Istanbul Vista – Galata Tower And The Golden Horn

We decided to take a detour through some of Istanbul’s back streets rather than walk down the busy main road of Divanyolu Caddesi to Sultanahmet yet again. I’ll admit to doing a bit of chuntering as we were on our way back from our second incomplete visit to Süleymaniye Camii. On the first of these visits, the mosque was closed because of extensive renovation work to the interior and, on this visit, after being told the mosque was fully open, we arrived to find the garden and the tombs closed. There’s a certain ‘we will not be defeated’ attitude starting to creep in now and should we be lucky enough to get to Istanbul again in 2012, we WILL get that photo of the view over the city.

The back streets that join elevated Beyazıt and sea-level Eminönü are great fun and served well to quell any further chuntering from me. They’re almost vertically steep, making the activity of aimless wandering a challenge, and they’re not particularly pretty – but they’re worth the effort. Narrow and built up, the only way to keep your bearings is to keep heading downhill because you know you’ll hit the waterside of the Golden Horn at some point.

We were picking our way down through a steep alleyway. A high, dirt-blackened wall to the right and a long row of tiny shops on our left, all selling nothing but belt buckles! This is why we love Istanbul. Craftsmen work here daily, creating belt buckles in all manner of shapes and sizes, but for who? Who comes up here to buy them? Do they sell them to larger, more accessible stores? We’ve no idea but the footfall around there can’t be great. We were only there by accident.

Galata Tower & The Golden Horn, Istanbul
Galata Tower and the Golden Horn, Istanbul

And, as you trundle along these streets and alleyways pondering these conundrums that Istanbul contuinually forces you to ponder (Istanbul is full of streets like this), you come across rare gaps between the buildings. And through those gaps, you catch sight of the open world. In this case, we caught sight of the Golden Horn and Galata Tower standing high and watching over the city.

We made a quick detour through the gap just to take this photo and then we returned to the maze of streets. We continued in downward fashion and eventually found ourselves in street food heaven, behind the Mısır Çarsısı (Egyptian Spice Bazaar Mısır). But that’s another post. In the meantime, should you ever find yourself in Istanbul and in need of a custom-made belt buckle, give us a shout and we’ll point you in (roughly) the right direction.

Don't miss a thing! Subscribe NOW for FREE updates straight to your inbox...

* indicates required


  1. I love the idea of wandering through streets in search of belt buckles!

  2. Last time we where there we came across the street of tea pot spouts and knife handles !!!!!

  3. @ Belinda: It’s amazing what you can find to buy in that city! 🙂

    @ Laurie: It just boggles the mind doesn’t it?! 🙂 Who buys these things? I know they might come in useful to some but so many shops sell the same thing all in one street.

  4. Yes one of the great joys in Istanbul! Glad you enjoyed! I also know a fab spot to buy all sorts of pvc plumbing supplies if you need it. =) I had a similar moment this past week exploring Cukurcuma, which will be a future post.

  5. @ Joy: We’ve got a Cukurcuma coming up too. 🙂 We should make a list of all the places in Istanbul where you can but weird and wonderful things! 😉

  6. maze of streets- that perfectly describes the Istanbul I remember! You got a perfect shot of the view here- it is really amazing.

    love your blog so much!

  7. What fun adventure to explore the back streets of Istanbul. I especially like the idea of coming across “street food heaven”. Beautiful photo.

  8. That part of Istanbul is a real maze mystery. Who should think you could loose your way between the very visible landmarks of Sultan Ahmet and the Golden Horn, but I always do.

  9. I love coming upon gaps between buildings like that – with unexpected panoramas suddenly appearing before you.

  10. @ Anjuli: Thank you for the lovely compliment. 🙂 It definitely is a maze of streets but as I said, hard to get lost because of the water. 🙂

    @ Cathy Sweeney: Street food heaven is never far away in Istanbul. 🙂

    @ Italian Notes: Yes, we’re never quite sure about where we are going to come out at the bottom either. 🙂

    @ Sophie: Lovely isn’t it. Especially when it’s a panorama of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus. 🙂

  11. It can be like that in Cairo, and in Fez – wholestreets and neighborhoods given over to a single trade or even a single product! Fascinating. I haven’t wandered round a city like that in a while and I miss it!

  12. @ Robin: Great isn’t it. It must be from the time when different craftspeople converged on the same areas so people knew which part of the city to go to for what they needed?

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.