July 2009: Crew Report July issue takes a look at Istanbul

ISSUE 33 JULY/AUGUST 2009 t wwhw.yoetcru. cocm RrEePOwRT
crew passport 49
Istanbul Istanbul is an enchanting city of contradictions that will leave visitors with
sensational memories. The multifaceted city mixes ancient and modern,
religious and secular and Asia and Europe. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey
and the only city in the world to bridge two continents; at various points it has
served as capital city of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman Empires.
Straddling the yawning Bosphorus Strait, the city remains the commercial,
historical and cultural pulse of Turkey. The city can offer even the most
demanding visitor a multitude of options; the vibrant shopping area of Taksim
buzzes with life and entertainment but for those looking for a more relaxed
pace the calm beauty of the Prince Islands in the Istanbul Strait brings a
touch of serenity to the fast paced metropolis. Istanbul offers a huge variety
of ancient mosques, palaces, museums and bazaars; alongside these are
exciting bars, clubs and galleries making the city a top destination for cultured
globetrotters. We asked some Istanbul-based yacht industry friends to give us
the low-down.
How would you sum up Istanbul in fi ve
Vast, beautiful, ugly, dynamic and fun. Ataman
Seferoglu, Yat Servis (AS)
Unique city full of surprises. Charlie Baker, 777
Yacht Group Company (CB)
Where is the best place in Istanbul to enjoy
a bit of local fl avour/hospitality and why?
Visit Sultanahmet for history, Asmalımescit to see the yuppie
and intellectual side of Istanbul, Nisantasi for upscale fashion,
Bebek is an upmarket location by the Bosphorus, Bagdat
Caddesi is cosy, or Kanlıca – an old village by the Bosphorus. AS
Hamdi Restaurant (+90 212 528 0390) – Chef Hamdi offers the
most unrivalled kebabs in the south-eastern region. Onur
Ozgey, C2C Yachting Turkey (OO)
Anyone visiting Istanbul should head for restaurants on the
Bosphorus, especially for fi sh, as the service and meals are
indescribable. Gurkan Caliskan, MY ‘Leo Fun’ (GC)
Where do you go to escape from it all in
Istanbul and the surrounding region?
Büyükada (“Big Island”) is the largest of the nine islands
comprising the Prince Islands in the Marmara Sea, close to
Istanbul. Motorised vehicles – except service vehicles – are
forbidden, so visitors explore the island by foot, bicycle,
in horse-drawn carriages or by riding donkeys. Esra
Tarlan, Dunya Yachts (ET)
Sapanca, around 100km from Istanbul, is a summer resort
by a large lake. But there are so many things to do in
Istanbul, you will not think about going anywhere else. AS
Going to the islands in Marmara Sea is a good option.
(Büyükada or Heybeliada), Yıldız Palace and park, the
Anatolian Castle and the Rumelian Castle. CB
Are there any areas that are best avoided
at night or if you are on your own?
It is better to avoid places around Taksim Square and
Beyoglu after midnight; ladies should keep their purses
close to them. However Asmalimescit, at the far end of
Beyoglu, is safe any time. AS
When you visit Istanbul you should be careful walking in
Istiklal Avenue in Beyoglu, especially late at night. GC
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The Bosphorus
Blue Mosque
the crew report
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What is the one thing that people
visiting Istanbul simply have to
Essential sights include the Dolmabahçe
Palace, the Grand Bazaar, the Galata Tower,
the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia church and
Istiklal Avenue. ET
You should visit the Bosphorus at night,
reserving a table on a cruise boat to eat dinner.
The Swissotel (+90 212 326 1100) offers
this boat trip but there should be cheaper
alternatives. AS
One thing that people visiting Istanbul simply
have to visit is Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya),
also known as the Church of Holy Wisdom.
Construction started in 532 and took only fi ve
years to complete. It has a 33-metre-wide dome
dating back to the sixth century and is one of the
most ambitious building projects undertaken to
date. It was considered to be the most “sacred
piece” of the city during the Byzantine age. After
1453, it was converted to a mosque and in 1953
it was opened to visitors as a museum. For more
than 1,000 years, Hagia Sophia was the largest
and grandest church in the world. OO
Join a Bosporus boat tour, visit Topkapı Palace
to see the Spoonmaker Diamond (86 carats),
see Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque
Also visit the Grand and Spice Bazaar, visit
Basilica Cistern, Galata Tower and Maiden’s
Tower. CB
Al Jamal
The Bosphorus
Can you recommend any good
places to stay in town? Both for
lower budgets and for splashing
the cash?
The top three hotels are the Four Seasons Hotel
(+90 212 402 3000), the Çıragan Palace Kempinski
(+91 212 326 4646) and the Ottoman Hotel
Imperial (+90 212 513 6150). ET
For cheaper hotels I would advise hotels around
Taksim. Richmond Hotel (+90 212 252 9707) and the
various Green Park Hotels (www.thegreenpark.com) are
relatively cheap and offer good accommodation. AS
From Taksim Square, you can walk all the way
down Istiklal Avenue in half an hour or less. You
can fi nd good places to stay around Taksim Square.
