We stayed first in the vicinity of Beyazit Square, near the Grand Bazaar.
Here’s the layout:Thanks for the borrow of the map from Каппадокия и другая Турция. Путеводитель. Oops — think the Hotel Niles is a block west of the location circled.
Near the hotel the busy thoroughfare is called Ordu Caddesi (= Street) …
Thanks to Google Earth for this image. Ordu Caddesi runs approx. East-West. Further east it becomes Yeniçeriler Caddesi, then Divanyolu Caddesi. Beyazit Square is the raggedy-ass open area middle left, between Ordu Caddesi and Beyazit Camii (=Mosque). Hotel Niles is at bottom left, Constantine’s Pillar middle right.
Our admittedly tiny room was about $130 a night (10 percent off if you pay cash) including a lavish buffet breakfast in the charming rooftop dining place. Factor in unfailingly hospitable, helpful staff. We judged it a good deal in high season.
Our point of reference the huge minaret with the distinctive scaffolding near Beyazit Square (looking north from the rooftop of the Hotel Niles):
The little mosque in that picture was our local source of prayer, delivered by loudspeakers beginning about 5:30 am. It is en route to Beyazit Square. The write-up:
Elsewhere in the neighbourhood …
Bought a three-day museum pass at the hotel. Great deal, and we would not otherwise have seen the Museum of Archaeology, the Mosaic Museum or the Chora Church by Theodosius’s walls. The card allows you to breeze up to the front of most lines. It worked at AyaSofya, but not at Topkapi Palace, the vast multi-walled domain of the Ottoman rulers, their courtiers and eunuchs and wives and concubines and all.
You had to queue up in sub-lines to see the individual parts. So popular.
Inside the harem quarters …
What are we looking at? Don’t know. Don’t care much — all that extravagance and tyranny. Imprisonment! Death on sultan’s whim! Comes the revolution … oh, wait, it already came. The seraglio was disbanded in 1909 (see newspaper article What really went on in the harem?) and the sultanate abolished in 1922 … The harem quarters have been open to the public since 1960.