Monday, December 18, 2006 Turkey Turkey

Slowing down and doing the tourist thing

The cheesiest possible photo of İstanbul, but it had to be done. [IMG_0430]
Minarets at sunset [Enlarge]

Of course there's a lot more to do in İstanbul than dodging carpet sellers and negotiating visas and we've indulged in our fair share of touristic activities.

Aya Sofya: [photos] Also known as Hagia Sofia, and St Sophia Museum. This building started life as a Christian Church, but was converted into a Mosque in the early Ottoman era. In the process the Christian mosaics were plastered over and the building painted in Islamic style. It was made into a museum by Atatürk and restoration work is ongoing.

Yerebetan Sarnıcı: [photos] The Basilica Cistern is a vast underground chamber, constructed to provide the city of İstanbul with water. It has an amazing vaulted ceiling and some strange upside down statues of Medusa in the far corner. It's also famous for a scene in From Russia with Love where Sean Connery is escaping from some bad guy or other in a rowing boat.

Topkapı Sarayı: [photos] Home to generations of Sultans and Sultanas, this huge palace is the epitome of opulent living. Glenn decided that his next career should be 'Being a Sultan'.

We wanted to visit the Sultan Ahmet Camii (Blue Mosque) [photos] but unfortunately Glenn succumbed to a bout of the Sultan's Revenge which meant that he had to stay very close to a toilet for the last three days of our stay. In the end he has had to use some of our small supply of Pepto-Bismol to cork himself up for the long coach trip to Çanakkale.

Other than that, there has been much chilling out, drinking of tea, and eating of every variety of kebab. See the previous paragraph. We feel rested and ready for the next phase of our journey—a ten-day tour of Turkey followed by seven days in Syria.


Jimmy K. said...

The upside down Medusa is a case of recycling material used from other

sultanahmet said...

Basilica Cistern is a great structure.

I liked it.

I will be ther at 2010 too.