Barın Han: We couldn’t wander through history and miss the art. Barın Han, which takes part in the Biennial, is on the right end of the streets that lead to the sea. Barın Han has served as Prof. Dr. Emin Barın’s studio and bookbindery for many years. Since 2019, it is one of those rare places where you can see independent art collectives and artists.
Yahya Kemal Museum: If there are no visitors, they usually keep the door closed. But tour guides can open the museum for you upon request. They don't tell you anything without you asking, so we say, ask anything you can think of and learn as much as you can. Unfortunately, sometimes asking is not enough. For example, we still haven't found out why the Yahya Kemal Museum is located in the Istanbul Conquest Society (İstanbul Fetih Cemiyeti), but the manuscripts and drawings inside stole our hearts.
Yahya Kemal Museum
Press Media Museum: When you look at the green board at the entrance, you can find everything you need to know: they only accept 5 people at a time, there are numbers for those who want to have a solo or group exhibition in the art gallery on the second floor of the building, the rules of the museum, and much more. But perhaps the most eye-catching of all is a small notice on the top left of the board. Sindi, the lady of the museum, is gone. For twelve years, Sindi has been the apple of the museum staff's eye, and the corner dedicated to her makes you feel at home as soon as you see it.
Şerefiye Sarnıcı Square: Don’t be surprised if you ever feel like you’re visiting one of the signature squares in Europe when you’re at Şerefiye Sarnıcı. Grab a book and coffee from Istanbul Kitapçısı and sit on the stairs, and chit-chat with your friends.
Restaurants and cafés
Dehliz: On the ground floor of the 450-year-old Vezir Han. Sevan salad and döner, which are their own recipes, are the most preferred ones. For vegetarians, a daily changing plate of olive oil dishes comes with rice in the middle. We could swear that the view you see when you descend the stairs makes you hungry, but we can't prove it.
Downstairs of 450 year old Vezir Han
Çemberlitaş Börekçisi: Its cheesecake is our favourite. You can have it when you go to work, or you’re on your way back home, or you’re on your lunch break. It’s always warm and melts in your mouth.
Bena Ice Cream Shop: It’s good to be prepared for a long queue between 13:00-17:00. We went around eleven in the morning and we were spoiled by the choices and the smiling ice cream artists. Strawberry and caramel are our favourites. We already have a plan to get their Cypriot desserts in the winter.
Strawberry and caramel ice cream from Bena
Şeyhmuz Kebap: Famous for being trustworthy. Between 12:00-14:00 you may not find a seat, how about an afternoon rest? And don't be too late because they close at 18:00.
Gedik Paşa Pilavcısı: Pilaf is served from the glass cart in front of the shop. You can either order chickpea-pilaf, chicken-pilaf, or all three, and a glass of ayran goes well with them.
Dayday Patisserie: We say ‘donuts’ and nothing else.
Peyk Away: Imagine you start your day walking in Peykhane with your coffee. Let the dogs accompany you, they don’t bite.
Çiğdem Patisserie: In the mornings, it tempts you with baked goods, and in the afternoons with chocolate ponçiks, strawberry tartlets, and croissants.
Aslan Lokantası: An artisan restaurant serving those working in the Grand Bazaar, Sultanahmet, and Çemberlitaş since 1986. Spinach soup and stuffed leaves are among the favourites.
Streets and avenues
Kürkçüler Pazarı Street: A twinkling street to lose yourself in. Silver shops left and right, front and back. You're as enthusiastic as we are, aren't you? Unfortunately, this time we have to save that enthusiasm for another street because the products here are reserved for retail only. Still, that doesn't stop us from trying to persuade them with sweet talk. We've already got our eye on something and we're going to try it out.
"The tray carries"
Kafesli Çadır Street: If you need fabric, and if you are one of those who cannot choose one without touching it, we are waiting for you on this colourful street.
Gedik Paşa Avenue: The street is full of different shoe stores. If you can’t find what you are looking for here, we don't know where you can find it.
Gedik Paşa Ekmek AKA bakery: Thanks to the huge windows, you can see inside as it is, every second of the day. Next to the ‘warm bread’ sign, there are warm, smiling staff, crunchy simit, and soft pitas. Our favourite is the milk chocolate açma that they shape themselves, 1 of them can feed at least 2 people.
The Turkish bagel shop AKA Simitçi
Okumuş Kırtasiye AKA stationary: As soon as you step in, you are greeted by the calm and smiling demeanour of the third-generation owner of the family business, Hakan. Since there are more offices, bureaus, and workshops than schools in the neighbourhood, the content is organised accordingly. Chargers, the most essential need for the employees, are a must-have in the store.
Zımba Dünyası AKA stationary: If you want to make your own bag or wallet, and learn how to do it, this is the right address. Third-generationer Cenk is waiting for you at the entrance with bare feet and a smiling face.
Devrim Kitapçılık ve Kırtasiye AKA stationary: Many ‘vintage’ products such as staplers, tipp-ex, hole punches, pencils, carbon paper can be found here. It is like a stationary museum.
Column of Constantine: Water in blue basins and bread scattered around. A gift from the neighbourhood for the pigeons that have made the column their nest. We bought stale bread from the shopkeepers across the street and watched them approach us, and trust us. We also decided to make a wish when the first bird we fed flew away.
Column of Constantine
Gedikpaşa Armenian Protestant Church: On the right side of Gedikpaşa Street, which leads to the sea, is a magnificent building dominated by yellow and orange colours, which is currently being restored but will be open to all of us in a day or two. Turkish prayers take place at 11:00, Armenian prayers at 15:00, Persian prayers at 17:00. At the entrance is Recep, who is very happy to answer questions. "Nowadays nobody asks questions, nobody is curious about anything, those who come in leave as they are, I want to meet those who want to learn, then I never feel like shutting up." While solving his puzzle, he may suddenly talk about history, the neighbourhood, humanity, conscience, and make you question yourself.
Gedikpaşa Armenian Protestant Church
Çemberlitaş Hamamı: While exploring the building, which has been around since 1554, we went for an Indian head massage. Within half an hour, all our tense muscles relaxed, and our headache was gone. Now we could continue on our way, ready for Istanbul traffic and new stress factors.
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