Monday, February 18, 2013


It was raining and cold when I arrived in Istanbul. However, we wasted no time and the first place to go was the Sultanahmet Square. Istanbul is generally divided into two parts: the new Istanbul and Sultanahmet is the old city. The Square is the centre of all the tourists' attractions such as the Blue Mosque, Alya Sofea, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern. Sulatanahmet Square is also known as Istanbul (or Constantinople) Hippodrome as it was used for horse-racing activities many centuries ago.

Tourists were swarming this area. People just simply walked here and there and the flow was endless. My friend and I were lucky indeed as we had the opportunity to have the whole place just to ourselves when we hang out here right after performing our Subuh prayers when there were only a few people around, just observing the surroundings. And I am missing that moment already.

Other than the historical buildings situated at this place, we saw many interesting local food and drinks being sold at this place. There were many stalls and vendors but they sold almost the same things that might not be found in Malaysia.

This might be thick sugar for candy that would be spun and coated around a stick. No, not for me, the colours were scaring me.

Chestnuts (BM: buah berangan) and corns could be found everywhere.

Just chestnuts. The nuts were sold by weighing them.

Sahlep - a drink that tasted like Horlicks with extra milk and cereal and a sprinkle of cinnamon powder. It warmed my tummy in that cold environment.

Big hard bread that could be something like pretzel. It was amazing how people could just eat it just like that. I guess it would be softer and taste better if it was sold fresh from the oven.

Fresh orange and pomegranate (BM: buah delima) juices, and no sugar added. Must be very rich in vitamins.

A woman making bread in a restaurant.

The houses in Sultanahmet

It got dark earlier in winter, as early as 5:30 p.m. By Maghrib time, which should be dusk, we had figured our way around Sultanahmet so we could easily continue exploring the next day.