Tuesday, December 07, 2010

day II part 1: within lstanbul, all attractions are in close proximity

What I meant from the title was the fact that, all the sites of attraction in this post were within walking distance from one another so it made it easier to view all of them within one day. Turkey is a country rich in history, as it was once a Christian country and then it became Muslim country through Ottoman Empire rule.


Also known as Sultan Ahmet Meydani (Square). Hippodrome comes from Greek words "Hippos" meaning horse and "Dromos" meaning path or way. The area here used to be a chariot-racing track.

German or Kaiser-Wilhelm fountain
The German emperor presented this fountain to then Emperor of Turkey as token of friendship. Do look at the ceiling of the dome, its colours were beautiful.

Obelisk of Theodosius aka Egyptian Obelisk
There were a few obelisks like this. This one I like because of the Egyptian hieroglyphics.It was originally made in Luxor and then shipped to Constantinopole (old capital, now Istanbul). The base is particularly interesting as it shows the life of the people way back when.

The road next to Hippodrome Square
There were more to see at roads nearby. A small cafe with fresh orange and / or pomegranate juice and souvenirs.


One of the most well-known mosque in the world
Finished by 1616, this mosque has truly stand the test of time. It is also well-known for its 6 minarets, something not most mosques have. The word "Six" in Turkish (Alti) is almost similar to "Gold" (Altin). 

Tried using B &W filter
I don't usually take black and white photographs because I am not good in it. But I kinda like this one. Taken in the mosque courtyard.

Mom, our tour guide Eric and moi
Our wonderful tour guide, Eric. His name is actually Erkal but it's kinda hard to pronounce it so he just asked us to call him Eric. Its something like "Air-Cal", his name.

The Friday prayers were about to begin so we had to leave early
Inside the mosque, the interior design is a marvel. It's called Blue Mosque mainly because of the blue tiles that adorned the interior. Religion does not allow them to design human or any figurines so the tiles were arranged in mosaic style, creating unique patterns everywhere.

Mosque was decorated with colourful tiles
They still kept this old paraffin oil lamps chandeliers which are kept really low - something about them not being good reflectors of light and also easier to reach.

Walking across from Blue Mosque to next destination
Outside, you can find many vendors selling roasted corn, bread / pastries and chestnuts.


St. Sophia is just a stone throw's away
We then walked to Hagia Sophia or Aya Sofya, another must-see attraction. It initially served as a cathedral in Constatinopole era but then Ottoman changed it into a mosque, adding a dome and minarets. But Father of Modern Turkey, Attatürk reopened it as a museum in Istanbul.

The entrance to St. Sophia
It means "Holy Wisdom" in Greek. St. Sophia was its old name, as a cathedral.

Gold ceilings adorned the corridors
Much of the Christian designs has been replaced with Islamic designs when it was transformed to a mosque. E.g. the cross design on the door was modified into an arrow design.

Fusion of both Christian and Islamic designs
Inside is colourful. Can still see the Christian churches influence, despite the Muslim religion adornments placed everywhere, like the Arabic letters depicting names of prophets and emperors placed at each corner.

The seraph in the middle, the six-winged angel
I love all the colours, very pretty despite some parts have peeled off or plastered over, it is really old. 

I love these vintage "chandeliers"
You can still see the chandeliers, just like in Blue Mosque.

I forgot what was beneath those grills but people were sure interested
Every part of this museum tells a story. There was even a design dedicated to God of Sea, Neptune or Triton. And Lustration Urns from Pergamon. And mosaic design of Virgin Mary and Child, flanked by Justinian I and Constantine I. 

Next post: Istanbul Topkapi Palace and Bosphorus River

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