Istanbul day 2: Visiting Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar


Topkapi Palace The weather hadn’t improved much as we set out – 5°C and wet again. We headed to the Kapali Çarşi or Grand Bazaar and as the world’s largest undercover market, we hoped it would provide some cover. 

With 66 streets and over 4,000 shops, it’s a maze of colourful and entertaining shopkeepers all desperate to attract your attention and secure the first sale of the day. I loved it and if I hadn’t been filming I’m sure I could have bought every carpet and gold bracelet on display!

After this we had an appointment in Topkapi Palace (left) that overseas the city. It was closed but with a wave of our magic QVC pass again (and a lot of great organisation from Sila, our Turkish guide) we were welcomed into an unusually quiet tourist hotspot. 

Topkapi was the palace headquarters for the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over three continents for more A Kasikci diamond than six centuries. The architecture, artwork and jewellery were amazing. The high spot for me was the Kaşikçi Diamond (right), which was found on a rubbish dump by a street peddler. It turned out to be a huge diamond, which when cut is 86 carats! 

Something that was very amusing was the crowd of helpers we gathered when we had trouble getting American plugs connected to the Turkish electricity.  A typically practical solution was found using a penknife and tape!  Topkapi is a must and another place I hadn’t explored during my last two visits so it made the day very special. 

We were running late so we didn’t have time for lunch despite the tempting offer of cups of sweet corn – a local delicacy!

We then high tailed it as fast as we could to the Ortaköy district before the rush hour and watched the fishermen catch little fish whilst people began to gather for their evening’s socialising.  It’s a beautiful setting in the shadow of the Bosphorus bridge with the Ortaköy Camii (or Mosque) providing the central landmark. 

Tomorrow we leave early to travel down to Ephesus and visit the ancient temple of Artemis. Another first for me so I’m very excited!

Simon x

P.S. Here are a few more photos for you to enjoy…

Simon Biagi enjoying tea in Ortakoy

I'm writing this at about teatime here and so I feel it's only proper to behave like the locals – cheers!

The team in TopkapiMe and the team in Topkapi


Simon Biagi in front of a corn snack kiosk A top corn snack kiosk

People trying to sort out the Turkish electricity
Trouble with the Turkish electric

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