Just west of Tourist Central.

Istanbul Travel Blog

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Church of the Holy Savior in Chora (Kariye Museum).
I have wanted to check out Kariye Museum since we arrived in Istanbul, but we’ve put it off because it’s on the Western side of the city and appears to be difficult to get to (and it is…I can now confirm it). It took a tram, two buses, a short walk, and two hours, but we made it there today.

This museum is actually a former church (the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora), and it is home to the "world’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 didn’t take very long to see, it was really incredible -- sparkling gold mosaics, bright frescoes.
Mosaic dome at Kariye Museum.
.. it seemed ancient but also looked almost new in parts because it was in such good condition. There were other visitors, but this site was not nearly as overrun as the main attractions such as Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern. It was nice to feel that we had strayed off the beaten path a little bit.

Our visit to the museum was a lot like Thanksgiving meal…a whole lot of preparation for about 15 minutes of happiness. We exited and wondered…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 “steps” and got a good view, but there wasn’t really anywhere to go from there.
Western neighborhood.
We traveled along the base of the wall some more then decided to head to the Golden Horn, which is the strip of water that separates the Old City from New Town. Along the way, we walked through neighborhoods… people were out shaking rugs, drinking tea, doing errands. It was kind of cool to see people just living their lives. Definitely no other tourists here… and we stood out like sore thumbs! Some boys saw us and said, “hello! money money!” and rubbed their fingers together. Yeah right.

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 haven’t been able to figure it out.
Waiting for the ferry.
..and here it was right in front of us. Sometimes things just work out. We bought tokens and boarded for a ride down the Golden Horn.

The ferry crossed to the other side, where we had seen some odd airplanes and a submarine of all things…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 things… 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 door… for example, the olive press started turning, and the saws started sawing, and the drills started drilling.
My dad will be happy to see me with a Beechcraft...
The place was huge and well built, and many people were working there, cleaning, building, maintaining. The sponsor, Mr. Koc, has spared no expense here. Until a huge group of school children came in, we had the place nearly to ourselves. It’s off the beaten path and maybe a little challenging to get to, but I would recommend this place as a nice break from the mosques and palaces.

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. It’s made of cast iron, and is decorative and very fancy.
Car display at Rahmi M. Koc Industrial Museum.
I would have liked to see it close up, but am happy we at least got a glimpse of it.

We got off the ferry at Karakoy, where we had a bite. It was 4pm and we hadn’t had lunch yet. I have no idea what we ate…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 loop…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, “let’s walk!” 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.

cmgervais says:
I know...there's so much to see and do in Istanbul! We'd go out to see one thing and end up seeing five.
Posted on: Jul 19, 2008
portia says:
that's a lot of variety for a day!
Posted on: Jul 19, 2008
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Church of the Holy Savior in Chora…
Church of the Holy Savior in Chor…
Mosaic dome at Kariye Museum.
Mosaic dome at Kariye Museum.
Western neighborhood.
Western neighborhood.
Waiting for the ferry.
Waiting for the ferry.
My dad will be happy to see me wit…
My dad will be happy to see me wi…
Car display at Rahmi M. Koc Indust…
Car display at Rahmi M. Koc Indus…
Bulgarian Church of St. Stefan.
Bulgarian Church of St. Stefan.
Mosaic dome at Kariye Museum.
Mosaic dome at Kariye Museum.
Kariye Museum.
Kariye Museum.
Detail on wall at Kariye Museum.
Detail on wall at Kariye Museum.
Kariye Museum.
Kariye Museum.
Kariye Museum.
Kariye Museum.
He doesnt look pleased! Kariye Mu…
He doesn't look pleased! Kariye M…
Another Jesus dome, Kariye Museum.
Another Jesus dome, Kariye Museum.
Steve in church.
Steve in church.
Kariye Museum.
Kariye Museum.
Mosiac domes at Kariye Museum.
Mosiac domes at Kariye Museum.
Groovy stone work, Kariye Museum.
Groovy stone work, Kariye Museum.
Flashy gold mosaics, Kariye Museum.
Flashy gold mosaics, Kariye Museum.
Kariye Museum.
Kariye Museum.
This guy was just hanging out with…
This guy was just hanging out wit…
Western wall of Istanbul.
Western wall of Istanbul.
Steve scales the wall.
Steve scales the wall.
Western neighborhood.
Western neighborhood.
Yep, thats a submarine. At the Ra…
Yep, that's a submarine. At the R…
Theres our ferry.
There's our ferry.
Rahmi M. Koc Industrial Museum.
Rahmi M. Koc Industrial Museum.
Dornier DO 28D-2 at Rahmi M. Koc I…
Dornier DO 28D-2 at Rahmi M. Koc …
One of the originals.
One of the originals.
Yeah, thats a DC-3. Old one, but …
Yeah, that's a DC-3. Old one, but…
Need work.
Need work.
The history of Apple, from then to…
The history of Apple, from then t…
I remember this when it was new...
I remember this when it was new...
The good old days...
The good old days...
I started a business with a couple…
I started a business with a coupl…
Car display at Rahmi M. Koc Indust…
Car display at Rahmi M. Koc Indus…
The flying car from the Harry Pott…
The flying car from the Harry Pot…
Thats my kind of car...pink!
That's my kind of car...pink!
1967 Mercedes convertible...SWEET!
1967 Mercedes convertible...SWEET!
Train engines. Rahmi M. Koc Indust…
Train engines. Rahmi M. Koc Indus…
A working olive press, Rahmi M. Ko…
A working olive press, Rahmi M. K…
Saw mill, Rahmi M. Koc Industrial …
Saw mill, Rahmi M. Koc Industrial…
More old stuff at Rahmi M. Koc Ind…
More old stuff at Rahmi M. Koc In…
Im glad we have airplanes now.
I'm glad we have airplanes now.
Thar she blows!
Thar she blows!
Riva boats (Italian).
Riva boats (Italian).
Suleyman Mosque.
Suleyman Mosque.
Karakoy wharf area.
Karakoy wharf area.
Me on the ferry, and the guy aslee…
Me on the ferry, and the guy asle…
Mystery lunch.
Mystery lunch.
Moon over the Bosphorus.
Moon over the Bosphorus.
Good night...
Good night...
Istanbul
photo by: Memo