Istanbul: Cultures and Contrasts

I was trawling through my photo archives recently and have decided to do a few posts about some of the awesome places I have travelled to over the past 5 years.

Istanbul is the capital of Turkey and is definitely one of my favourite cities in the world. It’s a crazy place, very busy, constantly buzzing with people, traffic, boats, noises, an awesome place just to get lost in the crowd and wander. The history and culture here is incredibly rich; it’s the city where Europe and Asia meet and you can see it everywhere. Istanbul is a melting pot in the true sense of the word; Islam and Christianity, orthodox and secular, multicultural, multilingual, there’s a little bit of every part of the world here and this diversity makes it a travel/street photographers dream destination.

The above 2 photos were taken at the Blue Mosque, which is one of the biggest and most famous mosques in Istanbul. Dating back to the early 17th century it was named for the exquisite blue tiles on the walls of its interior.

The Grand Bazaar is probably the most well-known landmark in Istanbul and is an indoor market and labyrinth of small covered streets and corridors where you can buy literally anything imaginable. No, really… anything. Need a puppy, goldfish, g-string, carpet or how about some stinky cheese? You’re guaranteed to find it here, and at a “very good price” too.

Being that the Grand Bazaar is the no. 1 tourist destination within the city there is a much greater chance of being hassled by Turkish salesmen so go in with a thick skin, loads of tolerance and avoid mini skirts and strapless tops unless you’re a hard-core attention seeker.

This is the Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn (a tributary of the Bosphorus Strait) and connect the northern and southern shore of “European” Istanbul. There is a small channel that runs under the middle of the bridge for shipping traffic but all other available space is taken up by the hundreds of local fishermen.

The Basilica Cistern was built sometime between the 3rd and 4th centuries during the Early Roman Age and was originally a commercial, legal and artistic centre. Later, during the reign of the Ottoman Empire, it was converted into an underground water storage system that served the various palaces and royal households through the centuries.


  1. jackkaye

    Your work is amazing! I’m really enjoying going through your photos.

  2. Love this post Kerry. Turkey is one of those places one has to visit in a lifetime. I’ve not yet had the opportunity, hope to visit soon!

  3. How fabulous! I have visited Istanbul, in fact most of the places you have photographed, but I didn’t see them the way you did – thank you for this other perspective!

  4. i love this, looking forward to my trip!

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