Istanbul City Pictures in Black & White

To start this series, I wanted to share my Istanbul pictures and was undecided as to whether black and white was the right format to do it. After all, Istanbul is a colourful and vibrant city so pictures should reflect that.

However, when I visited in January of this year, constant rain and even snow meant there no blue skies or sunny backgrounds in my photos.  The benefit though was that the dark skies made for interesting pictures in black and white. If you have read my blog before, you will know that I am a great fan of B&W pictures.

I revisited Istanbul in January of this year. The last time I went there was seven years ago for a romantic week with my new hubby on our honeymoon. I do not normally visit a destination twice but with Istanbul, any hard-core fan will tell you that there is never a shortage of things to do. In my case, when I am trying to improve my photography skills, there is also no shortage of potential subjects for pictures. I hope you enjoy.

My Pictures of Istanbul

Galata Bridge Fish Boats

If you visit Istanbul and need to stick to a budget for food, head to Galata Bridge and find these boats. They cook fresh fish and serve it in a tasty sandwich for the great price of just 5 Turkish lira

Galata bridge Restaurants

Bosphorus Cruise

Cruising the Bosphorus in considered to be one thing that you have to do when you visit Istanbul. You can buy tickets that include dinner and a live band but if you don’t want all the extras, buy a ticket direct from Galata bridge for just 12 lira

Bosphorus Cruise

Dolmabahce Palace

This palace was the center for the Ottoman empire in the years before their downfall. Extravagant is not the word! Tickets prices are not cheap but in my opinion, it is definitely worth a visit

Dolmabache palace

Sweetcorn seller

As to be expected with any busy city, street food in Istanbul is popular. One option is tasty and hot corn on the cob

Istanbul Street Food

Hagia Sophia

I paid twenty lira to view the Hagia Sophia again. With its unique decor, I can never tire of visiting it.

Hagia Sophia

Taksim Square Statue

Taksim square is where you should head to if you want to shop and enjoy a vibrant nightlife. This statue is a landmark of the area and it is of great importance because it includes the figure of the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Taksim Square

Blue Mosque

Also known as the Sultan Ahmet mosque, I got the feeling that someone did not want me in there. I was refused entry twice, first because it was prey time and second because they were closing. Not great timing on my behalf. I am visiting Istanbul again in April so hopefully it will be third time lucky.

Blue Mosque

Roasted Nuts

I don’t like eating nuts but loved seeing these little carts selling roasted nuts all over the city. On cold and wet days, they do a great trade.

Turkey street food

Topkapi Palace

Another landmark which proves that the sultans of the Ottoman Empire were not hesitant in lavishing themselves with the riches of the empire.

Topkapi Palace

Galata Tower

Dominating the skyline and offer amazing views over the city is Galata tower. On my honeymoon, I went at night time but plan to visit again during the day.

Galata Tower

Taksim Tram

A nifty and nostalgic way to get around

Taksim Tram

Simit Seller

Selling simit to the fishermen of Galata bridge was this old man. I got the feeling that he loved having his photograph taken and is no stranger to requests.

Galata Bridge

Dolmabahce Clock Tower

I went looking for this landmark and felt quite a fool, when asking for directions only to be told that I was stood right in front of it.

Dolmabahce Clock Tower

Nasreddin Hoca

This bloke was not too chuffed because I do not recognise that he was dressed up as the legendary urban figure of Nasreddin Hoca. Hence the lack of a smile on his behalf and then he charged me for the photo!

People of Istanbul

Taksim Side Streets

On the surface, Taksim may seem like a modern and new destination however look careful at the architecture, especially on the side streets and you will find history there


Bascilla Cistern

The cost to enter is just 10 Turkish lira and though it is famed for its ancient aspects, it also achieved status as a location for the 1963 James Bond film called “From Russia With Love”. I found it really difficult to take good photos in there.

Bascilla Cistern

Readers Question!

I took this photo of an impressive building on the side of the Bosphorus  however can not find out what it is. Do you know?

Bosphorus Building

Further Photo Posts about the city of Istanbul

14 Famous landmarks of Istanbul

View from Galata tower

Photo tour through the Grand bazaar

Contact me..


