Hear about things to do in Istanbul and in Trabzon on the Turkish Black Sea coast as the Amateur Traveler talks to Kimberly from The Art of Living in Turkey about her adopted country of Türkiye.
Kimberley says, “There’s so many different reasons somebody should come to Turkey. I would say the big thing is the crazy amounts of history that people see. It still blows my mind. I learn new things every day. I remember recently going to visit some friends who have a business over in Iznik. I didn’t realize that was Nicaea from ancient times because so many cities have changed their names. Every time I turn around I am surprised by something new.”
Kimberly starts us in Istanbul. We talked about Istanbul relatively recently on the podcast, but some things have changed in the last few years. Kimberley recommends some of the popular spots like the Grand Bazaar (although not, she says, as a place to actually buy things). She recommends a visit to Hagia Sofia, but that historic site, which was the largest building in the world for around 1000 years, has been converted back from a museum to a mosque. You will have less access to the building now than you would have had a couple of years back. There are other mosques that are beautiful like the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) and the Süleymaniye Mosque, but if you only have time to see one, see Hagia Sofia.
There are two palaces in the city, the older Topkapı Palace dates back to shortly after the conquest of the city by the Ottomans in 1453. It is an oriental-style palace. The newer Dolmabahçe Palace was done in a more European style later in the time of Ottoman rule 400 years later.
Kimberly recommends touring the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, a visit to Galata tower around sunset, and a few of the city’s parks. She also recommends visiting the lively neighborhood of Kadıköy on the Asia (east) side of the Bosphorus. It is the neighborhood she calls home.
Then with so many places to choose to go in Turkey, Kimberly directs us more than halfway along the Black Sea coast to the east to the region around the city of Trabzon. Trabzon has its own smaller version of Hagia Sofia which is half mosque and half museum. On the museum side, you can see some of the 13th-century frescos. You can also find Attaturk’s pavilion, the later home of the father of the modern Turkish nation.
You can see some of the original medieval walls of Trabzon known as the “Trabzon Castle”. Visit the small church of St Anne which dates back to the 6th or 7th century.
Outside of the city is the beautiful green Altındere Valley National Park. In the park, the Sumela Monastery clings precariously to a cliff. The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism places the date for the oldest part of the monastery as 386 AD.
Kimberly says that her Turkish friends would be very surprised if you visited the area without visiting the beautiful Uzungöl (Long Lake). This is a region that may remind you more of Switzerland than Turkey.
Although it would not fit into Kimberly’s one-week itinerary for Turkey, she does also recommend the Sinop peninsula further west along the Black Sea coast, almost halfway back to Istanbul.
Kapadocia, Izmir, and Ephesus are all amazing places to see in Turkey, but few visitors come to the east coast of the Black Sea and Trabzon. This region deserves your consideration.
right click here to download (mp3)
The Art of Living in Turkey
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque)
Istanbul Archaeology Museums
Walls of Trabzon
Saint Anne Church, Trabzon
Altındere Valley National Park
Uzungöl (Long Lake)
Hamsiköy Sütlaç Rice Pudding
Sinop Archaeological Museum
The best restaurant in Trabzon area – Review of Hamsikoy Restaurant Cinar Usta, Macka, Turkiye – Tripadvisor
ArchBridgeOverFirtinaDeresi@Rize-Turkey-1 – Rize
Turkish Ravioli – Best Turkish Manti Recipe From Scratch **updated
Kirsten wrote Travel to Edinburgh, Scotland – Episode 834
I just returned from Scotland last week! So much fun! After hiking Arthur’s seat, doing a tour at Holyrood Distillery is an entertaining (and tasty) way to spend an hour.
I found your podcast about 3 years ago. Being the type of person I am, I had to start from the beginning. On Apple Podcasts, the first episode is the one about Disneyland. I was immediately hooked. Between working, raising a teenager, getting married, and being a healthcare worker during the pandemic, I have managed to get to episode 523. This is with taking some breaks to listen to other podcasts, reading, watching TV, and just life in general. I love your varied guests, and your calm, yet witty demeanor. I have used your podcast when I’m going to a certain destination (Savannah, Charleston, Indianapolis) to name a few, and I’m currently listening to everything about the UK and Ireland, due to the fact I have a trip booked in May! This will be my first hop over the Atlantic Ocean, as up until now I have only been able to travel in North and Central America and the Caribbean. I am beyond excited and hope to do much, much more travel in the coming years.
Please take our listener survey