- Chora Museum
- Topkapi Palace
- Hagia Sophia
- The Blue Mosque
- The Grand Bazaar
- Other posts in this series:
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 0 Anticipation
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 1-2 Brisbane – Sydney – Abu Dhabi – Athens
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 3 Corinth and Athens
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 4 The Oracle of Delphi
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 5 Athens – Istanbul – Cappadocia
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 6 Kaymakli, Sultanhani Caravanserai, Konya
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 7 Mevlana Museum, Pisidian Antioch
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 8 Hierapolis, Pamukkale Pools, Colossae, Laodicea
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 9 Philadelphia, Sardis, Kusadasi
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 10 Ephesus
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 11 Patmos
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 12 Smyrna, Thyateria, Pergamon
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 13 Assos, Alexander Troas, Troy
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 14 Gallipoli
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: Day 15 (and 16) Istanbul
- Reflections on the Trip of a Lifetime: In Review
It has twice the population of the largest city in Australia. The road rules seem to be taken as no more than a set of suggestions, and the place has a throbbing sense of irrepressible life about it that’s hard to describe.
This building was built initially as a church, later turned into a mosque, and is now officially a museum. One of the fascinating things about the place is that when the Muslim community turned it into a mosque, they actually preserved the frescoes and mosaics in a remarkable way: Mosques are not adorned with icons in the same way that Roman and Greek churches are, so when the Muslims took over they plastered over the top of all of the decorations without harming them. In the process they provided a wonderful barrier against the elements. As a result, the museum has absolutely stunning frescoes and mosaics, because they have been removing the plaster to reveal the frescoes.
This is the only site where I purchased a book. I knew that I would need to refer to it in order to reinterpret my photos! The frescoes are arranged to tell the gospel stories, and other traditional and biblical accounts.
The palace of the Sultans in Istanbul is surreal. It is vast, lavish, historically fascinating, and picturesque… it’s actually like a small town, all by itself.
I suggest playing this audio while cruising the photographs. It is the Call to Prayer from the local mosque, which was happening as we were leaving the palace complex.
The best bits were not allowed to be photographed, but here’s a taste of parts of the palace:
The church of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom / Wisdom of God) was built in 415AD. This is pretty significant. Emperor Theodosius I made Christianity the only legal religion of the Roman empire in 393AD. Less than twenty years later, Theodosius II built the Hagia Sophia church!
Unfortunately it burned down and was rebuilt, but this is a church site which has connections to some of the very earliest Christian times of the Roman Empire. The church which stands today dates from 537AD!
One of the fascinating features is that the central dome of the building is so immensely heavy that there are pillars in the church which lean over, and solid granite and marble floors that are buckling from bearing the weight of it. After all, it’s been there for like, 1500+ years!
It is impossible to depict the immensity and scale of the place with photographs, but here’s a few anyway …
The Blue Mosque
It was interesting, but difficult to photograph inside.There is a massive chandelier hanging from the very high ceiling, but it hangs at just above head height, which renders photography very difficult!
The mosque has a few rules, which amount to cultural norms. One of them is that everyone must remove their shoes. This sounds lovely and pious, but the process itself, and the fact that everyone is then carrying their shoes, means that the result is an omnipresent odoure de foote.
Another cultural norm is that women have their head covered. Thanks for modelling this for me, Kim! Just quietly, I found that the way the girls wore their head scarves was very pretty, as you can see from Kim’s example (my apologies for a blurry photo). Well done, ladies!
The Grand Bazaar
It was like something out of a movie (literally… James Bond’s “Skyfall” included a scene filmed at the Grand Bazaar)
I followed Bariş down some lane ways, around some corners, through tunnels and stairs, and we suddenly arrived at a small shop, completely concealed from any casual observer and impossible to find unless equipped with a white rabbit. It was his friend, who was in a position to offer quality, genuine fake Rolex and other items. Ian, our group leader, wanted to buy some gifts…
I didn’t have the chance to stop and take photos, let alone figure out which way we were going. I just followed. This is one courtyard. From here we took a hard right, and ducked into a hallway!
Other posts in this series:
Expectations These are my thoughts as I pack for a Study Tour of Greece and Turkey with my Bible College: Intellectually My thinking process…
Brisbane - Sydney - Abu Dhabi - Athens Day 1 is mostly travel. In fact, it's hard to define what, precisely, is a "day" when you cross so many time…
Corinth and Athens We drove down the coast to Corinth in the morning, and returned to Athens after lunch to see the Parthenon and…
The Oracle of Delphi We headed out from Athens, and in a two hour trip we saw an amazing landscape change from cityscape, to countryside, to…
Athens - Istanbul - Cappadocia Just as we started to get used to Athens, we were off into the great unknown territory of Turkey. Unknown, that is,…
Kaymakli, Sultanhani Caravanserai, Konya For many in the group, the day began with a hot air balloon ride! They tell me it was amazing, and…
Mevlana Museum, Pisidian Antioch Beforehand, I would have expected Mevlana Museum to be irrelevant, and Pisidian Antioch to be somewhat interesting.…
Hierapolis, Pamukkale Pools, Colossae, Laodicea Oh my goodness, what a day! Hierapolis Hierapolis is mentioned in the Bible only…
Philadelphia, Sardis, Kusadasi Happy birthday to me! January 18th is my birthday, and someone on tour happened to ask, just a couple of…
Ephesus Just when you think you've got no more "wow", there's Ephesus... The whole site is like a visual feast. It reminded me of those…
Patmos We had an early start, so that we had time for the four hour boat ride to Patmos from Kusadasi... and four hours back again! We passed…
Smyrna (Izmir), Thyateria, Pergamon (Bergama) It's a big day when you visit three sites. On top of that, two out of these particular three were…
Assos, Alexander Troas, Troy Today we visited three sites, and all were impressive. It was another big day for all of us. He didn't let on, but I…
Gallipoli Without any hesitation I can state that this was the most moving and emotional day of the tour. Gallipoli is special. Here it…
Istanbul This is quite a town! It has twice the population of the largest city in Australia. The road rules seem to be taken as no more than a…