Cycling in Istanbul on a warm December day

December is usually cold and wet (usually rainy but sometimes it also snows) in Istanbul. But, this year, the first days of December was warm (around 20°C / 68°F) and sunny. A bit windy, though, but the south winds is the main reason why it was extraordinarily warm. So it was a good opportunity to get on our bikes last weekend.
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10 Amazing Istanbul Facts

Istanbul is one of the world’s most historic cities as well as a modern, crowded metropolis. It is the largest city in Turkey and also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Here are 10 interesting Istanbul facts.
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How to survive in Istanbul – A guide for touring cyclists

Previously, I wrote an article for the website titled “Road Cycling in Istanbul” – which was written for roadies and triathletes. That post received many comments, and some of them were dropped by the touring cyclists.

Since Istanbul is the only city which lies on two continents in the world, it is a must-see place for many touring cyclists. The city also offers a beautiful and short way to cross between Europe and Asia. But, probably everybody heard that (or simply experienced that) Istanbul is not a bike-friendly city.

In the recent years, a few touring cyclists came and stayed in my home in Bahçeköy as guests. Sometimes I guided them in Istanbul, and also instructed them how to approach to Istanbul and leave the city safely. Now, I decided to put all these knowledge into a blog post. Here’s my guide of “how to survive in Istanbul for touring cyclists”.
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The Great Fire of Pera in 1870

On June 5, 1870, a horrendous fire in Pera which is known as “The Great Fire of Pera” today, destroyed a large part of the district. It is also known as “The Great Fire of Constantinople”. Pera, today’s Beyoğlu, located on the European side of Constantinople (now İstanbul), separated from the old city (historic peninsula of Constantinople) by the Golden Horn, was the district of diplomatic residences and European society around 1870. Actually, now, it still is.

The great fire destroyed two-thirds of the quarter, burnt down countless buildings and killed many people – perhaps thousands. Many hotels, night clubs, theaters, and embassies went up in flames. British embassy, which already burnt down once before in the great fire of 1831, also destroyed. Because of the wooden buildings and the strong wind, the fire spread rapidly. According to the Manchester Weekly Times, a weekly newspaper published from 1828 to 1922 in Manchester, England, “…sheets of the flame extended a mile in length”. The fire was put out after thirteen hours. But, even after then, some burned houses continued falling down and killing yet more people. According to Glasgow Daily Herald (founded in 1873, it is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world), cannons were used to bring down such dangerous buildings.

The fire was also covered by the Western newspapers – here is a compilation below.
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What To See in Istanbul in One Day

You came to Istanbul for a meeting, or a work appointment, or vacation, and you have only one free day. Where to go, what to see, in only one day in Istanbul?
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Top five must-see places in Istanbul

Straddling Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, Istanbul is one of the major tourist destinations in Europe. The city’s strategic location has made it one of history’s most important cities. So there’s a plenty of historical places to see, and to feel the exotic atmosphere. Here are the top five most rated tourist attractions and must-see places in Istanbul.
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