Istanbul, Turkey Photography Guide Part 2 - Hidden Landmarks
Written and Photographed by Mike Lindle
Do you have more than a few days to explore Istanbul? Have you already walked along the Hippodrome and seen Istanbul’s old town in Sultan Ahmet? Here are a few off-the-beaten path locations in Istanbul that are sure to inspire your creative direction. Follow along with this 4 part photography guide, outlining some of the best locations across Istanbul and Turkey to photograph and explore. I was lucky to travel through Istanbul/Turkey in 2014 with my first digital camera.
Part 2 - Hidden Landmarks
This medieval Byzantine stone tower in Istanbul is a notable landmark upon the skyline. Once on top, you are greeted with sweeping views of the city. It overlooks the Bosphorus, the mosques, and both the Asian and European side of the city. The tower is located in the Galata/Karaköy quarter of the city. The tower was originally constructed in 1348 in Constantinople to expand the Genoese colony. It kept it’s title as the tallest structure in Istanbul for a long time.
Also known as Leander's Tower since construction in the medieval Byzantine period, this tower is perched on an islet 200m off the coast of Üsküdar in Istanbul. It’s fabled that Alcibiades, the ancient Athenian general, built this custom station for ships arriving from the Black Sea in today’s Üsküdar.
Karaköy Ferry Station
Highly recommened to utilize istanbul’s public transit system which includes street cars, buses, trains, and ferries. The views from this ferry station of the surrounding mosques are surely captivating.
View from Galata Bridge
The views straight off the Bosphorus from Galata bridge offer amazing scenes of the surrounding mosques. Heavily trafficked with local vendors and foot-traffic, this bridge spans the Golden Horn in Istanbul, Turkey.
Golden Horn Metro Bridge (Haliç Metro Bridge)
This bridge joins the Beyoğlu and Fatih districts on the European side of Istanbul. It is located between Galata Bridge and Atatürk Bridge. It spans the Golden Horn and has unique suspension-based architectural features.
Walls of Constantinople
Originally founded as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Constantine the Great, Constantinople was surrounded by a series of defensive stone walls that offered needed protection to the city. Since the ottoman empire conquered Constantinople and claimed the city as instabul in 1453, the walls were largely maintained intact during most of the Ottoman period. However, sections began to crumble and dismantle starting in the 19th century since the city limits began to outgrow it’s original establishing boundaries. Many parts of the walls are still standing today, ready to be explored.
Valens Aqueduct (Valens Su Kemeri)
Translated as “Aqueduct of the Grey Falcon”, this Roman aqueduct was the major water-providing system of the Eastern Roman capital of Constantinople. The construction was completed in the late 4th century AD by the decree of the Roman leader Valens. Used and maintained by the Byzantines and later the Ottomans, in a state of near-disrepair, this is one of the cities most notable forgotten-landmarks.
The real experience is to climb the landmark and walk the whole piece for sweeping views over the Golden Horn and Sulemanie Mosque area.
Instructions to Climb to the Top:
Find the park to the right of the Valens. As you face the Golden horn, turn right after you go through the very right arch, onto a smaller street.
Walk about 100 meters down the street to find a small arch that is standing out from the aqueduct. It is possible to climb a ladder for people in normal physical condition.
Once on top, you can walk to the other end though there’s no way down on the opposite side. The only way back is down the way you came.
On your way down, some local gypsies may ask you for a few Turkish liras as an ‘entrance fee’. They are known to be friendly and also in need. Parting with a few Lira as a scam to avoid confrontation is not a huge issue. The view is worth the journey for sure.
Esenler Otogarı - Istanbul Bus Terminal
The largest Bus Terminal that serves intercity Istanbul. Located in the Bayrampaşa district, this terminal is named after the close-by Esenler district which is a booming working class / residential neighborhood 23 minute-drive northwest from the historic Sultan Ahmet district.
From here, it is possible to book some pretty cheap bus tickets to Cappadocia, Göreme, Selçuk, Pamukkale, Antalya, Bodrum, Ephesus, Izmir, and most other tourism hotspots throughout the country.