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The Best Views in Istanbul

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Two of Istanbul's greatest sights — the Blue Mosque (pictured above) and the Hagia Sofia (pictured below) — are so massive that it's tough to take them in at ground level. But the Sultanahmet area, where both are located, doesn't have much in the way of high rises. The best way to get a good view of these monuments is to go to the rooftop bar/restaurant of the Seven Hills Hotel. It's only on the sixth floor or so, but the views are incredible. Being on a hill, it's one of the tallest structures in the area. Not only can you see the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia (aka the Aya Sofya) and Topkapi Palace, but you can also see the Bosphorous and the other side of the city.

We went to the Seven Hills Hotel bar for a drink tonight, after a delicious dinner at the famous fish restaurant Balikci Sabahattin, which is just a few minutes walk away. We arrived at the bar around 11 PM and it was fairly empty. That was just fine for us as it made it easier to walk around and take pictures.

By the way, those dots you see in the sky aren't from the dirt on my camera lens — it's seagulls. They frantically circle the top of both structures at night. The Blue Mosque is brighter so it gets far more birds. I've rarely seen birds at night — I thought they went to sleep so they could get up early to catch the worm. But these Turkish seagulls never seem to rest.

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3 Responses to The Best Views in Istanbul

  1. jen laceda June 28, 2009 at 9:02 pm #

    Absolutely stunning images of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia. I actually thought those little specks in the sky were stars, not seagulls. Oh, I’m just aching to go to Istanbul. Lucky you!

  2. Amy @ The Q Family June 28, 2009 at 11:50 pm #

    Beautiful shots! I can never get a great night shot like this. I will need to learn a tip from you. :) It’s cool to learn about seagulls. That’s some strange thing indeed.

  3. Barbara @ Hole In The Donut Travels October 13, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    Fascinating fact about the seagulls!

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