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3 Plesant Hours Under 3 Plane Trees
AWAITING YOU IN ISTANBUL ARE THREE HISTORIC ORIENTAL PLANE TREES IN WHOSE SHADE YOU CAN PASS PLEASANT HOURS ON A HOT SUMMER DAY.
Çınaraltı, aka ‘under the plane tree’ (a relative of the sycamore), on Beyazıt Square is a place where secondhand goods, colorful prayer beads, souvenir coins and postcards are sold. Awaiting aficionados here are numerous items that will add decorative richness to your home or office. Carpets and flatweaves, folk art, reproduction antiques and an array of flower and herbal essences make Beyazıt Çınaraltı even more irresistible.
WHILE UNDER THE BEYAZIT PLANE TREE
You can pay a visit to the Sahaflar or Antiquarian Booksellers Market next to the Grand Bazaar. Enter from Çınaraltı and exit to the Grand Bazaar at the other end. Or, if you prefer to skip the bazaar, you can turn left on your way out and head down to the Coppersmiths’ Market and from there to Süleymaniye Mosque, Eminönü and Rüstempaşa Mosque.
Emirgân is one of the most historic quarters on the Bosphorus. Amateur fishermen and people strolling along the Bosphorus add life to the spectacular view of the seafront mansions here. The Çınaraltı cafe is also a great place at dusk for that quintessential trio: tea, cheese and a simit (crusty sesame bread round).
WHILE UNDER THE EMİRGÂN PLANE TREE
You can visit Emirgân Park and tour Sabancı Museum near Çınaraltı on the shore. The coast road is also ideal for a stroll here where you can see the Şerifler Yalı, the oldest mansion on the Bosphorus, not far from Çınaraltı and visit the historic mosque built by Sultan Abdulhamid I.
Offering one of the most beautiful views on the Bosphorus, the area under the plane tree at Çengelköy on the Asian side is a popular breakfast spot with Istanbulites. You can either bring something from home, or pick up something at the local delis and then eat in one of the Çınaraltı cafes. The only proviso is that you can’t bring your own beverage. And remember, the sine qua non of a good breakfast is a piping hot simit from the Çengelköy Bakery.
WHILE UNDER THE ÇENGELKÖY PLANE TREE
You can buy some of the famous Çengelkoy cucumbers, called ‘badem’ (almond), and photograph the traditional streets and historic houses with their cantilevered ‘cumba’ balconies. The historic Vaniköy Mosque and Greek churches on the shore near Çengelköy are also worth a visit.