Monday, January 27, 2014

Traipsing in Turkey Part - 3, Istanbul Tales: The Second Part.....

The Bosporus, Maiden's Tower, Ferry And Asia From Our Balcony
The 'Whirling Derveshis'
In the last episode, the ladies had finished shopping for the day and in the evening we had gone out to view a Turkish dance performance featuring traditional 'Whirling Dervishes', performed by dancers Mevlevi Order, a Sufi sect of Islam founded in Konya, Anatolia by the followers of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, and theologian. They are also known as the Whirling Dervishes due to their famous practice of whirling as a form of 'Dhikr'- Remembering God .

Dervishes-Galata Mevlevihanesi
This dance is an experience not to be missed. With arms raised to God, the dancers revolve together, white skirts flared in a spiritual and ritualistic celebration of existence and liberation. A master (Sheik) leads the dancers and choreographs the moves.
Stylised Performance
Clad in white gowns with full skirts, black cloaks and long brown felt caps that symbolise death, the grave and the tombstone respectively, the dancers begin by praying to the cadence of drums and flutes. The dervishes then bow to each other before kneeling and reciting a short prayer, and finally remove their cloaks to represent the liberation from worldly attachments.
More Whirling Dervishes at another venue

The dervishes, who represent the moon, spin around the Sheik (Master) who symbolizes the sun. With arms raised, they spin in a breathtaking display. The dancing is in four sets, with brief prayer interludes. The ritual concludes with a recitation from the Koran and a prayer by the Sheik. In 2005, UNESCO proclaimed the "The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony" of Turkey as amongst the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Turkish Folk Dancing Troupe
The best and most popular places offering whirling dervish shows in Istanbul, include the Hodjapasha Culture Center, converted from a 550 year old Turkish bath; at Sirkeci train station; Dances of Colour; and at the Galata Mevlevihanesi monastery at the end of Istiklal street at Tünel. 
There are many Bosphorus dinner Cruises that offer a medley of Turkish dances which include performances by Whirling Dervishes as well as Belly Dancers, these, however, are not the real article.
Selimiye Mosque, Edirne

The next morning, we took a day tour to Edirne, the old capital of the Ottoman Empire. It's about two hours by car and was highly recommended.

The main attraction is the Selimiye Mosque, built in 1575 by Selim II and designed by Turkey's greatest master architect, Mimar Sinan. Considered his masterpiece, the Selimiye has the highest minarets in Turkey, and at 70.9 meters and a cupola four feet higher than that of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. 

Minber-Selimiye Mosque, Edirne

This mosque's Mizrab showcases Turkish marble work and it's domes are covered with intricate tiles and frescoes. The stained glass windows land it great ambiance.

Dome - Selimiye Mosque

The Trakya University's Bayezid II Külliye Health Museum, is an important monument, being one of the earliest mental hospitals in the world and showcases many facilities used in those times.

Some other monuments that we visited and which the 
tourist could cover are the Old Jewish Synagogue and the Old Ottoman Stone Bridge over the Meric River. 
Ottoman Stone Bridge, Meric River, Edirne

The Bazaars in Edirne are less crowded and offer better bargains then those at Istanbul.

Old Synagogue, Edirne

That evening we visited the Kervansaray Restaurant to relax over a few drinks and watch 'Traditional' Belly Dances. The dancers were amazing and sensuous, some of them were very pretty too.

'Traditional' Belly Dancer
Other patrons did tell us, however, that these days many of the dancers are from the erstwhile Soviet States, especially Ukraine.
Kervansaray Restaurant
It was an expensive evening and while the dancers were nice, the food was just about passable. 
Belly Dancer

The next morning, we took the ferry to the Asian side and then on to the Princess Islands. These pretty Islands offer a good peaceful contrast to the hustle and bustle of Istanbul. 

