Istanbul – A unique destination that is back to life.
Istanbul – A unique destination that is back to life. As told by our Holiday Houseboy Antar
What I missed most in the last two years was the view from Mimar Sinan Restaurant and rooftop café. I used to show visitors to the city the view from there as can see the Galata tower, which was right in front of us. Along with the Galata bridge, the Topkapi Palace Museum, the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, the Bosphorus Bridge and the grand bazaar.
We would walk around for 4 hours or so, starting the trip usually from the Taksim Square, taking the Istiklal Street where you can see many beautiful buildings and churches. In addition, there are lots of interesting historical sights in every part of this Areas, known as Taksim & Eminonu.We can see the Fatih Mosque, Pammakaristos Church, Fathiya Mosque and Ayoub hill.
As an extra tour we would walk around the Balat neighbourhood. This is one of the most interesting areas in Istanbul with its narrow cobbled streets, with hip cafes and galleries. This sleepy and area of the city hosts a small but thriving Jewish community along with settlers from the Greek, and Armenian communities.
I miss meeting visitors in my city, it was more than work for me, this was a passion. I got to meet wonderful people from all over the world. Sharing unforgettable memories, the magic of the city taking us far away. I would always discover something new every time we went on a tour.
The city is full of secrets too. Some places that visitors can’t reach easily, by themselves. I simply love taking visitors there.
One day is not always enough. You can still check out the Asian side. Including the areas of Uskudar and Kadikoy. These are both full of interesting historical buildings, churches, museums. Especially also the neighbourhood of Kadikoy is great to see. With its curving streets, colourful murals, indie boutiques and hip cafes. All of my visitors say it seems a lot like Europe. Likewise, the area of Moda is known for excellent fish restaurants and bars. In addition, the beach there is just amazing and sunset is the best to see while its going down behind the old city giving a beautiful red colour in the sky.
Also, let’s not forget to mention the Dolmabahce Palace and the national palaces painting museum. My city is so lovely and gives you a warm feeling.
Thankfully the city is back to life now, all the shops are open. Along with restaurants, cafes, bars, and even nightclubs. It’s great to see people and tourists alike back on the streets, just as it used to be. Istanbul is one of the most visited cities in the world, and I wish you would all come to see my beautiful city. I look forward to sharing it with you.
Antar is a graduate, having earned his BA from Al-Azhar University in Gaza. He is an artist at heart. He loves music, theatre and drama. Indeed Antar is a hip hop artist and has performed in a couple of European tours as well as one in Brazil. He currently works as an administrator for the Theater and Singing Department of the Union of Palestinian Artists in Istanbul. He has facilitated workshops, worked as a translator, tour guide and drama coach. In his spare time, Antar looks after his body by working out and swimming. Exercise over, he enjoys a good book. He also loves to explore the different and varied neighbourhoods of Istanbul. As Antar says, “but most important I love to be with other people, doing everything I can to make sure we all have good times we can remember together.” If you are into the arts, and like to explore the quirky side of Istanbul with a friendly guy, then book Antar.
Antar is 34 years old, smokes occasionally and speaks English and Arabic.
Total cost for the guide services of Antar for one day (8 hours) = a non refundable deposit of USD 45 by Paypal or major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express) PLUS USD 50 in cash to Antar after his services. This makes a total of 95 US dollars.
Similarly the total cost for the guide services of Antar for half a day (4 hours) = a non refundable deposit of USD 20 by Paypal or major credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express) PLUS USD 30 in cash to Antar after his services. Therefore total is 50 US dollars.
This does not include transport, entrance fees or any food & beverage costs.
“We LOVED Antar! He truly made our trip to Istanbul an experience that we’ll never forget. He was not only knowledgeable about the city, he was also extremely easy to talk to and he had a pleasant attitude the entire time we were together.
In looking back on our trip, he will be fondly remembered as being the main reason the trip was such a success. I recommend Antar to anyone who would like to have a fun, interesting and knowledgeable guide for their trip to Istanbul”. Jeff, UK
“Antar was great company and showed us areas we never would have found on our own despite having been to Istanbul several times. He was considerate of our limitations climbing etc and paced the day accordingly . Highly recommend this good looking lad.”– Robert, UK
“Antar was a great guide – a very easy going personality he made the conversation flow naturally throughout the day. He showed me places in Istanbul that I doubt any other visitor would find. I feel I really got to know him as a friend and his very personal relationship with Istanbul and its people and sights. Don’t hesitate – book him and you will not regret it.”— James, Belgium
“I thought Antar did a good job. He knows the city well, including some off-the-beaten track places, despite the fact that he’s a relatively new resident of Istanbul. Therefore, he has a distinctive point of view. We visited parts of Beyoglu, Karaköy, Beşiktaş and Ortaköy. I learned a lot and enjoyed our conversations. Well worth the investment.”— Ted, Canada
“Travelling with Antar is very comfortable, just like travelling with my best friends. We travelled in Istanbul in a smart and romantic way. It was a great trip, thank you Antar“. Michael, Taiwan
“Antar arrived exactly on time for our evening outing to enjoy the Istanbul scene. He is polite, professional, and a pleasure to be with. His has a good knowledge of where to go. It was great to be with such easygoing and fun companion for the evening, I cannot recommend him enough”. Naim
“Thank you so much for connecting me with Antar! He did an amazing job while I was in Istanbul. He was great with communication, and a pleasure to explore the city with. I would recommend him for anyone planning on visiting the city!” Ed, USA
“Antar was very helpful on my first day in Istanbul. He is very friendly and personable. It felt as if I had a good friend here showing me around the city. I highly recommend him and this service especially if you are travelling alone like myself.” Andrew, Canada
“Antar is a lovely and cool guy. We had a great day together. I preferred a relaxed day with lots of stops at cafes and bars and that is what we did. I am sure he would also do intense sightseeing if asked” Olivia, Germany
“Antar is this amazing cultured handsome guy, he is smart funny and very good at communication. He showed so many good places.” – Morgan, China
“Considering Antar is not Turkish and does not speak Turkish, he knew enough about Istanbul to take me to some interesting places (both sides of the Horn and on the Asian side) I may not have got to by myself. I had an interesting and enjoyable day with him. He is quite charming.” Dallas USA
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Our other destinations in Turkey are Ankara and Cappadocia.