Istanbul, Day 6

Istanbul Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 13 › view all entries

Geez, where to start.  We arrived in Istanbul this afternoon around 3:30.  I really wasn't expecting to be impressed and was wondering why we had so much time here, but the city is amazing.  We only had a short bus tour this afternoon and will go back out for the day tomorrow.  The city is huge and crowded (13 of the countries 17 million people live here), but it's also beautiful.  The remains of the city wall (12 linear miles) still exist in most places and are in the process of being restored.  The walls, like most things in this part of the world seem to, date from about the 4th century BC.  Battles and earth quakes have taken their toll, but the government is in the process of restoring them and building parks and gardens around the perimeter.

  The people also seem to be genuinely interested in making sure that the 'western' travelers leave with a positive image of the area.  Everyone we've run into, even in the crowded spice market, has been extremely friendly. 

 

The market was amazing in it's own right.  It's called the spice market, but there is a much wider variety of things available there ��" most are food related, but also soap and jewelry shops.  The merchants will accept the Turkish Lira, Euros, or U.S. dollars, so the shopping is easy.  They don't tend to "negotiate" prices though, probably because so many of the shoppers are locals.  Tomorrow weâ're going to the Grand Bazaar and we've been told that haggling is a must there.

 

 

The other interesting thing about the city is that it is spread over two continents.  Roughly half of the city is in Europe and the other half is in Asia.  The two areas are separated by the Bosporus Strait.  The bridge over the strait is just ahead of where our ship is docked.  It's "wired" with fiber optics and is a continuous light show at night.  We're docked on the European side of the city, but I've included a couple of night photos of the bridge and also a mosque and another building across the straight on the Asian side of the city. 

 

Trivia:

Istanbul, etymologically, derives it's name from a Greek phrase that translates to "in the city" or "to the city".

  Byzantium is the first known name of the city.  When roman emperor Constantine I  made the city the new eastern capital of the roman Empire on May 11, 330, he conferred on it the name Nova Roma.  Constantinople (City of  Constantine) was the name by which the city became more widely known.  It remained the principal name used for it in the West until the early 20th century.  The city has also been nicknamed "The City of the Seven Hills" because the historic peninsula, the oldest part of the city, was built in seven hills, each of which bears a historic mosque.  With the Turkish Postal Service law of march 28, 1930, the Turkish authorities officially requested foreigners to adoptIstanbul as the sole name in their own language.

 

Tomorrow we'll see more of the city and will most likely have many more photos.

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The Asian side of Istanbul
The Asian side of Istanbul
There are mosques everywhere.
There are mosques everywhere.
jellyfish beside the ship
jellyfish beside the ship
Blue Mosque (not a great picture, …
Blue Mosque (not a great picture,…
part of the ancient city walls
part of the ancient city walls
the remains of an old Roman aquadu…
the remains of an old Roman aquad…
More of the walls, they were built…
More of the walls, they were buil…
a restored section of the wall
a restored section of the wall
. . . and the surrounding parks an…
. . . and the surrounding parks a…
the ceiling of the spice market.
the ceiling of the spice market.
the bridge connecting European Ist…
the bridge connecting European Is…
Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque a…
Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque …
Istanbul
photo by: Memo