Istanbul is full of special places I haven´t discovered yet. Mysterious places that are not easy to find if you don´t know or recognize the cues. Keeping your valuable cue in your mind you stroll along the streets in search of the secret destination and then you suddenly stumble upon it. Istanbul is welcoming even if it comes to secret places.
Secret places should remain secret, isn´t it? Still, I´d like to share one of my secret places where you can experience Istanbul 3 in 1. You might wonder what kind of place is that … It is the botanical garden of the University of Istanbul (http://www.istanbul.edu.tr/fen/en/botanik-bahcesi.php). Just across the street from Süleymaniye camii.
Surprisingly it happened to be quite a hidden place on top of the third hill of seven hills of Istanbul. Without a hint we could not have found it. The entrance to the botanical garden is not easy to detect but finally we got to the right place. During our long day of walking around on the streets we had dreamed of some quiet place where to sit in the shadow and drink our ayran. Now it just seemed to be there – a peaceful retreat in the shadow, big trees and benches.
After having a closer look at the botanical treasures of the garden we were just sitting there (you can even have a small picnic there!), laid back, relaxed and… enjoying grand views of Istanbul, ships on Bosphorus and Golden Horn. Again, Istanbul unfolded itself differently in front of our eyes. For me the magic of that city consists in diversity. Istanbul provides us the possibility to disclose its different layers. That visit to the botanical garden revealed new layers for us.
While me and my friend were admiring the surroundings when we heard the call for prayer, I think we could hear it from at least 5 different mosques at the same time. These somewhat random but powerful and longing calls for namaz made us shiver. It was kind of a fascinating meditative experience which I often resemble.