These are great for nice views of the Bosporus and for fresh sea food. As vehicles are not allowed on any of them, they offer nice walks in unpolluted surroundings. 
Mussel Fisherman

The ferry terminates at Anadolu Kavagi, a pretty fishing harbour, famous for it's mussels.

Harbour at Anadolu Kavagi

The ferry ride is an exceptionally good and reasonable way to see beautiful buildings along the coastline, specially on the European side. 

Bosphorus Ferries

The views are gorgeous and offer great photo opportunities. You can also see fishing boats laying out their nets in the crowded waters.
Mosque and Fishing Boat - Bosphorous Ferry

The Princess Islands offer good seafood restaurants. 
These while not cheap, offer excellent fresh seafood dishes and are worth the splurge.
View From Ferry

Avoid the unreasonably priced wines though. 

Fresh Grilled Fish 

If you have to have a drink, beer is reasonable and of course, Turkish coffee is always excellent, strong and good value.

That evening, we walked along Istiklal avenue, window shopping, and then on to the Spice Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar

Strolling on Istiklal Ave

This covered market is smaller than the Grand Bazaar and offers a greater variety of household goods and items of daily life. It, therefore, is more patronised by local Istanbul residents and less by tourists; that, does not mean that it offers a lesser range of goods. 
Egyptian Bazzar -Tall Claims, Hard to Prove

If anything, some claims are positively hyperbolic!.  
Spices - Egyptian Bazaar

The ladies, the author's sister Kavita especially; did not allow anything to get in the way of their shopping for spices, handicrafts and artefacts, as it offered better prices. Luckily, the nephew, Akshay, was around to act as a pack horse. 

Galata  Tower, Istanbul

We went on to the Galata Tower to watch the sunset. This medieval tower is on a low hill. As it is another 67 meters tall. The 52 meter high observation deck offers great views of the Golden Horn and other suburbs of Istanbul. 
Galata Tower from it's Base

We enjoyed nice views of the setting sun and the city while having a cup of coffee at the cafe on the observation deck. One can recommend this option.

Other forms of entertainment in Istanbul include visits to local cafes called Meyhane, which are a good bet for local food and good music, with the added advantage of getting to meet up and mix with local residents, who seem to be a convivial lot.

Impromptu Dance
Evening View from Galata Tower

Meyhanes offer a wide variety of colourful and 
delicious meze, traditional Turkish appetizers, accompanied by cold beer, wine or tall glasses of raki, a strong, clear, aniseed flavoured liquor distilled from grapes, which turns milky when water is added. 
Mezze Varieties at High End Meyhanes

You can just make a meal of meze without ordering any main courses and just pay for drinks and appetizers. 
Meyhane - Musicians
It's an enjoyable and reasonable way to spend an evening, for balancing out an expensive evening out, in a high end nightclub, the previous day.

A Turkish Feast for us All

Of course, the nephew and the author himself did not let the opportunity to eat Turkish food go by and indulged in an orgy of drinking and dining.

Our final day in Istanbul was again partly reserved for sightseeing, with the Dolmabahce Palace being first on the itinerary. 

State Room, Dolmabahce Palace

This palace was the last seat of the Ottoman Sultans. 
Dolmabahce Palace Exterior

It's a happy amalgam of many architectural styles and has influences from the Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Classic and Islamic schools of thought. The public rooms are ornate and beautifully done up. 

Blue Tiled Minber
The Rüstem Pasha Mosque was the next inline. Located in Eminonu, the old walled city of Constantinople. It was designed by Mimar Sinan for Grand Vizier Damat Rüstem Pasha. As the Vizier could not build his house of worship to be bigger than that by the Sultan; Rustem Pasha settled for quality over size. 
Evening View, Rustem Pasha Mosque

This mosque is the most exquisite in Istanbul, and has lovely proportions. It’s main claim to fame is an intricate and lavish use and a network of gorgeous, geometric-designed tile-work featuring predominantly Blue, but also some Red, Iznik Tiles; even on its exterior.

Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul
Our last mosque for the day was the Süleymaniye Mosque. Completed in 1558 on the order of Süleyman the Magnificent, it is another of Mimar Sinan's masterpieces. It is the largest mosque in Istanbul. Suleyman's attempt was to surpass the Hagia Sophia in size and magnificence. Sinan experimented with blue tiles before settling on predominantly red tiles for its domes. 
Dome and  Windows, Suleymaniye Mosque

It has four minarets, signifying that it was built by a Sultan. 

The main dome is 53 meters high and has a diameter of 27.5 meters. When built, the dome was the highest in the Ottoman Empire, but still lower from its base and smaller in diameter than the dome of Hagia Sophia.

Tomb of Architect Mimar Sinan 
Suleymaniye Dome 
The interior of the Suleymaniye Mosque is almost a square, measuring 59 meters by 58 meters. Architecturally it is remarkable for Sinan's innovation of masking the huge north-south buttresses needed to support the central piers, by incorporating them into walls and colonnaded galleries.
The triangular tomb of it's architect Mimar Sinan, who designed most of Turkey's famous Ottoman monuments; lies just outside, to the north of the mosque walls.

Chora Church

We then visited the Chora Church, one of the best surviving examples of a Byzantine Church. Now a museum, this 5th century church has excellent mosaics and frescos. 
Mosaics on the Dome, Chora 

The mosaics are considered amongst the finest examples of the Palaeologan Renaissance. It's six domes are all beautifully decorated. Like most Byzantine Churches in Turkey, Chora has made the journey from a church to an Ottoman mosque and then to a modern museum. 
Theodosius II's Fort and Walls

The Church is located near Old Constantinople's formidable land walls built by Theodosius II around 413–414. These walls are worth a look as they are an easy stroll from the Church.

St. Stephen Bulgarian Church, Istanbul
There are many restored Ottoman wooden houses in the vicinity, these are painted in pastel colours, set in lovely streets.

Old Wooden Houses

The ornate St. Stephen Bulgarian Church, also called the Iron Church, is just a few minutes walk away. It's well worth the stroll to go and view the church's exterior.


Ali Baba - No 40 thieves around

The afternoon and evening were devoted to shopping by the ladies, who wanted to make up time lost to sightseeing. The Bazaars in Istanbul, like most Bazaars in the East, often give the shopper the impression of walking into a veritable Ali Baba's Cave. Such is the variety, colour and energy.

Turkish Handmade Carpet Shop, Istanbul

Istanbul offers much to the inveterate shopper. 

Particularly good buys are Handmade Turkish Carpets. These while not cheap, are lovely and the better ones would become family heirlooms. While Anatolia offers better prices, Istanbul has many excellent shops and vendors, though the prices tend to be higher. 
Instant Antique Carpets
Carpets Grand Bazaar - Pile High, Sell Cheap

If possible, get a local resident, who knows carpets, to take you to a trusted vendor. Like anywhere in the world, tourists are fair game to unscrupulous vendors. 
A common scam is to artificially age carpets by leaving them out in traffic, for people to walk upon, to deliberately age them and then offer these as antiques.

Gurmeet and Kavita shopping for Pottery
Turkish Pottery is excellent and potters routinely offer exquisite designs and shapes. The tradition of patterned tile making, so visible in Ottoman buildings, is carried forward to this day. 
Turkish Potter
Good examples though, tend to be pricey. 
Cheaper souvenirs can be bought anywhere in the Grand or Spice Bazaars. A good choice are the Blue Pottery 'Nazars', charms to ward off the 'Evil Eye'. 
'Nazars' to avoid 'Evil Eyes'
These come in many shapes and sizes and make good gifts. Beautifully coloured and patterned bowls are also a good buy, as are wall plates. 
Grand Bazaar - Shop Away
Pack these purchases carefully, as mishandling can cause some breakages, as Gurmeet discovered to her cost on her return to Delhi.
Handicrafts and Metalwork, Istanbul