For lower budgets, Taksim Point Hotel (+90 212
313 5000) is a nice option as it is walking distance
from the square, is clean and inexpensive. OO
For splashing the cash Çıragan Palace Kempinski
(as above), Les Ottomans (+90 212 359 1500) and
the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul (as above). For
lower budgets Taksim Square Hotel
(+90 212 292 6440) or Taksim Hill Hotel
(+90 212 334 8500); for minimal budgets try
any hotel or hostel in Sultanahmet. CB
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Useful Numbers:
Turkey dial code: +90
Emergency services: 110 (Fire), 155 (Police)
Coastguard: 158
Atakoy Marina: +90 212 560 4270
Kalamis Marina: +90 216 346 2346
With thanks to:
777 Yacht Group Company
C2C Yachting Turkey
Dunya Yachts
Gurkan Caliskan, deckhand on MY Leo Fun
Yat Servis
Are there any good cafes or internet cafes in
town you would recommend?
There are lots of cafes in town, especially on the Asian side on Bagdat
Street, you can go to Café Cadde (+90 216 302 7624), Mid Point
(+90 216 360 4071), Café Divan (+90 212 257 7270), Suadiye Café
(+90 216 445 8424) and Kahve Dunyası (+90 212 293 1206). There
are small boutique internet cafes everywhere. ET
There are many good cafes in Asmalımescit (at the far end of
Beyoglu), Nisantasi, Sultanahmet and Bagdat Avenue (on the
Anatolian side). Coffee chains like Starbucks and Kahve Dunyasi are
good alternatives for a short pause. Almost all of them have good free
internet connections – there is no need to go to internet cafes. AS
Istiklal (Independence) Avenue is the heart of Istanbul, the more
modern district built during the 19th century. The city’s most popular
strolling and snacking pedestrianised street is lined with boutiques,
cafes, internet cafes, consulates, galleries, cinemas and banks, with
residential apartments above. When 19th-century travellers spoke
of Constantinople (Istanbul) as the “Paris of the East”, they were
thinking of the Grande Rue de Péra (Istiklal Avenue) and its half-
European, half-Asian culture. The avenue extends from Taksim Square
to Tunel Square, the hub of modern Istanbul, which hosts the famed
Çiçek Pasaji (Flower Passage) dining and taverna district. OO
Any Starbucks or Gloria Jean’s cafes serve good coffee with
broadband internet connection. Apart from this Taksim, Bagdat
Street and Bebek area is very good for nice cafes. CB
Where is the best anchorage or beach in the
The best beaches are Küçüksu Beach, True Blue Beach, Sile Beach
and Solar Beach. ET
As Istanbul is a commercial port of call there are not many beaches.
However, islands are a 30-minute ferry ride away. There are beaches
on the islands that the crew can enjoy on their day off with great
views and nature. Also there are two marinas in Istanbul: on the Asian
side Fenerbahce/Kalamis Marina and on the European side Atakoy
Marina. OO
Bebek, Kuruçesme, Ataköy, Istinye, Fenerbahçe, Anatolian or
Rumelian Castle Bay are all good for beaches. CB
Is there any produce made locally
you would recommend, and where
can you buy it?
You must eat kebab (or kebap), traditional food and
Turkish coffee. Also, buy Turkish rakı and Turkish
delight. ET
Carpets and jewellery are the major tourist
attractions; clothing is also quite cheap. You can
try the big malls for clothing: Akmerkez
(www.akmerkez.com.tr), Istinye Park
(www.istinyepark.com) and Kanyon (www.kanyon.
com.tr). AS
The historical Grand Bazaar has evolved since 1464
as an economic trading centre of its time and today is
Turkey’s largest covered market offering a huge selection
of authentic goods such as Turkish carpets, pottery,
jewellery, leather etc. It is truly a unique experience with
4,400 shops, 3,000 companies, some 17 hans (separate
inns for specifi c types of product), 64 streets, 25,000
employees, four fountains, two mosques and 22 gates. It
is heaven for shoppers and a good opportunity for people
to discover Turkish hospitality. OO
Rugs and carpets, turkish delight, baklava, turkish
coffee and coffee cups, porcelain, gold and leather
products [are all good]. Grand Bazaar is the place to
buy these products. CB
Grand Bazaar
What is the most popular place for people to go for
nightlife, both for owners and crew?
For owners and crew wining and dining try Vogue (+90 212 227 4404), Su Ada
(+90 212 263 7300), Ulus 29 (+90 212 358 2929) and 360 Istanbul (+90 212 251
1042). For clubs try Crystal (+90 212 229 7152) and supperclub (+90 212 261
1988). ET
The nightlife of Istanbul is famous for its large outside clubs, bars and
noted restaurants. It is an experience that should not be missed. Al Jamal
restaurant and nightclub (+90 212 231 0356) has become a favourite with
its delicious food, incredible interior design and colourful belly dancing
performances. Other world-renowned options are Anjelique (+90 212 327
2844) and Reina (+90 212 259 5919). OO
The most popular place for people to go for nightlife is Sortie (+90 212
327 8585) in Kuruçesme, under Bosphorus Bridge. GC
the crew report
Images courtesy of Turkey Tourism

We have contributed to the issue by referring places we liked to Juliet Benning of Deputy Editor, The Crew Report. For the article please refer to www.yotcru.com.