A Travellerspoint blog

ISTANBUL, TURKEY

Two days in Istanbul for the last tour then start the next tour of 8 days in Turkey with two more days in Istanbul

large_8E3D0FF7DDEF2390E4D08E6A5F917F98.jpg

Our next trip is around Turkey and then a Greek Island cruise to Athens.
Here it is.
large_9171A2D6E0B7CECA4727DED0C9D9AB4B.jpg

SOFIA-ISTANBUL, TURKEY
Today, Thursday 25 September, we leave Bulgaria and continue to Istanbul, founded by the Greeks as Byzantium more than 2,500 years ago, renamed Constantinople in 330 AD when the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great selected it the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, and finally called Istanbul after the Ottoman conquest in the 15th century.

After a drive of 567km we reached Istanbul where we have two nights in Istanbul as part of this particular tour and then a further two nights in Istanbul as the start of the Tour around Turkey.

The border crossing at Bulgaria and then into Turkey took some time. Even with this we arrived at our hotel at 7.00pm.
large_C8309C3ADAFEC126A5EFEC3FDD965AE1.jpg
Sea of Marmara
large_C831A209F59CA4EBADF95F67DEF9CAB9.jpg
The outskirts of Istanbul - better roads in Turkey but loads more traffic. Istanbul has a population of over 12 million.
large_C8332AA2D156550C2DBFA41A9404FF7E.jpg
Housing in an outer suburb
large_C8344FA8C4501E55DB873880CCE928AD.jpg
Construction sites are everywhere.
large_C8357822F10F9880ECC0EBF36B62185D.jpg
View of the Golden Horn from our room at the Hilton
large_C835EE99E0B03BB37C1FF35079D1C4BC.jpg
View from our room.
large_5E6EA036BF58A8F0EF057F318C2CE5F8.jpg
The Golden Horn in daylight

On Friday 26 September we had a city guided tour. First of all we visited Topkapi Palace. The Topkapı is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey, that was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for approximately 400 years (1465–1856) of their 624-year reign.

As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is now a museum and as such a major tourist attraction. It also contains important holy relics of the Muslim world, including Muhammed's cloak and sword. The Topkapı Palace is among the monuments contained within the "Historic Areas of Istanbul", which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

The palace complex consists of four main courtyards and many smaller buildings. At its peak, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people, and covered a large area with a long shoreline. It contained mosques, a hospital, bakeries, and a mint. Construction began in 1459, ordered by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Byzantine Constantinople. It was originally called the New Palace (Yeni Saray) to distinguish it from the previous residence. It received the name "Topkapı" (Cannon Gate) in the 19th century, after a (now lost) gate and shore pavilion. The complex was expanded over the centuries, with major renovations after the 1509 earthquake and the 1665 fire.

After the 17th century, the Topkapı Palace gradually lost its importance as the sultans preferred to spend more time in their new palaces along the Bosphorus. In 1856, Sultan Abdül Mecid I decided to move the court to the newly built Dolmabahçe Palace, the first European-style palace in the city. Some functions, such as the imperial treasury, the library, and the mint, were retained in the Topkapı Palace.

Following the end of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, Topkapı Palace was transformed by a government decree dated April 3, 1924, into a museum of the Imperial era.

large_05FFC8B1D7154BCA2571AD8A2EDE1B99.jpg
Water fountain in the time of Ahmet 111.
large_06009EBDD99AEA6ECFD7B691C2C10B30.jpg
Main gate into Topkapi Palace
large_06017EEA94C8575BACFDE69A427F770E.jpg
Security at Topkapi
large_0602F9329E584F7EBA30E2CB727A238B.jpg
Topkapi Palace
large_060478F7CAF9B7D3618773225FA1ACA7.jpg
The Diwan -place where people meet with the Grand Vizier
large_0605D1E6F0D1D625B49C2A2A1B52A51E.jpg
Cupola in the Diwan
large_0607238EA0E7CA65F6D34731A2B89EE7.jpg
Information
large_06084C20AB76D5C53B7BAF552E7D2C4F.jpg
View of the Bosphorus from Topkapi
large_060998F3C24ABAF36D20E047910CA17C.jpg
View of the Bosphorus from Topkapi
large_060AF00EC03AACD0666A89ED70274FE1.jpglarge_060DA8B1E60C467F6FFABEFBE8A4013C.jpg
Leaving Topkapi Palace

Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. From the date of its construction in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.

The Church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity, its patronal feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the Birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia (as though it were named after Saint Sophia), sophia being the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture." It remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the previous two having both been destroyed by rioters. It was designed by the Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus, a physicist, and Anthemius of Tralles, a mathematician.

The church contained a large collection of holy relics and featured, among other things, a 15-metre (49 ft) silver iconostasis. The focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius on the part of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act which is commonly considered the start of the Great Schism.

