City Guides, Travel Diaries |

Elements of Istanbul

 Valentino, Givenchy, Etro, and Gucci are all influenced by Turkish and Islamic patterns and flowing silhouettes this season,
“rhythmic scrolls and interlacing acanthus-like vines”
“Geometric ornamentation had its roots in the Greek and Roman era, but reached its pinnacle in the Islamic Golden Age,
when artists, influenced by mathematicians, astronomers, and scientists of the time, elaborated on the motifs to stress unity and order.
Circles represented the infinity of Allah and the square the four elements of air, fire, water and earth.”
Charlotte Di Carcaci, NY Times Fashion


Traditional Turkish hammam and massage at Les Ottoman Hotel on the water:

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If I could imagine what it would be like to be a Turkish princess it might involve this every day… literally you are bathed, scrubbed, bubbled and oiled, hair washed and combed with your choice of scent (I picked rose!) all on a beautiful white marble throne resplendent with carved marble sinks and dim glowing domed ceilings.  All of this is traditionally followed by a deep tissue massage.

Nothing like this to clear your mind after an 11 hour flight (I flew SFO > FRANKFURT > IST).

Istanbul 360, restaurant and night club with incredible 360 views of the city’s glittering horizon punctuated with glowing mosques and minarets


Suleymaniye Mosque: occidental meets oriental in these striped patterned archways and floral vaulted ceilings, with stone deco-pointed star accents (10 pointed stars are found all over Istanbul Ottoman architecture).
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Blue Mosque: a horizon of dusty blue domes painted against the sky, the exotic blue mosque faces the beautiful Şehzade Mosque, or “Prince’s Mosque” with its dueling sunset hued domes.  Once Christian, now Islamic, the Roman architecture blends with ottoman and Byzantine influences, intricately painted domes and Arabic lettered stained glass.
Under the vaulted ceilings of the blue mosque are over 21,000 painted tiles!
Underground Cistern: just around the corner from the blue mosque, this dark, haunting underground museum is a cool place to contemplate in between the other Turkish sites.  Incandescent Roman Pillars line the cistern filled with water.  Walk all the way back to see the two strange but beautiful medusa headed columns and make a wish.
Arasta Market: more low key and shoppable than the other bazaars.  Great Turkish linens and towels, Turkish carpets, Iznik ceramics (made in the same style as seen in the blue mosque)
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mosaic museum: incredibly intricate roman scenes depicting delicate ribbons and griffons preying upon deer, a spectrum of mythological scenes intricately rendered in tiny stone squares.
Vogue restaurant recommended by our Turkish Intern Duygu, beautiful night time views of the city and its 2 bridges.


Spice bazaar: hand pick your own jewel toned teas, jasmine, pomegranate, apple. or choose from their unique love blends and peace blends.  Overwhelming flood of colors and scents.
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grand bazaar: First ever ‘mall’, great to see and barter (if you are good at bartering, which I am not!), loved the glowing glass, mosaic-ed and pierced metal lanterns for sale.
Archaeological museum: so much to see and everything is so close to touch!  beautiful and exotic roman columns and pediments and especially loved the jewel box of a museum housing antique ceramics

Top of Kapi Sarayi, Palace: Loved the gold star latticed window panes framed with intricately carved wooden shutters and technicolor Iznik glazed tiles.  We spotted the same pattern as our Moorish Hoops here!  Pattern upon pattern defines this Turkish style.

Hundreds of shades of turquoise, navy, blue and green are baked into the glazed backdrops of top Kapi Palace, housing the fourth largest diamond in the world and the famed emerald dagger.  Peacocks, giraffes and reindeer were imported to roam the sultan’s garden here.
Ulum 29 for traditional Turkish dinner and views of the city.


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I started the morning in the stylish Beyoglu district. After breakfast and relaxing at The Soho House, Istanbul. I took a tour the infamous modern Autoban Design Studios and had a Turkish coffee followed by lunch at Meze by lemon tree.
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“Tesh shake cure” (thank you in Turkish!) Istanbul for an amazing trip!


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About Kirakira

Hi! I'm Suz, founder and designer behind Suz Somersall. I hope you love what you see. I'm so excited to share my collections with you!