While CYAN was docked in Finike...we had paid for a months dockage to have some work done ...we flew to Istanbul for a few days. That’s all it takes to see the main attractions there but they are interesting and exotic.
The architecture of the Hagia Sophia was so remarkable for it’s early age and it has made it through the ages so well considering the fact that it was turned into a mosque and then into a museum. We have included a photo the icon of Christ that is in so many art books. It was inspiring to see this artwork in it’s element and to so many others like it in detail.
Icon of Christ
We visited the Topkapi Palace. This huge Ottoman palace is where hundreds of wives and concubines were housed for 400 years and the most you could say is that it’s really big and very over done with not much architectural significance or consistency that I could see. There is some culture and history and the gardens were nice. The middle-easterners really get into rugs and pillows and tiles all in a vast number of contrasting designs and colors. There were huge numbers of jewel encrusted weapons and decorative items on display that we had to wait in lines to see....then wondered why! Sort of overwhelming!
Tiles at Topkapi Palace
We saw the gigantic Blue Mosque that the residents all want to make sure you see but we were not as impressed with it as we were the Hagia Sopia. No one says “you must see the Hagia Sophia” because it was originally built as a church...they all want you to see the Blue Mosque. It is just big and blocky and almost trying to outdo the Hagia Sophia. It was built almost 1000 years later. It has thousands of textured tiles stuck all over it instead of icons and levels but they make for a beautiful interior view.
Exterior of Blus Mosque
Interior of Blue Mosque
On another note...the tile murals in the public transportation stations areas were just amazing. Turkey has some great new artists coming along today. I was very entertained as a modest ceramic worker myself, to see them all over Istanbul and loved them all.
We also might mention that the food in Turkey is really some of our favorite. We have especially liked the food since coming to the middle east and it’s been quite a surprise.
The Grand Bazaar was grand but there were no bargains to be found at all. the vendors were very polite and friendly though.
We made a special effort to visit a Church, turned mosque, turned museum in north Istanbul called Chora Church known for out standing ancient frescos and mosaic icons dating 1300's and the foundation of the building from 600AD when it was a monastery. We really liked the curious design and were impressed at the quality of the work...inspirational!
As much as we liked Istanbul, it just doesn’t compare to the wonderful coastal towns. The people and the villages and the markets with their fresh veggies are making Turkey such a joy and now we can see why some of our cruiser friends have been raving about it here and we have made a special effort to get here.
We are at Topkapi Gardens overlooking the Bosphorus,
the body of water connecting the Black Sea to Sea of Maramara