Metal-work and Lamps - another good buy.
Lamps and Carpets

Remember, that metal work is heavy and baggage allowances limited. Indians, anyway, can get better quality metal-ware right at home.
Hookahs or Water Pipes
In fact, many shops in Grand Bazaar import items from India.
Colourful lamps, however, are a good buy. Decorated 'Hookahs', water pipes or 'Nargile', as they are called in Turkish, are another import from India that make elaborately coloured decoration pieces.
Kavita Buying Spices and Tea

Turkish Spices and Sweets - In the author's opinion, Turkish Spice Mixes are the best things to take home. A little goes a long way and these add a fillip to the turkish dishes you cook up. 

Candied Fruit and Turkish Sweets

Nut, Gelatin and Fruit based Turkish sweets and Candied Fruit are available in great variety. These one an take or leave. Fruit and Spices infused Teas are another favourite with tourists.


Turkish Restaurant Kitchen
One of the joys of visiting Turkey is its delicious and varied cuisine. Istanbul arguably showcases the best of Turkish cooking traditions. It's culinary heritage shaped by diverse influences, ranging from the Ottoman court to the many cultures and ethnic groups that over the years have called the city home.
Budget Turkish Restaurant Kitchen

Istanbul offers the traveler a variety of food, simple or sophisticated, reasonable or expensive; to suit every type of palate. Its proximity to both the fertile Anatolian heartland and to the Aegean and Black Seas endows Istanbul cuisine with the best of seafood as well as heartier fare from interior provinces.

As in any major city, the food markets, especially the fishing harbour and grocery markets in Istanbul are worth visiting. 

Fresh Fish Wet Market, Istanbul

Artistic Fish Shop

Some of the fish shops arrange their wares very artistically.
It is possible to pick up choice items of the days catch right at the dock side and either cook them at your apartment or get one of the many sea side fish restaurants to prepare them for you, within minutes of being harvested from the sea.  
Fresh Steamed  Mussels

Mussels are harvested all along the Black Sea coast and steamed, stuffed mussels, sold as street food, are delicious.

There are far too many excellent dishes that a gourmet or gourmand may enjoy. 

Our Big Meals, Meze, Kebabs, Curries, Beer
Needless to say, that over their stay, the author and his nephew made a determined effort to sample as wide a variety as possible, in spite of Gurmeet's frowns; eating and drinking their way through gargantuan meals, to the detriment of their waistlines and not to speak of wallets.

The author wishes to express his thanks to the many restaurateurs and street food vendors, who cheerfully described and offered their food  and dishes for photography. 
Cooking Classes Anyone?

There is great variety in street food and there are restaurants that cater to all tastes and price points. Turkish cuisine is so good and varied, that for those time and  inclination, a half or full day Turkish cooking class would be a good investment. Some mouthwatering dishes that a foodie should not miss during a visit to Istanbul are.....


A Simit Baker in Istanbul

Simit is one of Istanbul's defining snacks. The ring-shaped bread is crisp and crunchy, topped with toasted sesame seeds. Simit is one of Turks' most beloved street food snacks, it tastes great accompanied by a glass of traditional Turkish tea. 
Turkish Tea
Classic Simit is sold everywhere by street vendors and at bakeries, and comes in various sizes. Recent innovations include serving assorted variations, like Simit sandwiches and bread pockets stuffed with cheese or other fillings.


A Meze Platter - Eat What You Want

Every visitor to Istanbul must visit a meyhane, or taverna, to sample meze. These tapas-style small plates, offered both warm and cold, in many seasonal varieties, are a product of the city's cultural melting pot.

Fresh Meze Serving
Traditionally, it was the city's non-Muslim minorities Greeks, Armenians, and Jews who dined on meze as they imbibed. Among the most popular meze are those made with the ubiquitous eggplant, which is served fried, smoked, stuffed, and just about every other way it can be cooked. Yoghurt and olive oil, too, are commonly used as sauces or components of meze.