In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks under Sultan Mehmed II, who ordered this main church of the Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque. By this point, the Church had fallen into a state of disrepair. Nevertheless, the Christian cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers and they decided to convert it into a mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels and other relics were removed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his Mother Mary, Christian saints and angels were also removed or plastered over. Islamic features – such as the mihrab, minbar, and four minarets – were added. It remained a mosque until 1931 when it was closed to the public for four years. It was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey.

From its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby larger Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque of Istanbul) in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul.
large_1A8C85E0E727F3C764F0A94E5A4B6632.jpg
Hagia Sofia
large_1A8E51BEB62B60B05D9CAF170BD99EC5.jpglarge_1A8FDB82B54DEE48C2AAA473E0EF8524.jpg
Entrance to Hagia Sofia
large_1A91143DC8D61CE2A5BE6344A3E74361.jpg
The great dome
large_1A9218AABA2D1C8E157C626445B91554.jpg
Frescoes in Hagia Sofia
large_1A932DADD71DA4C6A297923B1F5BF3F9.jpg
View from the upper storey of Hagia Sofia
large_1A94525DC590719C6B78673E50CA89A3.jpg
Inside the Hagia Sofia
large_1A8D8A04D64F3A3C6019FE8EDC8A07F8.jpg
Street stalls near the cathedral
large_1A97B78AB879372981898088E1176F5C.jpg
Turkish carpets are beautiful. This one is from East Anatolia, the eastern half of Turkey.

Here are some scenes around the Grand Bazaar.

large_4CD24C9BE2EA189568AFB6AA8BF7C55F.jpglarge_4CD57C49C539EE462ACA55EC2CB3B024.jpglarge_270_4CD77D87F3AA864E35DA0C4586682B90.jpg
Grand Bazaar built 1461
large_5E3F02CCD46DA937D3BD7EE594E2732B.jpg
The whole Bazaar has many passages with tiny shops
large_5E7E6E10E7F8E8A2944F102EE3D77169.jpg
Shops outside the Grand Bazaar
large_5E8081C5A7AA938F8039B4187335E7C7.jpg
The Pudding Shop - Colleen introduced me to the phrase about "people have a pudding pocket" so they can eat dessert even when they are full.

large_4CF3DFBA0A595510FBB9297C21F24C15.jpg
View from the restaurant on top of our hotel

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is a historic mosque in Istanbul. The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.[2]

It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Its Külliye contains a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is still popularly used as a mosque.
large_5FBD2F30E40F4AA5FAAB23BE393CB83E.jpg
The Blue Mosque
large_5ECCDE1EEC3FB55F591EDE7B504D32FD.jpglarge_5ED31A6AF9589EFC93B7772EC51B034E.jpglarge_5EE42948F650DC900CD3CB23FFDCA0F2.jpglarge_5EE26F93A94241B7B0C75A2A554EA6CA.jpglarge_5EDD3836B3C8BF1A647CD0769E7BA2EF.jpglarge_5ED74EF29A75D01DFFD884A3831C0A24.jpg

large_5EC8DFAFD57B00DE0979090C60F9F294.jpg
This obelisk is from the Temple of Karnak in Egypt and is more than 4 500 years old
large_5ECA6336EFB5E9AA31CEB972A1B73FD9.jpg
The base of the Obelisk
large_5EC7979EB4E728FB8C9931EF5F3C3BC0.jpg
The Million Mile Marker
large_5EF0CC06A7783731941FB25C637B5AB2.jpg
The Million Mile marker

The Basilica Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. The cistern, located 150 metres southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.

This cathedral-size cistern is an underground chamber approximately 138 metres by 64.6 metres - about 9,800 square metres in area - capable of holding 80,000 cubic metres or 100 000 tonnes of water. The ceiling is supported by a forest of 336 marble columns, each 9 metres high, arranged in 12 rows of 28 columns each spaced 4.9 metres apart. The capitals of the columns are mainly Ionic and Corinthian styles, with the exception of a few Doric style with no engravings.
large_5EB3B265FDEEE0D1A9EA8CB67552B1D3.jpg
Inside the Basilica Cistern
large_5EB773B2A47286E7C079E5E0768582A1.jpg
Many different columns
large_5EBC89BB06A3CE0D00B8157A33940919.jpg
This Medusa column is built upside down
large_5EBFABA8DBEEA5A1F4A9E9453B95048E.jpg
large_5EE9DFCCF3F5F398A1B7CACD6A12D6B2.jpg
As we left the Blue Mosque, we took this photo of the Hagia Sofia through the gate
large_5FE98E1D98059F9D7A57F27577123B9F.jpg
Last view of Istanbul. This is the Bosphorus with its very busy shipping between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea

In the morning we visit the Grand Bazaar the travel across to the continent of Europe to travel down along the Sea of Marmara and then down to Gallipoli. Were are really looking forwarding to visiting Gallipoli and Lone Pine in the afternoon.

Posted by Kangatraveller 08:15

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint