The Wonders of Istanbul!

Istanbul is as magical as it is beautiful, especially in Spring! We’ll be heading back there early in June to work with our Beksan Designs artisan partners to create beautiful new jewelry and accessories for you! We love spending time in this wonderful city and want to share some interesting facts about Istanbul with you: Istanbul is the most populous city in Turkey, 20 million people, as well as its cultural and financial hub. It is the ONLY city in the world located on two continents, Europe & Asia, separated by the Bosphorus straits. Istanbul has a deep history, formerly the city of Constantinople that was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II on May 29, 1453. Ottoman rule continued until it was defeated in WWI and Istanbul was occupied by the allies. The Republic of Turkey was born in 1923 after the War of Independence. Kemal Atatürk moved the capital to the city of Ankara. The Galata Tower, a look-out tower built in 1348, overlooks the Golden Horn, and separates the “old” and “new” parts of Istanbul. You can visit the top where there are amazing panoramic views. The culturally rich “old” city also known as Sultanahmet is where you will find the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, and the Basilica Cisterns, once the largest underground waterway, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar. All are “must see” sites. Built in 1481, the Grand Bazaar isa bustling commercial area where one can test their bargaining skills and find amazing Turkish treasures. Here is where we work with several artisans to transform our designs into the beautiful jewelry and accessories we can offer you. Rich in natural resources, makes it an ideal location for hand-crafting jewelry. Semi-precious stones abound as well as metals not commonly found in the U.S., like 24kt gold vermeil. We use these to create distinctive earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets. Our cotton, silk, and pashmina scarves come from natural Turkish textiles, some of the finest in the world. Outstanding Turkish cuisine is everywhere in Istanbul and one of the great side benefits of our design trips. We love the different kebabs, succulent vegetables, and the meze spreads of amazing appetizers. The “new city” side also has lots to see. Istanbul Modern, with its exhibitions of contemporary Turkish art, is on the nearby waterfront of Karaköy. Further north is the Istiklal Avenue, Istanbul's prominent pedestrian street running from near the Galata Tower to Taksim Square. And just east are the banks of the Bosphorus, lined by pleasant neighborhoods full of waterfront mansions. Taking a boat ride on the Bosphorus is a lovely way to see and admire the waterside palaces of days gone by. If you haven’t been to Istanbul, we hope you have chance to visit someday so you too can experience its amazing wonders!

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