Of all the sights I visited in Turkey, the stunning Hagia Sophia was number one on my list, but the Istanbul Archaeology Museums (group of 3) was a close second. This was in part due to not having to “fight” the crowds, as I did at the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Many organizations consider this museum one of the 10 best (not related to art) in the world. Consequently, I was quite surprised there weren’t as many tourists here as I thought there were going to be. More important, few areas in the world have been controlled or inhabited by as many different cultures as Turkey has; and, the museums offers a broad sample of the country’s archaelogical treasures and provides an excellent overview of the intertwining cultures that have shaped Turkey’s history.
As I indicated in a previous post, I have done quite a bit in Turkey, albeit, having the flu slowed me down significantly the last few days. Consequently, I haven’t had the time to post about all the places I have been. One of those places I discovered by mistake was the Spice Bazaar, i.e., I went on a long walk, that encompassed part of the Bosphorus shore line and came upon the Bazaar during this walk.
The Great Palace Mosaic Museum is located close to Sultanahmet Square, in Istanbul, Turkey, near Arasta Bazaar. This small museum houses mosaics from the Byzantine period, unearthed at the site of the Great Palace of Constantinople. I went to this museum Monday, but it was closed that day, so yesterday was my next opportunity to visit. I thought this would work out perfectly, if only because I was still recovering from the flu and thought it best that I not overextend myself. As it turned out, I probably did a bit too much yesterday, because later that evening I seemed to have relapsed. Regardless, the Great Palace Mosaic Museum was wonderful and I am glad I ended up going. Continue reading
Well, I feel a bit better today, as my flu symptoms seem to have improved or gone away. After breakfast this morning, I picked up my laundry at the cleaners. Afterwards, I decided to visit the Mosaic Museum, which I will tell you about tomorrow. Quite an amazing place. However, today’s post is going to be about Topkapi Palace. I visited the palace almost a week ago and I already am having a difficult time placing details to some of the photographs I took there. Consequently, some of these photos will not have a caption. I can only guarantee that they were taken at the palace. Grin.
This post may or may not be short, it all depends on how much I can focus, since I am sick with the flu. I went to Bursa, Turkey yesterday. It’s approximately 230-250 kilometers from Istanbul and consequently, it was a long day. The tour did take advantage of the ferry, which cuts the time it takes to get to Bursa and back. Nevertheless, I still didn’t get home until almost mid-night. Ugh. Fortunately, I had a good time during the actual tour, as the symptoms didn’t really hit me until the bus and ferry return. I knew something was up with my health, as I had been having a sore throat and a bit of chronic coughing the day before. I only had throat lozenges, so my nose drained constantly through the night, until I finally fell asleep from exhaustion.
The Church of the Holy Wisdom is known as the Hagia Sophia in Greek, Saint Sophia in Latin, and Ayasofya or Aya Sofya in Turkish. The current Hagia Sofia dates back to 532-537AD, with parts of it going back almost another 200 years. The monument is unique in its existence – having a base of both Christianity and Islam. Hagia Sophia, both architecturally and liturgically, was influenced by Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Muslim worlds. I had walked by the Hagia Sophia 5 days straight, without actually going in. It is also less than a half mile from my hotel, but still I did not enter this beautiful former Byzantine church and mosque, which is now a museum. Why not? Continue reading
A few posts ago, I mentioned that my fascination with Turkey and more specifically, with Istanbul, began with the James Bond movie, From Russia With Love. I first saw this movie when I was 10 years old. At the time, I recall thinking, “What a neat city – exotic and shrouded in mystery. I wish I could visit it some day.” Some 40 plus years later, I am doing exactly that. Continue reading
Even if I was a shopper, I would have a difficult time stuffing a Turkish carpet inside my back pack. Same deal with Alabaster bowls, plates, or chess sets. Turkey is also famous for inlaid wood products, spices, “Turkish Delight” baklava and other sweets, gold and silver jewelry, leather goods, and cashmere. However, none of that stuff is going in my back pack either. Sheesh, with my luck, I would buy some “kekik” (Turkish Oregano) and the police would make me a cell mate with some old toothless dude that Billy Hayes bunked with back in the 1970s. Regardless, I wanted to check out the hype about something called the Grand Bazaar. Continue reading
When you travel, you have to be a Plan B person. Stay flexible is my motto. The original round the world (RTW) plan was to hit the “hot and humid” countries first and then around late March, segue into the more frigid countries, which hopefully would be basking in early Spring like weather. My wardrobe choices such as t shirts, tank tops, and a couple of long sleeve shirts would be perfect for the weather I anticipated. In fact, I had been hauling around a fleece pullover, which I had worn on a cold freezing day in Denver nearly 3 months ago – to 4 countries before I dumped it in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Bye bye . . . Continue reading
So when a friend asks me to make sure I post pictures of the Blue Mosque, the informal name of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, I take these assignments seriously. Especially so, when it comes from a fellow San Francisco Giants fan. However, unbeknownst to me, this was going to be tougher than I anticipated. In fact, it took me most of the early morning and afternoon, before I would even sniff the Blue Mosque. Continue reading