Bonito Balik Pinaki
Balık Pilâki
Oven baked or grilled blue fish, bonito or bass with tomatoes, peppers, herbs, celery, olives, capers, potatoes and sometimes white Fava beans, cooked in olive oil. Light and Delicious.

Hunkar Begendi
Hunkar Begendi
Combining meat and the Turkey's favorite vegetable, eggplant, Hunkar Begendi evolved in Ottoman palace kitchens; it literally means "his majesty liked it." Pieces of lamb or chicken are cooked in a rich tomato and butter gravy and are served over a bed of creamy, pureed eggplant. Well made Hunkar Begendi just melts in the mouth. Full of Calories but Delicious.


Fresh, Fried Hamsi
Turkish anchovies called Hamsi, caught along the country's Black Sea coast, are the most popular seafood in season. These are enjoyed on their own, grilled or dusted with corn flour and fried. Hamsi are also used in Black Sea-style cornbread, pilaf, and other side dishes.

Mutancana Lamb Stew with Figs and Almonds

Mutancna Lamb Stew

A hearty dish of lightly spiced, diced lamb with apricots, raisins, figs, honey and almonds baked slowly in an earthenware casserole. Another dish from Ottoman kitchens

Iskender Kebab 

Iskender Kebab

A famous meat dish from northwestern Turkey, it's widely available in Istanbul. It is prepared from wide, thinly cut grilled lamb basted with hot tomato sauce and generously slathered with melted sheep tail fat, butter and yogurt. Many restaurants pour tomato sauce and boiling butter over the dish, at the table. It is best had with plain Pide bread. A Coronary on a plate, but what a way to die!.

Köfte Kebab

A  Variety of Kofte
Köfte or şiş köfte, meaning mashed meat, comprises of minced lamb meatballs with herbs, like parsley and mint, shaped on a skewer and char grilled. Popular in Iran and Turkey, there are many versions such as Islamia Köfte, çiğ köfte, and kadınbudu köfte. 
These are usually served with plain rice and a salad, or eaten wrapped in Pide bread.


Doner Kebab Vendor

It is a dish of flattened pieces of meat, seasoned with suet,  herbs and spices, skewered on a spit and grilled vertically. Cut into very thin slices and wrapped in thin Turkish bread with salad and relishes. It is the ultimate street food, a meal by itself.

Çağ Kebab

Cag Kebab
It is the forerunner of Doner, from north-east Turkey. Sliced lamb meat and tail fat are marinated in onion, yogurt, salt and pepper, impaled on a vertical spit (Çağ) and charcoal grilled. Thin pieces are cut like döner and served on special small skewers with grilled pepper, tomato and onions.

Şish Kebab 

Grilling Sish Kebabs

Cubes of either lamb, beef or chicken, marinated in onion, yogurt, salt, pepper, olive oil and sometimes tomato paste; charcoal grilled on skewers, sometimes with cubes of pepper and tomatoes.


peynirli börek 
A flaky pastry, comprising of several thin layers, baked  or fried and often with a filling. Varieties are ispanakli börek (with spinach filling), peynirli börek -with cheese; kiymali börek - minced meat filling; and patatesli börek-with potatoes.


Sucuklu Pide
All kebabs and most Turkish dishes go very well with pide. It is a slightly leavened, flat pizza like bread that is served free in most Turkish restaurants. 
Hot, Plain Pide
It comes in different styles, either plain as an accompaniment with dishes, or on its own with fillings and toppings, like Kaşarlı Pide - melted cheese and Sucuklu Pide - melted cheese and spicy beef sausage being the most popular.


A rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey and flavoured with rosewater. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire. It can be found at confectioners all over Istanbul.

