Gateway through another dimension, your historical journey begins as you enter Istanbul’s abandoned old hans (inns). Once serving thousands of people, and boosting the Ottoman’s capital’s commercial life, now most of them are abandoned because of low demand. There the story begins; some of the shops are used as warehouses, some of them have been empty for years, but the hans themselves are gems, great places to visit to understand Istanbul’s past and today. Off the beaten path, hans are located in the heart of Istanbul, but far from crowds.
Each han has a different story, reflects the needs and daily life of locals, and reflects the architectural characteristics of the years they constructed.
You need to climb up to the rooftop to see what hans keep as a secret, great panoramic views of Istanbul’s monuments and beauties, from Galata Tower to Bosphorus Bridge, from Halic to Bosphorus. You will find best view from Buyuk Valide Han in Tahtakale (between Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar). The guard may ask for a few liras to let you up to the rooftop; it is up to him to open the door, so no need to argue, it is worth for few liras (i paid 3 tl).
Once you are on top, you will find yourself in completely different dimension. Beyond scenic view of Istanbul and watching daily life, what you feel is completely unfamiliar. If you are interested in non touristic side of Istanbul or abandoned buildings, you should add half day Istanbul’s old hans tour to your list.
*You have to be careful, because walking on a rooftop is at your own risk. Do not go so close to edges or climb onto domes. Watch where you step, there may be nails or broken bottles around. It is better not to climb during a windy or rainy day.