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Istanbul Travel Blog

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Haghia Sophia in the evening sun

The next morning we woke up early as well; again to the Morning Prayer at 6am but this time we didn’t hear the night receptionist join in. We looked at each other and decided to again be the early raisers and go for breakfast. We were the first but as the day before a lot of the other people from the hotel followed our example very fast and joined in.

The weather was not as good as the day before but it was still close to 17-18 degrees; we decided to do like the day before and walk in the city while Kaija was feeling good.

The entrence to Topkapi Palace
We walked pass the Haghia Sophia and turned towards Topkapi but like yesterday it was closed this early. Outside the entrance the first Japanese tourists were lining up the get in. We turned away from Topkapi and walked along Soguk Cesme and end enjoyed the well preserved wooden hotels which were situated along the wall around Topkapi. The hotels were the typical old style with their closed balconies hanging over the street; I had read somewhere that the insurance on these wooden houses were horrific due to the tradition of city fires over history, but these houses were wonderful.

We turned into the Gulhane Parki and enjoyed strolling around in there without meeting anybody except the hordes of wild green parrots flying amongst the tree tops and making and enormous noise while flying. We walked down the harbour and smiled towards the waiters which were rebuilding their outdoor cafés after the tourist invasion from the day before. One of the things I really enjoyed in Istanbul was all the friendly faces who were always smiling at you.

Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
After this we went back to the hotel in order to put my poor girlfriend to bed again, she was starting to feel her fever again.

I left to visit the Blue Mosque from the inside. It was just passed 10.30 and the hordes tourist in busses had arrived and at the same time it was time for the normal Sunday visits to the Mosques. The queue to get in was not that long and it went fast to get in. We had all naturally to take our shoes off, and with my shoes in my hand I walked into this carpet covered huge room with hordes of tourist following the different guided tours in all possible languages.

I stayed there for a while and decided to go outside again which took a bit longer due to all the old ladies that had to put their shoes on again.

Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
I laughed about all the people sitting on the stairs just next the sign which explained that you were not allowed to sit there, put sometimes respect for local rules are not applied. The time was now close to 12 and I decided to visit one of the small cafés to have a strong cup of coffee and just enjoy the view of the mosque from the nearby square and smile to all the fellow tourists walking by.

It was enormously pleasant to sit there in the sun so I decided to follow my coffee up with a small cold beer before walking again. I walked in the opposite direction of the attractions down to the water and the small steep streets where the houses were in another condition than in the main tourist route.

After a couple of hours I walked into the bazaar area where I was met by a lot of friendly people telling me that it was closed, but I just wanted to walk the streets.

The Blue Mosque
Suddenly it started to rain and to blow heavily; actually so heavy that many of the goods from the street vendors were flying in all directions. I walked close to the walls of the houses in order not to get to wet but I had finally to give up and take cover at a Starbuck Café. I spent the most of 1½ hour there reading whatever I could and listening to the stories around the tables before I found a hole between the showers.

I walked by the hotel to check on Kaija but she was still ill and wanted to sleep. I therefore decided to visit Haghia Sophia which for me was the main goal of my trip. The church is massive and almost 1500 years old and for almost 500 years the principal mosque of Istanbul. When the church was completed in 537 AD, the Haghia Sophia was the largest church in the world, and Constantinople (Istanbul) was the world's largest city and today it is the 4th largest church building in the world.

Plese do not sit on the stairs

Haghia Sophia is a former patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture. It was the largest cathedral ever built in the world for nearly a thousand years, until the completion of the Seville Cathedral in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between A.D. 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and was in fact the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site (the previous two had both been destroyed by riots).

It was designed by two architects, Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles.

Inside Haghia Sophia
The Church contained a large collection of holy relics and featured, among other things, a 50 foot (15 m) silver iconostasis. It was the patriarchal church of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and the religious focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly 1000 years.

In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and Sultan Mehmed II ordered the building to be converted into the Mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed, and many of the mosaics were eventually plastered over. The Islamic features; such as the mihrab, the minbar, and the four minarets outside, were added over the course of its history under the Ottomans. It remained as a mosque until 1935, when it was converted into a museum by the Republic of Turkey.

For almost 500 years the principal mosque of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia served as a model for many of the Ottoman mosques such as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque of Istanbul), the Ĺžehzade Mosque, the SĂĽleymaniye Mosque, and the RĂĽstem Pasha Mosque.

The blue mosque in the morning

The building's central interior part measures 100 meters long and 70 meters wide (interior dimensions of the central praying hall), and is capped by a magnificent dome with a diameter of 31.87 meters and an interior height of 55.60 m.

The original dome was completed in 537 AD. 25 years later, in 562 AD, it was replaced by the current dome which is 6.25 m taller, giving the church its current interior height of 55.60 m. The dome is supported by semidomes acting as buttresses and the interior features coloured marble colonnades supported by columns topped with elaborately carved capitals.

I must say that I was amazed by the enormous building and I had to constantly remind myself that this wonder was almost 1500 years old. I was picturing the huge amount of people that over the years had walked here and I felt good that a building like this had survived so long.

