Nestled between the Aya Sofia and the Topkapi Palace, lies a small cobblestoned street often overlooked by visitors to Istanbul.
Sogukçesme Sokagi or Cold Fountain Street as it is more commonly known, is named after a fountain at the Gülhane Park end of the street. If you’re coming from the Eminönu and Sirkec, the park is on your left as you follow the tram tracks towards Sultanahmet.
This quiet street is lined with beautiful trees and restored historic wooden houses built in the 19th and early 20th centuries backing on to the walls of the Topkapi Palace. Thankfully no cars are allowed to disturb this unspoilt corner of the city.
As you walk past the shops that occupy the ground floor of the first few houses you will come across the Sarnic Restaurant on the left. If you can, pop in and have a look at it’s glorious setting in an early Byzantine cistern.
In 1986 the Touring and Automobile Federation restored most of these two and three story houses and converted them to small hotels and restaurants. Known as the Ayasofya Konaklari (The Hagia Sofia Mansions) this group of nine houses are named after flowers whose perfume fills in the spring time…Magnolia House, Jasmine House, Honeysuckle House….
One of the buildings has been converted into a cultural centre and the other the Istanbul Kitapligi (Library).
Walk to the end of the street and you will find yourself at the gates of the Topkapi Palace, another of Istanbul’s wonderful palaces that has to be seen.
This is one of my favourite streets in Istanbul, one that I love to return to. A quiet gem in a city of hustle and bustle.
Have you found this street in Istanbul?
This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Don’t forget to pop over and see the other contributions.