The Magical Winter In Istanbul

Istanbul is a magic city. No matter how often I visited Istanbul in the past, I was always attracted to come back, again, again, and again. And I was not alone. Many foreigners I met in Istanbul, feel the same as I do. Many of them visited Istanbul like hundred times, until finally decided to live permanently in the city. My friend Hille, for example, always called Istanbul and her hometown Tallinn as her home towns. So do I. Beside Medan, the city where I was born and grown up, Istanbul is another city that I never want to say good bye. It seems, the magic is there, to call me to return for hundred times.

In January 2017, it was my first winter in Istanbul. Three days after the snow storm hit Istanbul. I woke up in the morning, and opened up my curtain. The snow was still slightly falling. I had slept like fourteen hours to replace three sleepless nights for my Methodology exam. I still had to do another exam, namely for the class of Politic of Energy in International Relations. My friend Nasir sent me a text, to inform that Professor D.K already sent us the exam questions. I slightly glanced the questions. He gave us a task to write another academic article for three thousand words. To complete the exam, Professor D.K gave us five days to submit the article. But that day, I was really not in mood to think about the exam. I deserved to have some fun after spending most of the week at the library and home. Moreover, I already had a lot of resources that could support my argument for my article. So I did not have to look for another references. My reference stock was more than enough. Additionally, I got another notification from Bilgi University, mentioning that our campus was still closed due to heavy snow fall until the further notice. Therefore, that day, I decided to go out, to have some fresh air.

I did not have any particular destination. Therefore, once I reached the bus stop, I just hopped on the fist bus stopped in front of me. The bus took me to Ortaköy. It was not the first time I went there, but the view I saw that day was so different. Everything was so white. The buildings were covered by snow. Many shops were still closed. I took some photos and decided to have some walks to return to Dolmabahce Palace, and from there, would decide where I would go afterwards.

Istanbul, covered by snow.
Ortakoy Mosque, covered by snow, Istanbul, Turkey.
The port at Ortakoy, Istanbul.

Once I arrived in Dolmabahce, another strong snow storm hit me. I could not stay on the road. I had to find some shelter to kept me dried and warmed. Thank God, the Dolmabahce cafe was opened. I came into the cafe, and ordered hot chocolate for myself. I spent two hours there, waited for the snow to stop falling while observing anything that I could observed. Just a minute before I left the cafe, a friend, Zulfa texted me. She’s Indonesian and at the moment she was in Istanbul. We agreed to meet at Sultanahmet to have small talks. My impression when I arrived at Sultanahmet was similar to the time I arrived at Ortaköy. It felt weird to see Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia covered by white. They were so beautiful. The view that I could not get everyday. Another season I witnessed in this beautiful city. Istanbul, the magic city. No matter in what season I was there, the magic cover the city with the beauty.

The road at Ortakoy, Istanbul.
The road at Ortakoy, Istanbul.
The road at Ortakoy, Istanbul.
Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul.
Dolmabahce Mosque, Istanbul.
The clock tower at Dolmabahce Palace.
The snow at the complex of Dolmabahce Palace.
Blue Mosque or Sultanahmet Mosque, covered by Snow. Istanbul, Turkey.
Hagia Sophia, Covered by Snow, Istanbul, Turkey.
Hippodrome covered by snow. Istanbul, Turkey.
German Fountain, covered by snow, Istanbul, Turkey.
Sultanahmet Mosque, in the evening, covered by snow.

This post is my contribution for Lens Artists Photo Challenge.



    • Thank you, Jez. Snow normally comes to Istanbul every year, but not in big amount. It would melt after one or two days. This time was the heaviest snow since the past seven years. Mother Earth took my side since I really wanted to see the snow fall 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi, Nurul. I’m also surprised that it snows in Istanbul. What a magical day. I love your shot of Hagia Sophia in the snow and the man walking in front of the tiled wall. I’m so glad you shared this day with us. I’ve never been to Istanbul, but I want to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nurul – you are a magician too – these photos take us to an unknown (to me at least) Istanbul – I know of its beauty without snow, but have never visited. The Blue Mosque and Sultanahmet Mosque are exquisite in white cover – I can so understand that magical feeling you experienced!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Nurul, I am also sumatran girl like you. Now I am living in Japan for study. Visiting Istanbul is my dream and my husband dream as well, we have plan to go to Istanbul from Japan in near future. It is nice to read some about Istanbul from your blog 🙂 Does the snow usually fall in Istanbul during winter
    ? or this is only a rare occasion?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Fathiyya. Thank you for your comment, and please accept my apology for the late reply. Snow normally comes every year in Istanbul, but the light ones. It covered the ground, for one to two days, and sometimes, it disappeared in one day only. This magical winter that I had in Istanbul was an exception. We had snow storms and heavy snow, which people said that it was the heaviest in the last seven years. If you want to ensure that you will get the snow during winter in Turkey, you may consider to go to the mountain, or traveling to eastern Turkey, where snow is normally there. I hope you can make your dream come true anytime soon. My warm regards,


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