While Christmas (on December 25th) isn't really a holiday here, there are plenty of ways to celebrate it if you find yourself in Istanbul. You can take a tour of the alleys behind the Egyptian (spice) bazaar looking at holiday decorations and dancing Santas. You can go gift shopping on Istiklal and while you are at it check the times for Christmas day services at one of the Catholic churches. Or, you can do what we did: take a ferry ride up the Bosphorus.
|A view of the Galata Bridge from the ferry|
|Rumeli fortress built by the Ottomans in 1452|
The trip is definitely worth doing on a day when the weather is nice as you get great panoramic views of the city as well as of the colorful houses and the Ottoman and Byzantine ruins that climb the steep hillsides on either side of the strait. For us, the weather was perfect. It was warm enough to go without a coat, even out on the edck and the skies were blue (if a little hazy).
The ferry's last stop is the town of Anadolu Kavagi, within view of the Black sea. The remains of a Byzantine fortress "Yuros Castle" lie on a hill high above the town. The streets are lined with fish restaraunts and souvenir shops for visitors as they wait for the Ferry to make the return trip to the Golden Horn.
|the sun setting beyond Istanbul.|
|Merry Christmas Everyone!|