chariot racing. During the Byzantine empire, this place would have been the beating heart of social activity.

 

Go to a belly-dancing show
If you’re after a performance with more of an entertainment factor, then you’re in luck because Hodjapasha Dance Theatre (the same venue that puts of the Whirling Dervish performance), also has folkloric and belly-dancing performances. Prepare to be whisked back into 1001 Arabian Nights.

 

Smoke hookah
Argilah, nargile, sheesha, hubbly bubbly – whatever you call it, there is an ample supply of hookah bars in Istanbul where you can lounge around while you smoke the water pipe and sip on a class of tea or coffee.

 

Go underground at the Basilica Cistern
The Basilica Cistern is the largest of the ancient underground water cisterns found across Istanbul. Most of the columns in the cistern appear to have been recycled from the ruins of other buildings, and among them you’ll find two carvings of Medusa’s head used as column bases, as well as a column with tear shaped engravings believed to have the power to make your wishes come true.

 

Ride the red street car
One way to see Istiklal Avenue without having to weave your way through the crowds is to ride the streetcar from one end of the strip to another. The streetcar has a decidedly vintage feel and it makes for a pleasant journey through Istanbul’s shopping hub.

 

Turkish Bath - Get naked at a hamam

Regardless of the service you choose, you are allowed to use the facilities for as long as you wish. I picked the traditional style service, was handed a carton box containing a new scrubber and led into the camekan — a splendid entrance hall with several stories of wooden cubicles.What To Expect When Visiting a Turkish Bath or Hamam.

Before you can decide whether you hate or love going to a Turkish bath or hamam, you need to experience it at least once. If it’s your first visit to a hamam, entering a Turkish bath can be a daunting experience. By describing my last visit to the Çemberlitaş Hamamı, you will get a nice impression of the Turkish bath process and customs, so you know what to expect.