Istanbul, the Gay Capital of Turkey
Istanbul with a population about 16 million is the capital of the gay scene in Turkey. Just as Turkey is a mixture of east and west, Istanbul is a summary of the country. Its cosmopolitan life leads to a very colorful gay life; you can encounter quite trendy gay clubs as well as astonishingly traditional and local ones near one another in this city.
The rich and the poor, the modern and the old-fashioned, the intellectual and the illiterate are all present in Istanbul, sometimes inside one another.
Queens, transvestites, modern gays, bisexuals, lesbians, rent-boys are all parts of this vivacious world. Since Istanbul itself is a very charming city with its historical, cultural and natural beauties, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say: If you are gay, don’t die before you see Istanbul.
THE TURKISH MEN:
Despite the caricaturized historical image of Turkish men in the western countries as dark-skinned men with big mustaches and big bellies, the majority of Turks are very European-looking and beautiful, a mixture between Caucasian (white) and Mediterranean ethnicity. Do not be surprised to see blond men with green eyes. Turkish people have no language or ethnic connection with the Arabs except the religion and its cultural influence.
THE GAY LIFESTYLE:
The gay activities have become more and more visible during the last 20 years. The number of the gay venues has increased rapidly especially during the last 15 years. Taksim district of Beyoglu town on the European side of Istanbul is the center of almost all major gay venues. In fact, this district is the center of local night life.
There are many modern or traditional gay clubs, bars, saunas and hamams near the Taksim/Beyoglu area. This neighborhood is also frequented by many (mostly bisexual) rent-boys. Some of these boys can really be as handsome as film-stars indeed.
There are also many clubs for transvestites and transsexuals in Taksim district. Indeed, the gay life of Istanbul is very colorful and vibrant. The first gay and lesbian organization of Turkey called Lambda Istanbul is also located in Istanbul.
When you’ll reach the city, you’ll be overwhelmed with the unlimited choices of things to see and do. Istanbul itself is a historical treasure, a treasure that will thrill you. Wherever you stare at, there are numerous monuments testifying the magnificent history of this city.
You can choose to visit the archaeological museum situated in the Eminomu area, between Gulhane park and Topkapi palace. It hosts an unbelievable collection of exhibits and it spreads among three buildings. It really is worth a visit!
Very important museums are also the Carpets Museum in the HonkarKasri area, the Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture in Besiktas, the Istanbul Museum of Classical Ottoman Divan Literature in Yuksekkaldirim, and the Yedikule Museum, which once served as a prison.
Istanbul palaces are very well known! "Topkapi" is probably the most famous palace of Istanbul. This "saray" was for many centuries the sultans’ main residence. It’s a palace of magnificent architecture with numerous rooms. It is also known for its beautiful and colorful gardens - and its kitchens are considered a very important sight.
A visit in Istanbul is never complete without visiting at least one of the numerous markets. Istanbul is one of the few cities in Turkey that has so many big open markets.
A trip to Istanbul will charm and thrill you. The city is like an Oriental fairy tale, full of magic, mixed civilizations, archaeological monuments, and surrounded by the sea.
Leaving Istanbul, you will always carry it inside and its mystical scents will accompany you forever.
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Reprinted courtesy of GayHolidays.gr