My dear travelers, welcome to the Mr.M blog! I sincerely hope that you are well and that the festive euphoria has overtaken you and that you welcome the New Year and Christmas holidays with great joy. Today’s travelogue will be dedicated to a destination that you have had the opportunity to see several times on the Mr.M blog, a city located at the crossroads of East and West – Istanbul.
Everyone who follows the Mr.M blog knows that I am a person who presents travel to readers in a completely different way and that I try to provide inspiration for your new unusual adventure. Istanbul is a city that brings back many wonderful memories in me, and I am always happy to return to this magical city.
This time I returned to my favorite city, as befits – in style! Air Serbia is the Serbian national airline of the Republic of Serbia, the successor of the first national company Aeroput, founded in Belgrade in 1927. Air Serbia has been operating under its current name since October 2013.
Air Serbia flies and plans to introduce flights to more than 70 regular, seasonal and charter destinations throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, North America, Asia and Africa, both in passenger and cargo traffic. In cooperation with partner airlines, Air Serbia can also offer flights to international destinations in Asia, Australia, North America and Africa.
In addition to the home airport “Nikola Tesla” in Belgrade, Air Serbia also flies from the airport “Konstantin Veliki” in Niš, as well as the international airport “Morava” near Kraljevo. Air Serbia is a proud member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
This is ideal opportunity for all tourists to get to know the capital of Serbia during their transfer to their final destination. Belgrade is a beautiful city with a rich history and an interesting story, so take advantage of your break with Air Serbia flights and enjoy the sights of the capital Belgrade, you will have a lot to tell your friends!
Before my flight to Istanbul, I had the opportunity to experience the premium beauty of traveling with Air Serbia with an amazing experience in their Premium Lounge.
The Air Serbia Premium Lounge, located in the transit zone between exits A4 and A5 on Nikola Tesla Aiport in Belgrade is divided into several units and equipped with a number of amenities that will provide every visitor with maximum comfort and an incredible experience that you can find your oasis of peace at Nikola Tesla Airport every day from 5 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Who can access the Air Serbia Premium Lounge free of charge? The following passenger categories:
- Business class passengers on flights operated by Air Serbia
- Selected membership levels of the Air Serbia Etihad Guest program
- Promotional offer: Economy Comfort fare passengers
If you do not belong to the group of passengers who qualify for free access to the Premium Lounge, you can purchase a lounge pass at affordable prices. For more information about the Premium Lounge, visit the link.
The time in the Premium Lounge flew by and it was time to board my flight to Istanbul. You know that I travel a lot, both because of my work, and also because of my life, which takes place between Germany and Serbia.
Air Serbia is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year with a special emblem that will be on all planes of the Serbian national airline. Under the slogan “95 Years of Flying”, the emblem is designed to combine tradition and modernity, paying tribute to the rich history of the Serbian national airline. Air Serbia decided to celebrate its birthday with us and gift us some new destinations where we will be able to create some of our memorable moments!
What are the new destinations that Air Serbia is preparing for us? Let me share some with you! I believe that we are all looking forward to the summer, that’s why Air Serbia has prepared some new routes to Greece. Visit magical Heraklion, the seaside paradise of Chania, sunny Rhodes, or take a journey through history and visit Corfu. The offer will include flights to new destinations such as Krakow, Ohrid, Varna, Budapest, Ankara, Izmir, Hamburg, Gothenburg, Cologne, Marseille, Naples, Florence, Palermo and many others!
The flight to Istanbul was fantastic and I arrived on time to my favorite city. The in-flight service was at a high level with pleasant and friendly staff and beautiful scenery. Maybe I don’t live in the clouds, but I’m often happy to meet them because they mark the beginning of some new interesting adventure.
If you want to stay updated and find out the latest news and what gifts Air Serbia is preparing for us, visit their official website where you can book your next trip and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Istanbul, the imperial city that has remained known throughout history as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the most populated city in the Republic of Turkey. This city is also the economic, cultural and historical center of the country. Istanbul is a transcontinental city in Eurasia, located on the Bosphorus Strait, which separates Europe and Asia between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. The commercial and historical center of the city is located in the European part, while about a third of the city’s population lives on the Asian side. The city is the administrative center of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, which has more than 15 million inhabitants. Istanbul is one of the most populated cities in the world, the seventh largest city in the world and the largest city in Europe. Istanbul is considered a bridge between East and West.
I will try to list the parts (districts) of the city for you, so that you can find your way around when you come to this magical city. Istanbul is divided into the following city districts:
- Sultanahmet – the old part of the city
- Galata – Beyoglu area, where Taksim Square and the famous Istikal Street are located
- New City – The main business district of the city with many modern shopping centers and districts such as Elmadag, Nisantası and Etiler.
- Bosphorus area – The European shore of the Bosphorus dotted with numerous palaces, parks, waterside villas and bohemian districts such as Beşiktaş and Ortakoy.
- Golden Horn area – The banks of the Golden Horn, the estuary that separates the European side into characteristic areas. Here is Eyüpsultan, with an Ottoman ambience.
- Prince’s Islands – A convenient place for a perfect break from the city, consisting of an archipelago of nine car-free islands – some of them small, some of them large – with beautiful wooden villas, green pine gardens and beautiful landscapes.
- The Asian part of Istanbul – The eastern half of Istanbul, with beautiful neighborhoods on the banks of the Marmara and the Bosphorus.
- The Western part of Istanbul, the western suburbs – are a collection of Istanbul districts, which lie west of the city walls of the old city. Bakırköy is the main center of this part of the city.
During this trip I thought about the number of visits to this Turkish metropolis so far and I think that in all these years I have been to Istanbul 23 times, which is really impressive. This city is dear to me and has a special place in my heart and I am always happy to return to it. Beyoglu is my favorite part of the city because for me it is the heart and the main hub from where you can easily move around the city with the help of public transport, taxis, and even on foot to some nearby tourist attractions.
Taksim Square located in the Beyoglu area in the European part of Istanbul is a major tourist and recreational area known for its restaurants, shops and hotels. It is considered the heart of modern Istanbul, with the central station of the Istanbul Metro network. Of course, there is also the famous Divan Istanbul hotel where I stayed during this visit to Istanbul.
By staying at the Divan Istanbul hotel, a visit to Istanbul takes on a new dimension and definition of travel, relaxation and an idyllic vacation. Hotel Divan Istanbul offers its visitors a complete travel experience that will exceed all their expectations.
Hotel Divan Istanbul, thanks to its extraordinary location, dominates the different rhythms of Istanbul. Just a few steps away from the iconic Taksim Square, the hotel is intertwined with the vibrancy of the city and is conveniently located to be inspired by Istanbul with all its historical and cultural texture. Don’t forget to listen to the legendary story of the Galata Tower located in the immediate vicinity of the hotel, mingle with the colors of the Grand Bazaar, open the doors of history in Topkapi Palace and visit important places that reflect the spirit of the city in order to make new discoveries or rediscover them again.
Another factor that makes Divan Istanbul Hotel indispensable when it comes to travel is the easy access to important business, cultural and tourist centers. Being close to institutions such as the Istanbul Convention Center and the Halic Convention Center, the hotel offers the privilege of making efficient use of time without feeling tired during business trips.
There are many reasons to relax at the Divan Istanbul Hotel, which puts comfort first. Divan Istanbul Spa, a beauty and wellness center, Divan Bar with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink alternatives to help relieve stress during the day, Divan Lokanta with its outstanding and innovative world cuisine menu and Maromi by Divan Istanbul restaurant make up the soul of Divan Istanbul Hotel, enjoy new experiences!
Hotel Divan Istanbul provides first-class service for gathering people. Meet your colleagues, friends or family in different parts of the world or country with the comfort of Divan. Moreover, with the magnificent services of Divan Bar, Divan Pub and Divan Patisserie, it is worth making the taste of these special days of your vacation ‘unforgettable’ on the palate…
All the rooms at Divan Istanbul Hotel are known in the hotel world because they have traces of a magical formula that combines comfort, elegant design and luxury. Divan Istanbul hotel rooms that offer generous areas to use; It creates the perfect decor for relaxing, working and enjoying the moment during your visit to Istanbul.
There are few types of rooms which are available in Divan Istanbul Hotel: Divan İstanbul Hotel Superior Room, Divan İstanbul Hotel Deluxe Room, Divan İstanbul Hotel One Bedroom Suite, Divan İstanbul Hotel Presidential Suite.
Hotel Divan Istanbul provides a relaxing trip with an unparalleled experience. Plan your day the way you want to feel good and refreshed. The Spa and Fitness center of the Divan Istanbul hotel is open every day from 07:00 to 22:00. Equipped with high technology, the center has everything from a Pilates studio to a steam pool, a semi-Olympic indoor pool to facial treatment options.
Feel the magic of the Turkish bath to relieve the stress of the day with the help of water, soap bubbles and steam. Divan Istanbul Hotel Spa offers an authentic hammam/private hammam concept, a magnificent combination of luxury and tranquility. Step into the fairytale world of massage therapy, you just need to close your eyes and immerse yourself in the charm of massage therapy! From Thai to Swedish massage, from the invigorating effect of hot stones to Indian head massage with relaxing music, aromatic scents, touches of experienced therapists, it’s the right time to free your soul and body…
Maromi by Divan brings the best flavors of Japanese cuisine to the heart of Istanbul. Although these magnificent flavors, inspired by the Far East, are made using classic methods, they take on a unique character with the modern touches of Japanese chefs. Within the concept of Japanese cuisine, there are many distinctive flavors that can satisfy everyone. This was an unforgettable experience for me and the gourmet dinners at the Maromi restaurant brought back some good memories from my numerous trips to Asia…
I will remember my stay at Divan Istanbul Hotel for the extremely pleasant staff and the perfect service that can be expected in a 5* hotel in the heart of a metropolis like Istanbul. At every moment, all the needs of the guests are thought of, and regularly every day the friendly staff comes to the room and checks if everything is in order and if anything is needed to make your stay more pleasant and complete. Special attention was drawn to the current holiday decoration and you can simply feel that holiday joy and euphoria at every step in the Divan Istanbul Hotel.
