Istanbul is a hodgepodge of monuments, which is not surprising, considering its long, long, long history. You'll find Roman and Byzantine ruins, Ottoman mosques and castles from the Crusades. Today we found an ancient aqueduct, one by the Roman emperor Valens, with a road underneath it. Cars cross through the narrow openings.
While traversing the city, we constantly thought something big was going to happen, because there was police everywhere to act against violent demonstrations, related to the elections (see yesterday), but nothing noteworthy happened in our vicinity. Afterwards it turned out there was a big fight down at Tunel square. I'm glad we were not present.
Today was also the day of the Grand Bazaar. The biggest bazaar in the world (4000+ shops).
Inside the grand bazaar.
And yes, every time we entered it, we got lost. But the life, the energy, present at such bazaars is fascinating. There are weird shops all around you (some sell gold bars) and you can eat and drink there as well. At least two times I bought some great baklava with Turkish coffee, which is very sweet. It is also one of my hobbies to collect little miniatures of famous buildings from every major city I visit, so here I found a nice miniature of the Hagia Sophia and I managed to get it cheaper after some bargaining. A prerequisite for visiting a bazaar.
There is one tower always present when you get a great view over Istanbul: the old Galata tower. After seeing it so often, we decided to visit it. It's a real adventure to get there, through many twisting little alleys with many little shops with or without walls around them. We climbed the tower and got an excellent view of the city, but did not attend the belly-dancing party we received a folder about.