06 March 2011

Istanbul: Sights

Aya Sofya (Haggia Sophia), Greek for "Holy Wisdom," built around 630 BCE it served as both basilica and mosque before it was deconsecrated as a museum in the 1930's. This is the one they teach you about in college, its the big one. Really, its enormous. The striking face of the Virgin juxtaposed with the Islamic elements is a beautiful representation of both religions that recognized this as a holy site. I thought the most fun part was the series of ramps leading to the upper galleries, it was easy to imagine being in another time inside the sloping tunnels.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque, build between 1609 and 1616). When we went in I covered my hair with a scarf and they wrapped a cotton skirt around my waist that reached the floor.
Topkapi Palace was stunning, it was a kaleidoscope of colors, glass and patterns. Among the interesting things we saw were the Harem, the fancy jewel collection and the saucepan of Abraham.
The Grand Bazaar, filled with winding, twisting alleys and beautiful things to buy. I haggled and won a good price for some beautiful souvenirs.
Galata Tower, where I put my back against the wall and walked around to get a 360 degree look at Istanbul. I am so incredibly terrified of heights, so the tower on top of a steep hill was quite a challenge.
Troia (The lost city of Troy. Yep, that same city from the Illiad), I don't recommend going here if you don't spend more than a day. It was 14 hours round trip for a 35 minute tour. There isn't much to see, but we weren't able to walk around and take it in after the walk. Besides that it was incredible to see how old this site is, and all the people that recognized it as a special place. Thousands of years and various civilizations including ancient Greek and Roman settlements.
Yerebatan Sarnıcı, or the Basilica Cistern is the largest one of many in the city. It is beautifully spooky with the Medusa head columns at the back. There is a cafe and stage and seeing a concert in this strange and lovely place would be awesome.
St. Savior in Chora is really off the beaten track. Its confusing to find if you aren't willing to spend for a cab, but its worth every penny. This was my favorite place in all of Istanbul. It was once a beautiful church in the fields outside the city walls, and was eventually converted to a mosque. However, many mosaics and paintings are still intact. The one of Mary and Jesus below was so gorgeous, the colors and the rendering of the faces were so perfectly plasticine. They could have stepped off the wall, in their folded shadowy robes and flushed skin. I could have stood there all day.

23 comments

  1. Cool. What an exotic and interesting place. My favorite picture is the one of you in St. Savior.

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  2. Wow, so gorgeous. I love these photos and it really has opened my eyes to a beautiful place I probably would never have thought of going to before!

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  3. These photos are all so gorgeous! It looks like you're having an amazing time.

    xoxo ~ Courtney
    http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

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  4. lovely photos.. =)

    Krystal
    http://krystalpearl.blogspot.com

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  5. LOVE this! I haven't stopped by your blog in a while; can't tell you how excited I am that you trekked off to Turkey in my absence!

    All of your photos are really great, too. The subjects are interesting AND they're well taken. Nioce!

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  6. these are seriously gorgeous photos!! as with the commenter above, i've been mia from the blog universe for about a week and these photos are such a wonderful surprise! hope you're having the time of your life!

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  7. these photos are so beautiful! and what an amazing experience! i love it!

    X

    and thanks for your sweet comment, dear! and as for my photos... geez, i always feel they are far from perfect!!

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  8. wow, this is amaaazing! Now I really have the urge to go to Turkey!

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  9. ohh these pictures are so wonderful!

    im hosting a giveaway on my blog casper&pearl.

    casperandpearl.blogspot.com, have a looksy!

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  10. These photos are all really gorgeous Kallie! I feel all inspired to start my photography night class tonight :D (and to visit Istanbul but sadly that's not imminent!)

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  11. I'm reading a book called "Byzantium" at the moment (I am a history person) and I've just been reading about the Hagia Sophia! I'm so glad you've allowed me to take a look inside :)

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  12. love the blue scarf..
    great photos

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  13. Oh my goodness Istanbul is absolutely stunning, as are your pictures. And I am loving those lanterns; such gorgeous colours & intricate patterns -so magical. xx veronika

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  14. Wow the photos are so stunning! Love the one of the rose by itself and the ones of the Bazaar, magical xx

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  15. These are so beautiful! Seeing places with such history just leaves me with a loss for words. These are wonderful pictures but they are making me NEED to travel again!! I hate being poor! haha

    Shy

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  16. amazing photos! now I totally want to visit someday!

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  17. these photos are all breathtakingly beautiful. i'm practically speechless. i've been dying to go to turkey since i started poking around in sufism, and the absolutely gorgeous buildings and landscape have only solidified my need to visit!

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  18. Stunning! Amazing pictures - amazing places :)

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  19. Istanbul was Constantinople, now it's Istanbul not Constantinople, so if you've a date in Constantinople she'll be waiting in Istanbul!

    sorry, I had to. :P

    I AM SO EFFING HAPPY FOR YOU!! What an amazing experience, everything looks beautiful, I wanna go soo bad!

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  20. Ahh such beautiful pics!! I want to go shopping in The Grand Bazaar!

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  21. I loved this so much!! All the pictures were gorgeous & I loved your commentary too. You've made me want to go to Turkey so bad! I got the shivers just thinking how old everything is. hehe

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  22. My mind= blown. These photos are breathtaking! I loooovvvveee the set from the Haggia Sophia and of the lanterns but honestly everything looks so beautiful it's hard to narrow it down.

    I would love to visit one of these days :)

    xx
    MILK TEETHS

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  23. Stunning! Amazing pictures - amazing places :)

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