My Istanbul

Discover the rich heritage of a city that has been the capital of three empires

Published: Jan 11, 2012 06:33:56 AM IST
Updated: Jan 11, 2012 08:33:59 AM IST
My Istanbul
Image: Thierry Monasse/ Corbis

Istanbul is a city that I discovered by chance. My business first took me there in the year 2002. Since then, Istanbul beckons frequently. The city is soaked in a rich heritage owing to the fact that it has served as the capital of three empires — Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.

I like to stay at Swissotel, Taksim, because of its exceptional location, great interiors and good service. I also like Park Hyatt Istanbul Maçka Palas which is housed within a stunning 1920’s Art Deco building.
The cafes along the Bosphorus are an excellent way to spend the evening; have a drink and observe street culture at the same time.

Though I am a vegetarian and am more than happy with the fresh Mediterranean salad preparations and mezes, I am told the kebabs are a must try.  

Istanbul offers an eclectic mix of architecture and cuisine. The two distinct picturesque parts, the European and the Asian, can be experienced here on a ferry ride through the Bosphorus. To try the famous Turkish Bath would be an interesting experience.

My Istanbul

Manish Mandhana, managing director, Mandhana Industries

Getting Around
Travel in the city is reminiscent of India with its many traffics snarls. However, taxis are not very expensive, and therefore,  a convenient way to travel. One can hail a taxi on the street, however I like to pre book. The city also has a network of trams, underground tubes and ferries.

The city is also a great place for fashion and textile. The Istiklal street in Beyoglu area starting from Taksim square has a good mix of international and homegrown labels. I also like to visit the Ipekci street which has upscale brands like LVMH and McQueen among others. The Grand bazaar is also a great place that I try and visit. It is a bazaar as we know and has anything and everything that appeals to the senses, ranging from porcelain and silver, to antiques and rugs. The place itself first opened in 1461, so you can imagine the history attached to it.

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(This story appears in the 20 January, 2012 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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