Istanbul: the City of Contrasts

This year I have made several interesting journeys but definitely one of the most memorable was my trip to Istanbul. From the moment I arrived I was fascinated by this city with its numerous attractions, melting cultures and passionate people. Istanbul is not the place for quiet and tranquil holidays: life is boiling here day and night. On the crowded shopping streets I felt dizzy from the kaleidoscope of colours, toutings of street vendors and spicy flavours of the East.

We stayed at beautiful Grand Hyatt Hotel which combines in its decor a contemporary western design and some oriental touches. Our room had a view on the Bosphorous Strait; spacious bathroom had a sliding window which you can open and watch TV while enjoying a bath:

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Since our stay in Istanbul was relatively short we decided to make it as complete as possible: to see all main attractions of the city, to try well-known local delicacies and to visit famous Turkish hammam. Naturally, first of all I wanted to visit outstanding palaces of the Turkish Sultans because since long time I have a weakness for oriental themed interiors.

The first places we visited were Hagia Sophia and located close-by Topkapi Palace which was the residence of the Ottoman Sultans until the XIX century. The palace is decorated in oriental style with typical blue and turquoise tiles, golden carvings and Islamic ornaments. Official premises intended for receptions and  negotiations impress with luxury and fineness of decorative details:

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We also have visited the Harem: these were the private apartments of the Sultan’s family and servants which included more than 400 rooms. All  of them were decorated in the same style: walls, covered with blue and turquoise tiles with floral ornaments, painted ceilings and stained-glass windows.

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In the 19th century Ottoman Sultan gave an order to build a new residence for him – Dolmabahce Palace. It became one of the most glamorous and luxury palaces in the world which was aimed to impress foreign guests and show all the wealth and power of the Ottoman Empire. In comparison with previous residence new palace was  decorated mainly using Western styles, such as Baroque and Rococo. Unfortunately we were allowed to take pictures only from outside of the Palace:

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Looking at leisurely walking peacocks in the park I was wondering if Turkish artists were creating their ornaments taking inspiration from the fairy look of these birds.

GET THE LOOK

Today many interior designers draw inspiration from opulent decor of Turkish palaces. This is an example of how the oriental theme can be used in decoration of a modern living room:

Certainly interiors made entirely in Turkish style might seem too bold for everyday life, however, adding some oriental touches to your home will make it look refined and offbeat. You may “get the look” with the following choice of accessories:

1. Anatolia - Konya Kilim from kilim.com, 2. Nasrid Palace Mosaic from Schumacher, 3. Nasrid Mosaic from Schumacher, 4. Brass Frette Stool from Lombok, 5. Turkish cushion from Turkish Towel Store, Turkish style cushion from ZGallerie, Turkish plates on the market in Istanbul, Turkish cup and saucer from and Antep Work Copper Turkish Coffee Cup both from Turkish Towel store,

1. Anatolia – Konya Kilim from kilim.com, 2. Nasrid Palace Mosaic from Schumacher, 3. Nasrid Mosaic from Schumacher, 4. Brass Frette Stool from Lombok, 5. Turkish cushion from Turkish Towel Store, 6. Turkish style cushion from ZGallerie, 7. Turkish plates on the market in Istanbul, 8. Turkish cup and saucer and 9. Antep Work Copper Turkish Coffee Cup both from Turkish Towel store

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