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1001 Faces of Istanbul

... one of those places difficult to define. Some would call it 'capital of the World' or 'capital of the Empire', others 'cradle of cultures' and others 'the worst place to live'; ' hell on earth'.

I've spent more than 1001 days in this city and I still find it difficult to reply to a simple question: 'What is Istanbul like?' Maybe it's because I have been here too long and I've come to realise that there is no simple answer to this question. Istanbul has many faces, many nuances if you will. It is difficult to explain them to a total stranger or a person who has never visited the city. Even though you have visited the city once, you have probably lifted only one veil from its face. If you were born here, this doesn't make you an Istanbul expert neither.

You have to get to know Istanbul slowly, day by day, page by page, neighbourhood by neighbourhood. This is actually very difficult because neighbourhoods are…

Coffee & Co. My favourite places in Istanbul.

Turkish coffee is a famous all over the world, however, çay is probably still the most consumed hot drink in Turkey. We could say that Turks cannot survive a day without drinking tea. It forms an important part of daily rituals and Turkish culture. But the coffee culture has been conquering Istanbul lately. 

 Coffee shops have spread around the city and one must not forget the Istanbul Coffee Festival, which is getting bigger every year.

Here are some of my favourite places for enjoying coffee in Istanbul (Islands included):

(If not written, the photos are taken from my Instagram account - Spelayla)

  • The interior I love in the neighbourhood worth exploring: Aziz Cafe & Restaurant Balat
Fener and especially Balat are two old neighbourhoods which are worth exploring. Lately, many new cafes have opened there and they are definitely worth a try. My favourite so far is Aziz cafe. The cafe is located in old building which was previously a pharmacy and Aziz bey was its owner.

  •  Cosy interior and different table every time. And a pommegrante cake: Türk Alman Kitabevi 

A coffee and a book shop on a busy Istiklal street is located just next to the Swedish Embassy and the Şişhane metro stop. Germany might not be famous for coffee, but this place is definitely worh visiting. It's perfect for working and studying. Besides coffee (and their delicious pommegrante cake), you can also taste some traiditional german products.

  • Swing and the best Red Velvet cake: Fil Karaköy
Karaköy is the place for coffee lovers. Everyone can find his favourite coffee shop here.... This one is my favourite because one should eat something sweet next to the coffee. And if you are lucky, you can also enjoy the swing. Or a good book. (And I love the interior, especially the turquoise details.)

  • Best 'filtre kahve': Kava, Karaköy
This coffe place is not on the famous ''coffee street'' between Karaköy and Tophane, that is why it's usually quite calm. I do recommend you to try their 'filtre kahve'. One of the best I had in Istanbul.


  • Enjoy the sun and calm atmosphere of the islands: Four Letter Word Coffee, Burgazada
Photo credit: Instagram zon_tik
Is there anything better than a combination of sea, sun and tranquility? Well, yes, if you add some good coffee. If you are visiting Burgazada (Princes Islands), than Four Letter Word is a must visit place. Coffee is delicious and I love their coffee cups.

  • Fireplace and a gramophone: Arada kahve, Tophane
This place will keep you warm in a winter. A cosy place which feels like home. Enjoy your coffee next to a fireplace and try their breakfast or enjoy lebanese cuisine.

  • Turkish coffee after a delicious breakfast: Bilice, Bahçeköy
On the outskirst of Istanbul, near the Belgrade forest, there is a place where the best börek is baked...and they also serve a coffee. Turkish breakfast is famous for a reason...and after it you should drink a cup of the turkish coffee. 


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