So, a couple of years back, (pretty sure it was in 2013), I spent a week in gorgeous Turkey. However, I have since acquired a new phone as my old phone broke, parting me from my photography I took on my travels. Therefore this post will not be full of photos, as I have no personal snaps, but alas may contain an occasional Google Images (most probably photoshopped) photo. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this post, and please feel free to comment or like, or even just wait in anticipation for the next blog post. Enjoy!
Istanbul. This extremely cultural city, hosting a variety of historical events, ranging from the Roman Times to the Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire. During my stay in Istanbul, I remained in the Otel Fuar Hotel, which I reccomend highly; they supplied the yummiest food (such as spicy lentil soup) as well some as the comfiest beds I have ever stayed in.
The first day consisted of visiting the legendary Blue Mosque (pictured above (as I mentioned before, courtesy of Google Images)), Sultanahmet Square, Basílica Cistern, Ayasofya Müzesi, Chora Museum and the Spice Bazaar.
Luckily I kept all of my leaflets I received over the course of my cultural stay, so am able to use this information in my blog. The Blue Mosque was built between 1609-1617 by Sedefkar Mehmet Aga upon the order of Sultan Ahmed 1, who became King at the young age of 14, and Sedefkar was only 19 when he was ordered to build this historical aftifact. This Mosque is a masterpiece built with the understanding of the Great Architect Siman in the 17th century.
The Blue Mosque also contained a hospital, a madrasah (higher education institution), a soup kitchen, a primary school, a bazaar (market) and a tomb for the members of the Royal Family . As well as this, there is also an individual room called a Muvakkithane, where an astronomer did calculations of the times of prayer and other important occasions in the Muslim Calendar.
This Mosque is famous for the Blue Tiles (originating from Iznik) and other handmade tiles that adorn the interior walls of the Mosque, giving it its Western Name of Blue Mosque. In total, there are more than 21 000 tiles decorating this splendid Mosque.
Within Sultanahmet Square, or Hippodrome, I saw the Egyptian Obelisk, as well as the Stone Obelisk and the Serpentine Column, that weee originally brought to Turkey by Emperors and were used to decorate the Hippodrome. These again, were spectacular, and helped me to open my eyes about the culture of Turkey.
The Basilica Cistern, again, wow. One of the largest of hundreds of underground, ancient Cisterns, that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. According to Historical Figures, people have deduced that around 7000 slaves were involved in the complicated construction of this complex system. The Basilica Cistern provided a water filtration system for the Great Palace of Constantinople and other buildings on the First Hill, and continued to provide water to the Topkapi Palace after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 and into modern times.
The Afosofya Müzesi, as pictured above, was again gobsmacking. This ancient Byzantine Church was built by Justinian 1 between 532-537 AD after the Niko Riot, and this museum boasts many decorative mosaics in this church of Jesus and Virgin Mary.
The next Museum I visited, the Chora Museum, is again a church of the Holy Saviour and is considered to be one of the most beautiful surving examples of a Byzantine Church. Likewise with The Afosofya Müzesi, the interior is adorned with fine mosaics and frescoes.
The Spice Bazaar, or Misir Carsisi is located behind the Yeni Mosque at the entrance of the golden horn, or bay of Istanbul. This incredible Bazaar sold spices, nuts, teas, Turkish delights, honeycomb, essences and even more. I was lucky enough to find a Turkish delight stand that sold the most delicious treats I have had in a very long time.
The next day, I visited Gallipoli and Çannakale. I visited the Battlefields and Sites were the Dardanelles Campaign took place (a WW1 campaign that took place on the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Ottoman Empire between the 25th April 1915-9th January 1916). I also visited a beach that represented the Battle, as well as many graveyards were the never forgotten soldiers now lay.
In Çannakale, the Asian Part of Troy, I visited the archaeological site of Troy, which is currently more than 4000 years old and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the World. And in 1870, Heinreich Schliemann made the first excavations at the site.
I continued my cultural journey around Turkey by staying in the Grand Anzac Hotel, situated close to the coast and boasting brilliant views.
The following day, I returned to Istanbul to visit the Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar.
Topkapi Palce was the first Ottoman Palace to be built in 1466-1478 in the newly conquered capital of the Empire by Mehmet 2, however this palace is not a single monumental structure but a more organic complex made up of various kiosks, gardens and areas spread over the tip of the histórica, peninsula at the entry of the Golden Horn. Then in 1924, the Topkapi Palace was turned into a museum and has since become one of he most attractive and famous palaces/museums in the World.
Then I arrived at the Grand Bazaar. Wow. Wow. Wow. I thought I had seen it all at the Spice Bazaar, but no. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.you can really picture the immense size and scale, as well as atmosphere, of this cultural experience.
Everywhere I looked, spices filled my nostrils, bright colours and silks overwhelmed my sight and loud chatter weaved in and out of my ears. I, of course, did quite a bit of shopping whilst in there, including a Turkish Bowl, Turkish Scarf, plenty of Evil Eye Charms, Spices, more Turkish Delights. I was in heaven, it was truly and unforgettable visit.
I would upload a photo of the Grand Bazaar, but unfortunately WordPress is reporting an error, so I have attached a link to a photgraphic website which represents my still very vivid memories. Grand Bazaar.
The next day was my last, so it only consisted of me travelling to Istanbul Airport to catch my late plane home.
Overall, Turkey was a very eye opening trip, and for everyone who hasn’t been or is considering to go , I urge you, GO!
If you are there at the moment, please try and find a Tulumba, a small sweet delicacy which I consumed constantly throughout my trip.
– Navigatio Travel