The village wing of Fethiye Times recently made a trip to Istanbul – and a short series of articles will be appearing on more things to see and do in the city.

However, it occurred to us that a good guide book is invaluable if you really want to find your way around and try to untangle the long convoluted history of Istanbul.  We have two recommendations.

Pocket size and picture rich – Istanbul’s Bazaar Quarter

On the left a book only published this year takes you on four walking tours of old Istanbul and, despite the title, it gives details of mosques, tombs and kervansaray as well as the famous Istanbul bazaars – and even highlights the location of toilets along the routes.  It’s full of pictures and includes people who work in various locations along the walks whom you are encouraged to visit, showing your copy of the book as an introduction.  It is ideal for people not familiar with the oldest area of Istanbul, and for those who would rather follow a pictorial guide rather than wade through dense text.  It is published by Çitlembik, costs 30TL, ISBN 978-9944-424-59-2 and written by two older women, one American the other Austrian, who have both lived in Istanbul for many years and clearly love the city.

Comprehensive and text heavy – Strolling through Istanbul

The other book is one of many written by John Freely the doyen of Istanbul’s foreign residents who has been producing guide books to the city, and all other parts of Turkey, for almost forty years.  Now in his 80s he is Emeritus Professor of Physics at Bosphorus University.  ‘Strolling Through Istanbul’ was originally published in 1972, revised in 1989 and is now in its 9th edition.  As with the previous guide, it takes you on walking tours of Istanbul through 23 detailed chapters, with sketch maps, no photographs but very detailed text.  It costs 35TL, ISBN 975-8176-44-7.

If you want to get hold of either book prior to a visit to Istanbul write down the title and the ISBN on a piece of paper and hand it to the people who run the Natur bookshop near Hayal cinema.  If you are buying either book in Istanbul do so from Robinson Crusoes on Istiklal Caddesi in Beyoğlu.  They have both in stock and won’t try to charge a higher price.