Turkish Delight or Lokum

Turkish Delight and Candy

range and family of confections based on a gel of starch and sugar. Premium varieties consist largely of chopped dates, pistachios, and hazelnuts or walnuts bound by the gel; traditional varieties are mostly gel, generally flavored with rosewater, mastic, Bergamot orange, or lemon. Cut into small cubes dusted with icing sugar, copra, or powdered cream of tartar, to prevent clinging.

A Plate of Pistachio Halva
Sweet confections, served across Turkey. The term halva meaning "desserts" or "sweet", is used to describe two types of desserts:
  • Flour-based
  • Nut-butter-based 
Halva can also be based on numerous other ingredients, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, various nuts, beans, lentils, and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, yams and squashes.

Tavuk Gogsu

Tavuk Gogshu
Turkey's most unusual sweet, it means "chicken breast," but the name is not a metaphor. Unusually for a dessert, this famous milk pudding actually contains boiled, finely shredded chicken breast as a thickening agent. The thick, gooey treat—which tastes much better than it sounds and looks; is served plain or with a dusting of cinnamon on top.


A Glass of Raki
Turkey's national drink, Raki is an unsweetened, anise-flavored distilled alcoholic drink, that is popular as an apéritif. It is often served with seafood or Turkish meze as well as at a rakı sofrası ("raki table"), either before a full dinner, or instead of it. I. The term is also used for a wide variety of non-anise-flavored brandies made from distilled pomace, which are popular in the Balkans and Southern Europe.
Along with Beer, Raki is the most affordable alcoholic beverage in Turkey. 

Raki with Breakfast for 'Strong Men'
Raki is traditionally consumed either straight, or partly mixed with chilled water, or over Ice cubes. Dilution  causes raki to turn a milky-white color. This phenomenon has resulted in the drink being popularly referred to aslan sütü ("lion's milk"). As aslan ("lion") is a Turkish metaphor for a strong, courageous man, this gives the term a meaning close to "the milk for the strong." 
The young nephew was a 'strong man' and could even consume Raki with Breakfast. 
The Author's days of wallowing with the pigs at night and soaring with the eagles in the morning, were long past, so he denied himself this questionable treat. Even otherwise, one preferred Beer to Raki.

On our last night in Istanbul we went to a nice Turkish Restaurant on Nevizade, just off Istiklal Avenue. This bustling pedestrian street is full of a variety of Restaurants, catering to local residents as well as tourists.
'Last'  night in Istanbul

All bags packed, ostensibly leaving Istanbul, we set out for the airport. Turkish airlines, in its own inimitable fashion, summarily bumped off about 30 passengers for Delhi, making no distinction between Business or Economy passengers. We later found out that this was common practice with this airline, as they routinely overbook passengers from longer routes in USA and Europe. Our entreaties had no effect on the airline officials. They did, however, put us up for a night at a decent hotel.

This unexpected stay did have the additional benefit of giving us an extra day in Istanbul. The author promptly took advantage of this time to indulge in an 'Hamam' the traditional Turkish bath, which he had missed out during this stay as he was busy accompanying the ladies on their shopping expeditions. 

The Hamam
The Old Cemberlitas Hamam
This is a tradition in Turkey, going  as far back as 600 AD. Rooted in both Roman and Arab cultures, it mixes elements of Roman and Byzantine thermal baths and combines it with the Central Asian notion of steam rooms and cleansing rituals. 

In Istanbul, it's possible to find centuries-old hamams, which are still in use. These are often elaborately ornamented, domed structures with marble interiors. The author chose one of the most famous, the Çemberlitaş Hamami.