As I previously mentioned, the Divan Istanbul Hotel is located in an extraordinary place in the very heart of Istanbul, in the immediate vicinity of Taksim Square. Do you perhaps know where the word Taksim comes from? The word Taksim means “division” or “distribution” in Arabic. Taksim Square was originally where the main waters from the north of Istanbul collected and branched off to other parts of the city (hence the name.) This use was established for the area by Sultan Mahmud I. The square takes its name from an Ottoman-era stone reservoir that located on one side of the square.
Today, Taksim is a cultural center with numerous places for entertainment and relaxation, that part of Istanbul never sleeps!
Sultanahmet Square, once known as the Hippodrome of Constantinople, is today a square in Istanbul, in the immediate vicinity of which are the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Previously, it was a circus that was the sports and social center of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The word hippodrome comes from the Greek hippos (ippos) – horse and dromos – road. For this reason, it is sometimes called Atmeidanı (“Horse Square”) in Turkish. Horse and chariot racing were popular pastimes in the ancient world, and hippodromes were common features of Greek cities in the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods.
From Taksim Square to Sultanahmet Square, it is very easy to get there with the help of the tram, and in a few stops you will be in the center of the old city.
The Blue Mosque of Istanbul, also known by its official formal name, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is a historic Ottoman-era imperial mosque located in the center of the old part of the city. A functional mosque, it also attracts a large number of tourists. It was built between 1609 and 1616 during the reign of Ahmed I.
Its Kulije contains Ahmed’s grave, a madrasa and a hospice. Hand-painted blue tiles adorn the interior walls of the mosque, and at night the mosque is bathed in blue as lights frame the mosque’s five main domes, six minarets and eight side domes. It is located next to Hagia Sophia, the main mosque in Istanbul until the construction of the Blue Mosque and another popular tourist spot. In 1985, the Blue Mosque was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List under the name “Historic Areas of Istanbul”.
Hagia Sophia (literal translation ‘Holy Wisdom’), officially the Great Mosque Hagia Sophia is a mosque and the main cultural and historical site in the old part of the city. The cathedral was originally built as a Greek Orthodox church that lasted from 360 AD until the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Empire in 1453. It served as a mosque until 1935, when it became a museum. Two years ago, in 2020 to be exact, Hagia Sophia became a mosque again.
The current building was built by the Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I as a Christian cathedral in Constantinople for the state church of the Roman Empire between 532 and 537, and was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralus. The official name of the church was the Church of the Holy Wisdom. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is considered to have “changed the history of architecture”.
The current Justinian building was the third church of the same name to occupy the site, since the previous one was destroyed in the riots in Nicaea. As the episcopal seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, it remained the largest cathedral in the world for almost a thousand years, until the Cathedral of Seville was completed in 1520. Beginning with later Byzantine architecture, the Hagia Sophia became the paradigmatic form of the Orthodox Church and its architectural style modeled on Ottoman mosques a thousand years later. It has been described as “occupying a unique position in the Christian world” and as an architectural and cultural icon of Byzantine and Orthodox civilization.
When you’re done seeing the cultural heritage and historical sights, the best vacation for the soul is a nice shopping therapy! Near the Divan Istanbul Hotel is the most famous shopping district where there are many famous international fashion and other brands that you can find on Nisantasi.
Nişantaşı is an upscale, mostly secular residential neighborhood in the Şişli neighborhood on the European side of Istanbul. From Osmanbey and Pangalti in the west to the bustling Halaskargazi Caddesi, it is a popular shopping district, full of boutiques, department stores, cafes, pubs, restaurants and nightclubs. Many of the streets are still lined with beautiful apartment blocks from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Directly to the south is the large and green park Mačka, and to the east is the city district of Besiktas.
After a successful shopping therapy, you can go down to Macka Park and enjoy the view of the beautiful Bosphorus! Yes, it is that famous landscape that we can see in many famous Turkish soap-operas! Istanbul is full of wonders and believe me, every time I go there I always discover and learn something new, so I always get excited and fall in love with this imperial city on two continents!
My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this first special travelogue in the winter season about Istanbul where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of this imperial city on two continents. Today’s travelogue would not be possible without the selfless help of the national Serbian airline – Air Serbia and Divan Istanbul Hotel in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Turkish culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey my impressions about this unusual experience from Turkey.
I would like to give special thanks to the staff of Divan Istanbul Hotel for their warm welcome and for hosting me in their hotel. The stay in their hotel was exceptional, where I felt the warmth of holidays like at home!
Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.
I am honored to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top in the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to feel the beauty of this unusual imperial city on two continents in a completely different way.
How did you like this story of mine about Istanbul and the presentation of Divan Istanbul Hotel, which adorns the heart of Istanbul? Have you had the chance to visit magical Istanbul yet?
If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via email or social media, all links can be found on the CONTACT page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story from Istanbul!
With Love from Istanbul,