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  • Aya Sofya woot!

  • Beautiful place! Love this part of the world!

  • This is right around the corner from some viking graffiti etched onto the railing. So fascinating.

  • One of my favorite buildings.

  • Studied abroad here! Can’t wait to go back in t-minus 2 months! The Aya Sofya and the Suleymaniye mosque are my two favorite indoor picture taking locations!

  • Visiting Istanbul really gives you perspective on the crime in DC. We don’t have it so bad after all.

    • That’s funny, because for several recent years Istanbul was regarded as one of the safest cities in Europe by crime rate.

      Has something changed recently? I’ve lived in both and DC is definitely the one where I feel less safe, and I believe the stats bear that out (not that I think DC is terribly unsafe for the record).

      • I was there recently as part of a cruise itinerary. We were harassed by several men, and people were trying to steal from us. Maybe it’s just in the touristy areas, but I got the impression that locals will try to scam you at every turn. We were forced to pay the equivalent of $26 for a sandwich because the guy said we had to and he would call the (presumably corrupt) police on us if we didn’t. Some of the other cruise passengers had a worse experience where they went out to a bar and were threatened with a $1000 tab that they had to pay or face arrest. I’ve been to a few second and third world countries and never felt as uncomfortable as I did in Istanbul. It may not have a ton of violent crime, but you definitely feel like everyone is out to get you.

        • I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. The bar tab scam is a very common one unfortunately (I don’t know anyone who has experienced it, but it is written up in all the guidebooks, State dept. site etc).

          Unfortunately everywhere in the world there are people who prey on and harass tourists and I think it is particularly bad with cruises because you have a mass of people being let out in one area for a tiny amount of time, and those who wish to bother them know that the vast majority of those people have never been to that place before and thus their instincts aren’t very sharp. I have found the same thing in cruise ports in the Caribbean–as a foreigner I am much less hassled once the ships have gone out to sea for the night!

          But I wouldn’t judge the crime rate in a destination based on a day on a cruise itinerary. I hope you have a chance to go back and have a better experience. It’s a great city and a few bad eggs (don’t get me started on the taxi drivers!) aside it is full of very friendly people.

          I will say I felt considerably safer walking home alone after dark in Istanbul (even after a drink or two) than I do in DC (likewise for having my mobile phone visible on the street) and I have lived in pretty comparable neighborhoods in both cities. In three years in Istanbul I never knew anyone who got mugged or experienced property crime and had only one friend who was pickpocketed on the train. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for DC, but maybe the people I know here are just unlucky!

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