A visit at Sofia's

Istanbul Travel Blog

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Roasted chestnut and sweet corn cart

After a reasonable night’s sleep we went for breakfast before setting out to explore the sights.  Turkish breakfast was a mixture of cheeses, simit`s (savoury bagel), bread, olives, jams, honey, cucumber, tomatoes, boiled eggs... the list goes on! and of course terrible tea and very strong coffee.  I stuck to the simple things like cereal and cheese although I did like the Hava a sweet desert made of Tahini!  Today we planned to explore Hagia Sofia and the underground  Cistern and if we have time the Grand Bazaar.

We wondered up to Sofia which wasn’t far from the hotel. We paid our 20 Liras at the entrance and first explored the Sultan’s tombs.  There were three in total each housing a Sultan and his family. Inside the tombs were coffins covered in like a green velvet some small which were probably children and some large.  After exploring the tombs we made our way into Sofia which started out as one of the greatest churches in Christendom before conquering Ottoman’s turned into a Mosque by adding minaret’s and removing the cross from the top of the dome.  It remained a Mosque until 1935 when Attaturk proclaimed it a museum.   Inside its magnificent and you could still see remanent’s of Christian mosaic’s.  They were renovating half the inside of it so come back in a few years it will look truly magnificent inside.  They were quite a few tourists but not too many that it became too much of a hindrance. After exploring the ground level we then made our way up the stone tunnel like ramps to the Balcony’s where there were a few displays and you could get a closer look at the ceiling. One thing that was striking was the lovely hanging chandeliers throughout the building.  Coming out of Sofia we were peckish so we grabbed a grilled corn from one of the corn and chestnut carts.  I bit into it and quickly spat it out again it was disgusting he had put salt on it, yuk!  It was flavourless and dry I binned it quickly.  We wondered over towards the Blue Mosque and passed another tomb, this one was of Sultan Ahmet so we ventured inside.  We then found a kebab place and went up onto the balcony, this was the lunch stop.  We had nice views of the Blue Mosque and opposite to our eatery was another lovely looking Mosque, we were in time to hear the call of prayer. 

After lunch we sought out the Basilica Cistern which dates back to Byzantine times and was used to store water for the Palace’s.  The place was fascinating, dark with a touch of coloured lighting to add atmosphere.  Water was still in the Cistern and fish inhabited the watery basement.  At one end were two large stone carvings of Medusa’s heads supporting a couple of pillars. Our visit to the Cistern was followed by a visit to the Grand Bazaar, the Bazaar was a huge maze of shops which you just got yourself lost in.  It was divided up into sections, leather goods together, jewellery in another section etc etc, we didn’t aim for particular sections we just wondered as we saw fit.  There were shops after shops of carpets,  ceramics, leather, jewellery, trinkets, coloured lamps, clothes and each seller trying to beckon you in! It was nice to see the Bazaar but I couldn’t help feel that everything started to look the same after a while, how many coloured lamp stalls can you look at! It was just so repetitive so we got out of there.

Resting place of Sultan's at Hagia Sofia
  It was getting late anyway so we stopped for dinner at this nice restaurant that we had our eye on the last couple of days. It was called Aman and it was quite authentic with its colourful floor cushions,  low tables, rugged floor and Turkish musicians for entertainment.  The food was delicious and the entertainment added a nice touch, a good finish to a great day out.

 

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Roasted chestnut and sweet corn ca…
Roasted chestnut and sweet corn c…
Mausolem at Hagia Sofia
Mausolem at Hagia Sofia
Resting place of Sultans at Hagia…
Resting place of Sultan's at Hagi…
Resting place of Sultans at Hagia…
Resting place of Sultan's at Hagi…
Resting place of Sultans at Hagia…
Resting place of Sultan's at Hagi…
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
The lovely dome roof inside Hagia …
The lovely dome roof inside Hagia…
Marble pot inside Hagia Sofia
Marble pot inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Displays inside Hagia Sofia
Displays inside Hagia Sofia
Photos of Hagia Sofia with no peo…
Photo's of Hagia Sofia with no pe…
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Remnants of Christiananity inside …
Remnants of Christiananity inside…
Inside Hagia Sofia
Inside Hagia Sofia
Top balcony in Hagia Sofia
Top balcony in Hagia Sofia
The tunnels that take you up to th…
The tunnels that take you up to t…
Remnants of Byzantine architecture…
Remnants of Byzantine architectur…
Leftover ruins to what was once th…
Leftover ruins to what was once t…
Coffins inside the tomb of Sultan …
Coffins inside the tomb of Sultan…
Sultans tomb
Sultans tomb
Simit cart
Simit cart
Lunch stop at a cheap kebab house
Lunch stop at a cheap kebab house
Entrance sign to Basilica Cistern
Entrance sign to Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
Basilica Cistern
One of two of Medusa head Basilica…
One of two of Medusa head Basilic…
One of two of Medusa head Basilica…
One of two of Medusa head Basilic…
Entrance to Grand Bazaar
Entrance to Grand Bazaar
One of the shops in the Grand Baza…
One of the shops in the Grand Baz…
Inside the Grand Bazaar
Inside the Grand Bazaar
Inside the Grand Bazaar
Inside the Grand Bazaar
A shop selling Belly dance costume…
A shop selling Belly dance costum…
Inside the Grand Bazaar
Inside the Grand Bazaar
Dinner at Han restaurant
Dinner at Han restaurant
Surrounded by nice cushions in Han…
Surrounded by nice cushions in Ha…
By dinner in Han Restaurant
By dinner in Han Restaurant
Nice dinner at Han Restaurant
Nice dinner at Han Restaurant
Istanbul
photo by: Memo