(A guest post from my husband, Roy)
A roundup of a few shorter visits — The Topkapi Palace ( that was suddenly closed as we arrived because of a sudden dust storm, that also closed souvenir sellers), the Grand Bazaar, Church of SS Sergius and Bacchus (now a Mosque, and called Small Haghia Sophia), the Basilica Cistern, and sights on the street.
Topkapi Palace (Entrance Only)
|Entrance to Topkapi Palace Gardens|
|A row of tulips (Topkapi gardens)|
|Entrance of Topkapi Palace Enclosure
(see details below)
Alas we were at the exit very soon
|Blue Mosque through the exit from Topkapi|
|An interesting building being build just outside the Palace|
|detail of above|
|Street light near the Blue Mosque|
|Anita and Irene in front of Hagia Sophia|
The Grand Bazaar is one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops — we explored less than 1% before emerging with our booty. The guidebook advised us not to miss the many surrounding shops, but we had had enough. It is not a noisy Middle Eastern market with vendors hawking their wares, and is actually more peaceful than most Western shopping malls!
|Ceramics of all sorts — wall tiles, table tops, clocks, bowls, plates, vases, figurines, … All beautifully painted by hand or machine.|
|Lamps and textiles|
Church of SS Sergius and Bacchus built by Justinian and converted to a mosque and now known as Little Hagia Sophia Mosque (Küçuk Ayasofya Camii) is in an unpromising residential area near our hotel
It looks like a Byzantine church on the outside
but like a mosque inside
|Lovely soft carpet underfoot|
|A color scheme for the interior of the domes above the entrance|
The Basilica Cistern (Turkish: Yerebatan Sarayı – “Sunken Palace”, or Yerebatan Sarnıcı – “Sunken Cistern”), built by, you guessed it, Justinian. The columns are 9 meters tall, and there are over 300 of them, so it is like a massive flooded crypt. Now there are only a few feet of water, but someone has introduced goldfish.
Most of the columns aresmooth with an ornate capitol. However, for reasons unknown, there are two with Medusa head bases and one carved column. Ofcourse, these columns were not desiged to be see by the publish, so they were probably just left overs, and defectives.
|Sideways Medusa head base|
|Inverted Medusa head base|