Don’t be shocked, but I truly believe the best time to visit Istanbul is right now, immediately after the terrorist attacks. Just pay attention on my words below. Then you’ll find the logic and could not agree more. I know the title is My TOP dangerous tourist spots in Istanbul and I’ll give you my optional list below. Meanwhile just read my statement.
All of us are aware of the fact Istanbul is one of the most beautiful, colourful and exciting cities. Unfortunately the terrorist attacks lately put under serious threat the safety in that stunning city. The tourists expectedly got scared and started cancelling their bookings. Especially after the last terrorist attack on June 28th at Ataturk International Airport, with 43 dead and more than 150 injured.
I’ve been more than 12 times in Istanbul, I know it as well as I know my hometown. Versatile, multinational and never sleeping, Istanbul remained for long time my favourite city to travel to. It seems to me that incredible megapolis was cursed. It began three years ago with the protests at Taksim square, when tear gas and bullets were used against the demonstrators. The downtown woke up, destroyed,full of fear. That was the first wave of violence.
Then the terrorist attacks from ISIS, killing people and threatening the tourist season. A bit later the conflict Russia-Turkey pulled away all the Russian tourists, a huge loss for the local travel industry. Now another attack directly to the most overcrowded distribution hub at the Asian-European door – Ataturk International Airport …
The officials confessed there is a visible ebb-tide of tourists. Cancellations are already up to 35%. The tour agents claim the percentage is even higher – not less than 60 %. It’s going to be a real catastrophe for the touristic 2016 season, whose pick is supposed to be at the moment. Istanbul streets are almost empty in the mid of the high season.
I actually think and would try to convince you, it’s the best time to go to Istanbul right now. I am not Turkish and am not trying to save the season. Honestly, look at the reality and the benefits. You know what’s the unwritten rule of the aviation? The safest time to fly is after an air crash event. It’s quite logical, because after an aircraft is sadly shot down, all airports and airlines start being cautious, tiding up the control and strengthening all safety procedures. Same here. My observations below about the current Istanbul tourist situation and the
potential benefits at the moment.
1. The terrorists never attack twice at the same place
2. Istanbul is empty and the usual crowd is pretty avoidable
3. The lack of crowd leads to lack of target for the terrorists
4. Cheaper hotels and package deals available in a high season
5. Better service, as the competition between the tourist service providers is higher, fighting to attract every client
6. Better security and safety procedures
7. Real chance to negotiate better price for transportation, guidance and bargains
8. No rush. The huge number of tourist groups was dramatically decreased, you can go everywhere regarding the plan
In case you agree and decide to visit Istanbul right now, what are the most dangerous tourist spots. Here is my TOP 8 scale, where number 1 is potentially most dangerous one. By my opinion, the threat is mostly for the European side of the city, where plenty of sightseeing and historical buildings are located. Just be cautious! As the officials said, the terrorists could be easily recognised during the high season, because they are the only one wearing jackets or long sleeve clothing, inappropriate for the summer time with temperature higher than 30 degree Celsius. Enjoy your time and plan it wisely.
TOP potentially dangerous spots for tourists in Istanbul
Ataturk International Airport
To be honest I was quite surprised by this attack. I know it was in the list of the expected ones, but I consider it difficult to be accomplished. By my opinion Ataturk International Airport is one of the best secured airports I have ever seen. You can’t access the airport without passing through the scanner control. Your baggage as well. That’s why the terrorist attack happened outside the airport entrance. I believe if you are just a transit passenger, connecting at Ataturk, the threat is actually zero, because the terrorists could not access the terminal inside.
It’s a very popular place, where mostly young people gather. It was the stepping stone for all the protests against the government 3 years ago. Highly respected spot by the locals. Spacious and crowded, it’s easy to be accessed by everyone. Just a few steps away from the most famous 5 star hotels in Istanbul. During the day the square is almost empty and no real threat.
One of the most visited sightseeing. The mosque itself I evaluate like zero threatened, but the huge square in front of it is the place for tourist groups gathering, for guidance and speeches. It’s a spacious open spot, covered usually by thousands of people. In January 2016 13 people got killed nearby.
Topkapi palace and Agia Sophia
The square in front of two of the biggest attractions in Istanbul is daily full of thousands of walking tourists, coming from all over the world. I don’t believe inside the sightseeing there is any chance of attack, but in front of them, buying tickets, gathering, passing each other – it’s really overcrowded. I accompanied there some of my mates for their first visit. Being exhausted after the long walk through the palace, my fellows decided to have a seat right in front of Topkapi entrance and to take a rest. Now I consider it a dangerous step, because that’s the spot where the people stream goes through. It’s a huge, overcrowded place, where any control can’t be applied. To me it’s a potentially risky area.
The Egyptian market
Overcrowded, many entrances and exits, easy access. Favourited by the tourists, because of the variety of spices, the Egyptian market is famous shopping spot. In addition, just across the main entrance is the harbour, where the boats for Bosphorus tours embark and disembark.
More less the same like the Egyptian market above, just I believe it’s more crowded. It’s known as the main bazar where hundreds of daily shopping vendors and pedlars ( also from neighbouring countries) use Kapili charshi as prime source of stocks and income.
Well… this was supposed to be my number 1. It’s the most popular shopping street in Istanbul, nearby to Taksim square. The history already knows some really bad accidents in that street and terrorist attempts for attack. 4 people were already killed after a suicidal bomb attack in 2016.
It’s non stop crowded by people, equally locals and tourists, rushing, walking, shopping or just sitting outside the cafes and restaurants. Plenty of narrow streets lead to Istiklal, so it’s really easy to be approached by anyone.
Sabiha Gokcen Airport
This is the second airport of Istanbul. It’s pretty far from everything, located in the Asian side. I was hesitating if Istiklal street or the airport will get my Number 1, as potentially the most dangerous spot. At the moment, I am sure the airport is under a strict control. But I was there. Mostly low cost airlines operate. My observation is for a not well secured airport. The safety procedures, check ups and control were not that strict, as they were at Ataturk International Airport.
My article doesn’t mean to frighten you, neither to figure out non-existing threats. On the contrary. As I said above, it’s the best time for visiting Istanbul. Just keep your eyes open and be cautious for unusual events around. Istanbul is incomparable and truly deserves its reputation as one of the most outstanding cities in the world. Don’t forget the fact about 18 million citizens live in this megapolis. You can join them, bearing in mind, but not being discouraged by my Top dangerous tourist spots in Istanbul.