Goodnight to the Blue Mosque
This church was something special to me. I stayed in there until they closed walking every corner and just sucking in history.

After this I had a diner just around a corner where I could watch the building from distance. After diner I returned back to my sick girlfriend who were still sleeping and who had missed all this; I decided on that spot that I had to go back here one day and show her this beauty.

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Haghia Sophia in the evening sun
Haghia Sophia in the evening sun
The entrence to Topkapi Palace
The entrence to Topkapi Palace
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
Plese do not sit on the stairs
Plese do not sit on the stairs
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
The blue mosque in the morning
The blue mosque in the morning
Goodnight to the Blue Mosque
Goodnight to the Blue Mosque
The view from the breakfast terrace
The view from the breakfast terrace
The backyard mosque
The backyard mosque
Sunday morning in Istanbul
Sunday morning in Istanbul
Go get your water
Go get your water
The mosque in our hotel backyard
The mosque in our hotel backyard
Haghia Sophia
Haghia Sophia
The entrance to the Topkapi Palace
The entrance to the Topkapi Palace
One corner of Haghia Sophia
One corner of Haghia Sophia
The surround system of Istanbul
The surround system of Istanbul
The flip side of Haghia Sophia
The flip side of Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Behind Haghia Sophia
Behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
The rubber figs
The rubber figs
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
The strets behind Haghia Sophia
The strets behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
Nice hotels behind Haghia Sophia
The next project;)
The next project;)
The next project;)
The next project;)
The park behind the Topkapi Palace
The park behind the Topkapi Palace
The park behind the Topkapi Palace
The park behind the Topkapi Palace
Small restaurant street the mornin…
Small restaurant street the morni…
In front of the Blue Mosque
In front of the Blue Mosque
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Tomb of Sultan Ahmet I
Firez Aga Mosque
Firez Aga Mosque
Towards Haghia Sophia
Towards Haghia Sophia
Colourful restarant
Colourful restarant
Colourful restarant
Colourful restarant
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
Before the hordes of tourists
Before the hordes of tourists
Bihind the bars
Bihind the bars
Entering The Blue Mosque
Entering The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque
Inside The Blue Mosque
Inside The Blue Mosque
Inside The Blue Mosque
Inside The Blue Mosque
Inside The Blue Mosque
Inside The Blue Mosque
Inside The Blue Mosque
Inside The Blue Mosque
Inside The Blue Mosque
Inside The Blue Mosque
Outside the Blue Mosque
Outside the Blue Mosque
Outside the Blue Mosque
Outside the Blue Mosque
An obelisc
An obelisc
Empty streets of Istanbul
Empty streets of Istanbul
Naval school
Naval school
Old houses
Old houses
Steep streets down to the water
Steep streets down to the water
A trap for the night walker
A trap for the night walker
Small city mosque
Small city mosque
Narrow street
Narrow street
Old house
Old house
Towards the sea
Towards the sea
A graveyard cat
A graveyard cat
Istanbul Graveyard
Istanbul Graveyard
Istanbul Graveyard
Istanbul Graveyard
Istanbul Graveyard
Istanbul Graveyard
The Princes Mosque
The Princes Mosque
Just outside the Bazaar
Just outside the Bazaar
The wind is attacking and rain is …
The wind is attacking and rain is…
The wind is attacking and rain is …
The wind is attacking and rain is…
Outside Haghia Sophia
Outside Haghia Sophia
Outside Haghia Sophia
Outside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Looking out from the first floor o…
Looking out from the first floor …
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Looking towards the Blue Mosque
Looking towards the Blue Mosque
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Outside Haghia Sophia
Outside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia under the Sul…
Inside Haghia Sophia under the Su…
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia and the loge …
Inside Haghia Sophia and the loge…
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
The library inside Haghia Sophia
The library inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Inside Haghia Sophia
Outside Haghia Sophia
Outside Haghia Sophia
The first school
The first school
Maroons anyone!
Maroons anyone!
Narrow streets
Narrow streets
Old wooden houses
Old wooden houses
Firuz Aga Cami mosque
Firuz Aga Cami mosque
Colours as we now them everywhere
Colours as we now them everywhere
Streets of Istanbul
Streets of Istanbul
Streets of Istanbul
Streets of Istanbul
The Blue Mosque and the evening sun
The Blue Mosque and the evening sun
Chicken!
Chicken!
Run Ronda Run!
Run Ronda Run!
Streets of Istanbul
Streets of Istanbul
Firuz Aga Cami mosque
Firuz Aga Cami mosque
Just next to the Basilica Cistern
Just next to the Basilica Cistern
Colours of October
Colours of October
Haghai Sophia
Haghai Sophia
One of the towers of Haghia Sophia
One of the towers of Haghia Sophia
Cosy Green Café
Cosy Green Café
Alemdar Cd
Alemdar Cd
Trees of Istanbul
Trees of Istanbul
Istanbul Sights & Attractions review
Awesome
I must say to this day that few building had larger impact on me than Haghia Sophia which for me was the main goal of my trip to Istanbul besides visi… read entire review
Istanbul
photo by: Memo