Ramadan Splendor In Istanbul

RAMADAN IS BEST IN ISTANBUL! MAYBE I’M GOING OUT ON A LIMB, BUT WHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD HAS THE HOLY MONTH OF RAMADAN BEEN SO ENTHUSIASTICALLY WELCOMED FOR CENTURIES FROM MAGNIFICENT MINARETS?

When the slim crescent moon, herald of Ramadan in the evening sky, is reflected in the waters of the Bosphorus, city of minarets Istanbul greets it with shimmering lights. Spelling words like ‘Welcome, Ramadan’ and ‘Sultan of Months’, strings of tiny white lights festoon the minarets as a sign of the city’s Ramadan fervor and the end of another year of longing.

CITY OF WORSHIP
With its cosmopolitan makeup, Istanbul has been one of the richest cultural geographies on earth since the day it was founded. And one of the most striking manifestations of that cultural richness is, without a doubt, the city’s places of worship. Mosque, church and synagogue rise side by side here in a tradition of tolerance.

FERVENT AND REVERENT
Young and old, adult and child, man and woman, all flock to pray in Istanbul’s mosques on Ramadan. Captivated by the fervor, Sufi mystics whirl differently during this holy month when their bodies are swept away by the joy in their hearts. Gathering first for the ‘teravih’ prayers, the faithful then head to lively Ramadan activities around the city.

Ramadan means sharing. As ‘iftar’ approaches, the city is overwhelmed with a flurry of joy. And sharing that first bite, be it at the elaborately laid tables of the hotels and restaurants, or at rows of crowded tables on the city squares, is a very special experience.

RAMADAN
Istanbul’s centuries-old Grand Bazaar offers visitors rich shopping opportunities with everything from costume and fine jewelry to decorative objects and authentic wares. But shopping in Istanbul goes way beyond this. The city’s modern face is its numerous shopping centers where almost all the brands in the world are available and there is something to suit every taste.

FROM İFTAR TO SAHUR
Street fairs, local book fairs and more traditional entertainments are some of Istanbul’s Ramadan activities that keep the city buzzing literally from the fast-breaking iftar dinner to the pre-dawn sahur meal that starts the day. As friendly conversation rages in the city’s popular narghileh cafes, others take in concerts, exhibitions and local book and gift fairs.