Hi. My name is Natalie Sayin and I am the author of The Turkish Travel Blog. I am an Internet addict with a passion for history. Read my story here or leave a comment below to join the discussions.
Contact me..


  1. phil + Di marina gateway says

    There you are Natalie ive missed you this week nice pic’s once again cant wait till next year when we will have much more time on our hands Istanbul is a place we are going to visit we want to visit all the places you have been

    • Nat says

      Heard you were coming out in March so will catch up with you then. Going back to Istanbul in April so hopefully more pictures to publish

  2. Sandra says

    Omg, soooo beautiful! Really amazing! Now I want go to visit Istanbul more than more!

    • Nat says

      Do it sooner rather than later Sandra. Even in the winter when it is cold and raining, still a great place to get to know

  3. says

    the mystery building is Uskudar’s Selimiye (military) Barracks. During the Crimean War it served as a military hospital and is where Florence Nightingale brought a new order to nursing by laying down the norms of modern nursing.
    Also, with respect, the Bosphorus is not a river 😀
    Loved the photos – you’ve done a great job, making them very atmospheric.
    Alan Fenn wrote about..Birth Of The Blues!

    • Nat says

      My bad about saying it was a river Alan – Also had to read it twice when you said it was military barracks. isn’t it against the law to take pictures of military places in Turkey?

    • says

      You are absolutely right Alan, that’s exactly what it is. I was frantically looking through my photos trying to find the name!
      Very pretty photos, especially of Hagia Sophia in black and white. Whenever I go near the blue mosque I know I am not supposed to be there so yes, I get what you mean when you say someone is telling you not to be there!
      Wonderful shots
      Jacqueline wrote about..The Oxygen Diet: Breathslim Review and Giveaway

  4. says

    Fantastic photos! I’ve always wanted to visit Istanbul and those pics make me want to visit even more. Not only is there so much history to the city and region, but it’s also the only metropolis bridging two continents. One of the things on my bucket list is to have breakfast in Asia and lunch in Europe, with only a brief walk in between 😉
    Derek wrote about..Highlight Of The Week: Bhangarh Fort

  5. engin says

    Merhaba, the building is Kuleli Askeri Lisesi (Kuleli for short), between Çengelköy and Vaniköy on the Asian side of the Bosphorus. Selimiye is in Haydarpa?a near the Marmara(Sea).

  6. says

    These are such great inspiration – I found this just as I’m figuring out how we are getting to Istanbul in a couple of weeks – can’t believe it’s so close! Istanbul has been at the very top of my destinations I ‘need’ to see, and I am so thrilled to be going! I’ll definitely visit the fish boats!
    Dayna wrote about..Keeping Things in Perspective while Traveling

  7. says

    Great pics. I’ve been booked to do some training in Istanbul in the next few months so I’ll go and see these wonderful sights. Thanks for sharing.

    Do you ever get to Bitez?


  8. Heather says

    Hi Natalie,
    your photos are fabulous. My biggest regret not getting to see Istanbul with Ian – I think he was going to take me there on honeymoon :-(. Never mind I will get to see one day.

  9. says

    Wonderful pictures! I’m going to arrive in Antalya at the end of March and I’ll be staying there for a while. Hope to visit Istanbul soon. But your pictures make me wonder whether a couple of days would be enough. Better revise my plans. Funny story with Nasreddin Hoca.
    Octavia wrote about..Mountainbiking in Romania. Cycling over the Bucegi Mountains

  10. Magi says

    Hi Natalie,

    Great photos! Love the Galata shot.

    Hagia Sophia and Galata are my favourite places in the city I call ‘home’.

    I know someone will have beaten me to it, but the ‘unknown picture looks like Kuleli Askeri Lisesi – The Military High school.

    Thanks for sharing

  11. says

    Great pics, especially in black in white. I usually travel via Istanbul from South Africa to Europe and, although I have explored the city only once before, it was a long time ago – definitely think that next time, I will stay over for a couple of days before moving on!
    Cynthia wrote about..Seven Super Shots

    • says

      Definitely try and arrange at least three days before moving on Cynthia. Will be worth it and a chance to relax after the long journey from South Africa

  12. says

    Love the contrast you get with black and white images! And the city is just so photogenic – how can one resist? Maybe you’ve mentioned before, but what camera and lenses are you generally using?

