Just west of Tourist Central.
Istanbul Travel Blog› entry 147 of 251 › view all entries
July 17th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
This museum is actually a former church (the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora), and it is home to the "worldâ€™s finest" Byzantine mosaics. They are in excellent condition because they were plastered over during the 16th century when the church became a mosque. Although the place was small and didnâ€™t take very long to see, it was really incredible -- sparkling gold mosaics, bright frescoes.
Our visit to the museum was a lot like Thanksgiving mealâ€¦a whole lot of preparation for about 15 minutes of happiness. We exited and wonderedâ€¦well, what now?
We decided to check out this west side a little more. We were near the old city wall, dating from the 5th century, so we walked along it a bit until we found a place were we could walk up on to the wall. Some places were crumbling and some had been restored. Steve climbed up a section with very narrow, steep â€śstepsâ€ť and got a good view, but there wasnâ€™t really anywhere to go from there.
We finally made it to the water area after feeling lost for about 40 minutes, and headed to a park called Ayvansaray, where I was really happy to find a ferry stop. I have been wanting to ride a ferry, but we havenâ€™t been able to figure it out.
The ferry crossed to the other side, where we had seen some odd airplanes and a submarine of all thingsâ€¦turns out it was a museum, so we decided to check it out, and got off the ferry after just a 5-minute ride. It was a museum about the history of technology, called Rahmi M. Koc Industrial Museum, and it was a great place full of the most random thingsâ€¦ in addition to the sub, various ships, airplanes and trains, he had assembled new and old cars, computers (including the various versions of Apple computers, which I loved), washing machines (cut open so you could see how they worked), computer games, etc. etc. etc. Some of the machines were set up to come alive when you entered the doorâ€¦ for example, the olive press started turning, and the saws started sawing, and the drills started drilling.
We then got back on the ferry and rode it to Karakoy. On the way, we spotted a church we had wanted to see, called the Bulgarian Church of St. Stefan, built in 1871 by the Bulgarian Orthodox community trying to exert its independence from the Greek Orthodox church. It was built in Vienna, dismantled, and reassembled here. Itâ€™s made of cast iron, and is decorative and very fancy.
We got off the ferry at Karakoy, where we had a bite. It was 4pm and we hadnâ€™t had lunch yet. I have no idea what we ateâ€¦super thin layers of pasta with spinach and cheese, I think. It was tasty and fairly cheap, so no complaints.
We then made our way home, first on the tram and then on a jam-packed bus. I hated that bus ride! We were all squeezed in together and I was just dangling off the hand loopâ€¦flying this way and that as the sadistic driver slammed on his brakes and swerved around corners. Just as I was about to tell Steve I had to get off the bus NOW, he turned around and said, â€śletâ€™s walk!â€ť So we got off and walked the rest of the way home along the water, which was beautiful and once again lined with people fishing for those itty bitty fish.
We bought ridiculously overpriced peaches from our neighborhood fruit shyster, and sat in front of the water to eat them, making a big mess of it because they were so juicy. Yum! That was a good end to our day out West.
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