We rode the metro to 4. Levent station, which is connected to the building. We went through security, entered the mall, and found the ticket booth for the observation deck, and were directed to the elevators.
General admission was 18TL for the observation deck only, which is open from 10am to 10pm. 28TL gets a combo ticket for the observation deck and SkyRIDE Istanbul, a nauseating 4D helicopter simulation around Istanbul. The extra 10TL for the combo ticket is worth it. Isaac and I had a good laugh when it was over. There’s also an overpriced café up there.
At the top, we took a walk around the open air observation deck and saw many of the famous and historic sites of Istanbul with the Princes’ Islands in the distance. It would have been better with sun, obviously, but the view was kind of disappointing anyway.
The building is located a bit far away from places like Sultanahmet and Galata, but they were visible.
The sad reality of the view shows the lack of green spaces in Istanbul, minus the cemeteries and a few tiny parks.
After finishing at the observation deck, we had some extra time. We decided to check out the Jale Kuşhan Balmumu Heykel Müzesi (wax museum) on the bottom floor of the mall. We were expecting a cheesy little museum with creepy figures. Our expectations were met but it was actually enjoyable at the same time.
There are a few halls to go through and it’s possible to get a very enthusiastic guide in English for no extra cost. They will explain some of the historical figures along with a small demonstration on how the wax figures are made. The museum is open between 10am and 10pm. Admission is 15TL (as of November 2016).
One of the halls is dedicated to figures of Turkish history, including many important Ottoman sultans and their wives.
There are also other Turkish historical figures such as engineers and warriors.
Turkish writers and philosophers make up a good chunk of the figures.
A small section contains some Islamic scholars and philosophers.
Another hall showcases famous modern figures from around the world. There are Soviet leaders, French royals, musicians, actors, politicians, and more. Many of them were bought from a St. Petersburg wax museum when the museum was first founded.
Not surprisingly, a special section is dedicated to a few figures of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk along with other Turkish politicians.