    Lastly, if you visit in April and have time, please let me know. Would love to meet you in person!

    • says

      Hi Joy. It is a nixon D40x with a 18-55m lens. Need to replace it those as traveling over the last years means it has taken quite a knock.Will also look you up in April to get some local knowledge and tips…

  13. says

    Amazing pictures! Love the streetview of Istanbul :)

  14. says

    Love the light and shadows in these, Natalie – really suits our city well. Just have to ask about your Sultan Ahmet Mosque comment – was “prey time” an unconscious reference to all the carpet shop touts around it? Well done – come back soon and take more!

  15. Clare Cheetham says

    Love the photos. Istanbul looks and sounds really fascinating. Old and new, east and west.

  16. says

    I’m not really one for black and white photos; they either work or they don’t. But I think for Instanbul, they do. It gives the city a whole new feeling. Makes me want to hop a plane to Turkey.

    • says

      I was in two minds whether to publish in black and white Sherry as Istanbul is so colorful but it seems to have worked

    • says

      Thank you Lara. Glad you liked them. In three days, I amassed around two thousand pictures so there was a wide range to choose from

  17. says

    Sorry to be a know-it-all but NOT Selimiye Barracks at Uskudar. The pic is of Kuleli Miltary School just outside Cengelkoy.

    Love the pics. By removing the colour you can get rid of a lot of the ugly clutter. Especially struck me with the floating fish restaurants that can look very garish these days.

    • says

      Thanks for letting me know Pat – either way, I can not see much chance of getting to see inside it. :) Glad you like the pictures and agree about the fish restaurants, there was a lot of clutter in their pictures and it was hard to make them the centre of attention
      Natalie wrote about..I Love Istanbul and Here Are Five Reasons Why

  18. says

    The more I read and see on your blog, the more I want to come to Turkey. Really beautiful photos too!

    • says

      Thank you Cheryl, you should come one day. It really is a unique country

    • says

      Glad you liked the photos Cherina – Plan that return visit very soon as you can never tire of Istanbul

    • Nat says

      Thank you very much Arti – Those two are also my favorite as well. Glad you liked

    • says

      I saw it on your FB page Lisa, many thanks for sharing. Much appreciated.

    • says

      Thanks for the link Elif. I love the old picture on there from 1841

  19. fatemeh says

    i visited istanbul 2 years ago.i can’t forget the beauty ,dignity and calm of this city.i really want to visit there again.

    • says

      You will have to plan a return trip – I have been three times now and it is always different

  20. Cathy says

    Such a lovely way to re-visit my trip to Turkey a few years back! Loved Hagia Sophia in B & W … And the shots of the activity on the Bospherous gorgeous! One of my favorite cities of all my travels is Istanbul ~ peoples, sounds, colors, cuisine all amazing! Thank You for taking me back

  21. Jason says

    I love the pics and know how hard it is to choose B&W over color. I live in Istanbul and have to make that decision often.
    I took some photos around my neighborhood, Ni?anta??, about the same time yours were taken. It was snowing and I also thought that B&W would highlight the contrasts between the soft shadows and white snow. You can view them here:

  22. alex says

    the last picture is a sailor man school for the navy of the Anotolia side .. Very respectful school for over a century

  23. alex says

    lo also Bosphorus is not a river .It is a part that joins Black Sea and Marmara Sea.

    • says

      I was a bit worried about making them black and white as well Si but they turned out well

  24. Ray says


    what great B&W photos. I often think B&W too but the temptation to do colour stops me doing the B&Ws. I am planning to go in September. I understand that is a good time to go. Never been and the place looks lovely. Your photos were very interesting and so were the places you showed.


    • says

      Thanks Ray, glad you liked them. September is a great time to go but it is still quite hot so be ready! :)

  25. Albay Lori says

    Natalie–having lived in Turkey the past two years, I absolutely have fallen in love with it just as you have. I have gotten many travel ideas from your posts, I have been inspired by your photography, I have become infatuated with this amazing country. I do not want to leave!

    Thank you for sharing your talents via your blog–I look forward to each and every one!!

    Oh, and it is off to Edirne and the Olive Oil Wrestling this weekend ….. can’t wait!!

    • says

      Oooo – do came back and tell me about the Olive oil wrestling. Always wanted to see that

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge