Photoblog: Seeing Istanbul Through A Kaleidoscope

Posted on May 25, 2010 by

Istanbul is a city of superlatives: blinding lights, traffic noises and flashy sights amplify your senses, while the kaleidoscope of colors and aroma hypnotize you into a trance. Spanning across Europe and Asia, the metropolis is power-packed with distinctive cultures and flavors.

Stepping foot on Istanbul for the second stop, I noticed how rapidly it has changed. Within a short time span of 3 years, Istanbul has developed into a city of contradictions. Soaring skyscrapers vs aged shop houses, chic outdoor cafes vs old school teahouses. Here, old meets new and East meets West – I’ll let my photos bring you through the multi-hued streets of Istanbul for a closer look.

tn_IMG_4675 A gorgeous display of white tulips – Turkey’s national flower – contrasting against the grey backdrop of the New Mosque.


Spice Market

tn_IMG_4682 Spices and condiments of every color you can imagine – heaped up into pyramidal piles. I had the constant urge to push one of them and see how the colors would blend.

tn_IMG_4683Rows and rows of rainbow-colored porcelain bowls all intricately hand-crafted and ornamented with jewels. Only fit for royalty.


tn_IMG_4701 Brass and bronze utensils on sale at Spice Market.

Street Food

tn_IMG_4703   A kebab seller sharpens his knives and gets ready to strut his stuff. With two blades on hand, he whips up some outrageous kebab – the most popular street food ever.

tn_IMG_4721 By the Bosphurus banks, I spotted these floating fish kebab stalls, where fresh fish caught from the sea were grilled instantly, sandwiched in a bun and served hot and steamy.

Quintessential Sights

tn_IMG_4525 The Basilica Cistern, masterpiece of the Roman empire, beautifully displays the works of yesteryears. Dim red lights give the underground water bunker a mysterious glow, gently lighting up the columns. In the darkness, you can see the reflection of the columns on the clear water surface.

tn_IMG_4730 The exterior of the Sultanahmet Mosque. The central water fountain is used for the purpose of cleansing your soul before entering the mosque.

tn_IMG_4503   The interior of Sultanahmet Mosque is bewitching – chandeliers hang from the sky-high ceiling while sunlight pours through the colorful stained glass.

tn_IMG_4515 In Hagia Sofia, the influences of both Byzantine and Ottoman empires can be evidently seen. Its dome-shaped ceiling, carved walls and Orthodox paintings represent the Roman Byzantine past while Arabic scripts are symbols of its Muslim present.

tn_IMG_4662 The Bosphourus Bridge connects Europe to Asia – two continents bridged into one. At Ortakoy, rows of sophisticated restaurants compete to see who has the best view and cuisine in town.


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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

35 Responses to “Photoblog: Seeing Istanbul Through A Kaleidoscope”

  1. JoAnna May 24, 2010 9:15 pm #

    I have heard so many amazing things about Turkey. I would really, really like to go someday. I especially love your photos of the porcelain and the lights. The colors we experience on our travels really do help define a place.

  2. Jen L May 24, 2010 9:37 pm #

    I NEED to go to Istanbul now!!! It's really got the best of both worlds – Europe and Asia!

  3. Jaime May 27, 2010 5:34 pm #

    Gorgeous photos! We’ll be in Istanbul in a few days and this got us EXTRA excited about it. Great post!!!


    • admin May 27, 2010 5:39 pm #

      Awww I’m sure u’re gonna love Istanbul, it’s one of my favorite cities in the world. I’m not too much of an urban traveler but Istanbul has so much going on! Have an awesome time u guys. ;)

  4. Lori June 1, 2010 11:38 am #

    Congrats, Nellie, for an interesting post, a photo journey and of course for the images. I've never been to Istanbul – but planing to get there sometime.

    • admin June 2, 2010 12:50 am #

      Thanks Lori, I’m sure you’ll love it when you get there.

  5. Dina June 1, 2010 12:01 pm #

    LOVE Istanbul, and miss it so much! Lovely Istanbul photos :)

  6. Nicole August 19, 2010 2:42 am #

    Cool shots! You've captured Istanbul well. It's such a unique city with its fusion of mid east and europe. The markets are amazing, though we found the merchants didn't barter as much as we expected. I guess we are just too used to the SE Asian markets.

  7. Lilliane/wanderlass August 19, 2010 6:28 am #

    Awesome colors! I want to walk around the market.

  8. Encarna Jurado August 20, 2010 2:52 pm #

    Unas fotos preciosas de Estambul Nellie, tambien las de India. Un beso

  9. Aaron September 27, 2011 4:35 pm #

    Great photos of a great city! Thanks for sharing these great images of Istanbul. I love this place!

  10. Cam October 5, 2011 4:14 am #

    Great photo collection! Istanbul is such a vibrant city – love the donair kebabs and fish sandwiches on the Bosphorus

  11. Jessica Festa December 21, 2012 10:49 am #

    Turkey is on the top of my bucket list and these photos just pushed it even farther to the top :) I especially love the picture of the brass and bronze utensils at the spice market…gorgeous!

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  13. Classifieds April 21, 2013 11:23 am #

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written much better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I’ll send this information to him.
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  14. Susan Moore November 4, 2015 6:54 pm #

    I love Istanbul!!! Can’t wait to go back again. Your photos bring back great memories for me :)


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