What Is the Istanbul Museum Pass, and Should I Get One?

Picture of the Museum Pass Istanbul.

Is the Museum Pass Istanbul something I should apply for? I get this question a lot from people planning to visit the Turkish metropolitan. Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this question. It all depends on what you plan to visit and/or whether you mind standing (for a long time) in a queue or not. So let me explain what the Istanbul Museum Pass is, … [Read more...]

Turkish Customs and Etiquette

Kids kissing outside.

Istanbul is a modern world city, like so many others. What makes it unique (except the vast amount of historical sightseeing spots) is the mix of Oriental and Western influences. Add a predominantly Muslim population to the mix, and you're all set to experience a variety of cultural differences. So, to make most of your stay -- and to prevent being rude or a fool -- familiarize … [Read more...]

Mosque Structure and What to Look for Inside the Mosque

Picture of the interior of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

When you visit Istanbul it is inevitable that you will hear the call for prayer five times a day. The minarets of the mosques all around the city are equipped with loudspeakers to invite and remind the community that it's time for prayer. During your stay you are also most likely to visit one or more mosques such as the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii) or my personal favorite, … [Read more...]

What (Not) to Do In a Mosque

Picture of the Blue Mosque by night in Istanbul, Turkey.

Visiting a mosque should be on your Istanbul sightseeing list. Muslims must follow certain rules inside the mosques. But even as a non-Muslim, you are expected to respect some rules during your visit. Here is an overview of the mosque etiquette. Closed During Prayer Time During the prayer hours/periods you are not allowed to be inside the mosque. But in between two … [Read more...]

Sugar Feast or Şeker Bayramı – the End of Ramadan

Picking candy to celebrate the end of Ramadan during the Sugar Feast in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Sugar Feast (Şeker Bayramı or Eid ul-Fitr) is the three day festival following Ramadan. Eid ul-Fitr is the Arabic name of this religious holiday. Eid meaning "festivity" and Fitr meaning "original nature." It refers to the restoration of one's best human composition and the celebration of the end of the thirty days of fasting during Ramadan. Bayram is the term used … [Read more...]