Entry #08: One week in Istanbul
Istanbul Travel Blog› entry 9 of 46 › view all entries
October 24th, 2007 – by: musicdan
Istanbul is incredible! The city bustles with so many people. You can feel the pulse as you walk anywhere. I stayed in the old quarter on the European side in an area called Sultanahmet. My hotel was around the corner from the Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque. The Aya Sofia was the largest church outside the Vatican and built in 542 AD!! But, in 1473, the Ottomans came and converted it to a mosque. As you can see in my photos, the Muslim artwork is simply laid on top of the Christian paint. In some places, the 1,500 year old Christian paint now shows again!!
Directly across from the Aya Sofia - staring down at it's face is the famous Blue Mosque - a mesmerizingly enormous mosque with 6 spires.It is the only mosque in the world outside of Mecca that has 6 spires.
I spent one week in Istanbul, relaxing in my beautiful hotel and explore leisurely with NO pressure. I ate slow meals and toured historical sites. The people we much more friendly and helpful than I had imagined. I spent much of my time visiting the areas of Taksim and Sulthanamet. I shopped in the crazy OLD BAZAAR and the SPICE BAZAAR. I didn't realize I was such a 'shopper' until I had to ship a 10kg box home. I even took a Turkish bath in a 1,500 year old marble Hamam! It was quite an experience. I felt like a true Sultan - though I had no harem....
Istanbul is inundated with monstrous mosques that create a mezmerizing horizon from every angle. The sunlight at dusk creates a magical feeling in the air - one that you can't help but be reminded of every evening as the call-to-prayer begins. Sometimes it feels as though the mosques are competing with one another as they all call-to-prayer at the same time, always blasting over their loud speakers placed strategically on the tops of their spires.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Istanbul - and in Turkey altogether. Now, I am preparing for the next phase of my journey, as I am soon leaving for India......
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