On entering the hamam, you select and pay for the service of your choice. The options are:

  • Self-Service — You bathe yourself and bring your own soap, shampoo and towel. This is the cheapest option. 
  • Traditional —This one to pick if you want the real Turkish bath experience. An attendant will wash and massage you for about 15 minutes, and you don’t have to bring anything. 
  • Other Styles — Several other services, such as aromatherapy, oil massage, reflexology, head massage, and facial masks, etc. are offered. 
Regardless of your choice, you are allowed to use the facilities for as long as you wish. 
The Mens section, Cemberlitas Hamam
One chose the traditional service, was handed a container with a new scrubber, soap and led into the Camekan — a splendid entrance hall with several stories of wooden cubicles. I was asked to remove my clothes and provided with a Pestemal - a silken cloth towel, to be used as a loin cloth.
I was then led into the Caldarium- the hot room or sauna to sweat out impurities. The caldarium was an impressive room, covered in marble and featuring a big ornate dome, several basins and an impressive Göbektaşı — the central, raised platform above the heating source.

Once really warm, I was laid on a hot marble platform and vigorously scrubbed with an exfoliating mitt to get rid of excess skin, before being thoroughly washed down. It was like being rubbed down with sand paper. The Bath attendant proudly showed me the skin he had removed.

The Author being massaged at The  Hamam
The next stage was the massage, where one was covered in foam and given a vigorous full body massage from head to toe, followed by another wash. If truth be told, I am not a great fan of massages, but this was quite relaxing, and the steam and high temperature made one sleepy.

The finale was the Soğukluk - cooling off room, where one could enjoy tea or coffee and a chat with other patrons. It was a motley group of men, some local businessmen, a Turkish architect settled in the US, but visiting Istanbul and a few German tourists on a high end guided tour and of course yours truly. A nice way to spend 2 hours

Istanbul Archaeological Museum Complex 

Bas Relief

Having time on ones hands, I decided to visit the famous museum complex, just off TopKapi Palace. With well over one million objects, it is one of the better ones in the world. The complex is divided into three sections: Archaeological Museum, Museum of the Ancient Orient and the Museum of Islamic Art.

The Alexander Sarcophagus - Istanbul
With the wife not looking over one's shoulder, there was time to view the exhibits and treasures at leisure. 

The museum's major treasures – sarcophagi from the Royal Necropolis of Sidon – are displayed here. There is a beautiful Lycian Sarcophagus made from Paros marble and dating from the end of the 5th century. The famous classical Pentelic marble Alexander Sarcophagus, is so known as it depicts the Macedonian general and his army battling the Persians. Truly exquisite, it dates from the last quarter of the 4th century BC. One side shows the Persians battling with the Greeks. Alexander, on horseback, sports a Nemean Lion's head as a head dress. The other side depicts a lion hunt. There is an impressive collection of ancient  sarcophagi from Syria, Lebanon, Thessaloniki, Ephesus and other parts of Anatolia.
Ephesus Bust

There are six galleries of statues. Look for the Ephesus of Tralles,  and the exquisite head of a child from Pergamum.
The children' museum has a large-scale model of the Trojan Horse, which they can climb into. There is also an impressive gallery showcasing Byzantine artifacts.

Those who have an interest in İstanbul's rich archaeology, shouldn't miss the mezzanine level showcasing 'İstanbul Through the Ages'. Here you can appreciate how much of the ancient city remains covered and how many buried treasures might be out there.

Tiled Kiosk of Sultan Mehmet
The last of the complex's buildings is the lovely Tiled Kiosk of Sultan Mehmet, the Conqueror. The oldest surviving non-religious Turkish building in İstanbul, it was built in 1472 as an outer pavilion of Topkapı Palace and was used for watching sporting events. It houses an impressive collection of tiles and ceramics.
Kiosk Entry Gate

With frantic calls coming in from Gurmeet, one vended one's way back to the hotel and left for the Airport. 
This time Turkish Airlines allotted us our seats and we returned home Delhi with very pleasant memories of Turkey, much uplifted in spirit, with major gains in weight, partly offset by a much lightened pocket book as Turkey is by no means a 'budget' destination. Finances permitting, we did plan to visit again; such is the siren call of the country.
Mosaics and Frescos Detail on the Dome of Chora Church