Ottoman Coffee House, Istanbul

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Old Time Coffeehouse (Kiraathane), Istanbul, Turkey

Fragrant Coffee & Pungent Smoke

Dodge into a low stone doorway on Istanbul‘s Divan Yolu near Beyazıt Square and this is what you’ll find: an old-time Ottoman-style kiraathane (coffeehouse).

Take a seat on one of the low benches covered in soft, colorful Turkish carpets and a waiter will bring you fresh hot teaTurkish coffee, a soft drink, and perhaps a nargile (water pipe).

I’d love to tell you that this great old place is an imperial survivor, a corner of old Constantinople that time forgot, but of course that’s not the case. It’s a revival: the owner’s idea of what it was like back then.

More or less. Let’s face it, the place is cleaner and more attractive, the coffee better, the nargiles and carpets in better shape than they ever were in Ottoman times. Women and foreigners are now welcome.

All the better. All the better!

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