Hello everyone, I am sorry for lacking of "serious" update. Ok, I promise this one will be one of it.
Last year, over the Christmas break we had a little adventure to have a little taste of Turkey. So we choose Istanbul.
Here is my picture in the Grand Bazaar, Sultanahmet area. I shall elaborate my experience in further details later in this entry.
We arrive at Ataturk Airport fairly late in the night. But of course, having our brain and sleeping time 2 hour early, 10 o'clock midnight does not feel that late. So we head to this little cafe for snack.
Immediately I know, that most of young single men here LOVES children. Every single waiter on the cafe, kiss, cuddle, gave sweets, talks, tease my son.
Of course he does not mind the attention :-)
We start the day with something rather... light. We didn't aim to see Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque (both are the main attraction in Istanbul) straight away.
We decide to go to Basilica Cistern.
The Basilica Cistern (Turkish: Yerebatan Sarayı - "Sunken Palace", or Yerebatan Sarnıcı - "Sunken Cistern"), is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), Turkey. The cistern, located 500 feet (150 m) southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I.
Historical texts claim that 7,000 slaves were involved in the construction of the cistern.
The enlarged 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.
52 stone steps descend into the entrance of the cistern. The cistern is surrounded by a firebrick wall with a thickness of 4 metres (13 ft) and coated with a waterproofing mortar. The Basilica Cistern's water came from the Eğrikapı Water Distribution Center in the Belgrade Forest;which lie 19 kilometres (12 mi) north of the city. It traveled through the 971 metres (3,186 ft)-long Valens (Bozdoğan) Aqueduct, and the 115.45 metres (378.8 ft)-long Mağlova Aqueduct, which was built by the Emperor Justinianus
Next, we went for "shopping".
Although I am not the fans of shopping - visiting Grand Bazaar is a must! It is not exactly the place to look for bargain to be honest. It's so touristy I am quite sure the local get their things elsewhere. But it's just a fascinating place. It full of lanterns, handmade carpets, silk, sweets, jewellery, precious stone, copper, and even gold!
Below, I am standing in the middle of the alley in Grand Bazaar. We are pretty lucky that it is this empty. On my right is Turkish smoking jar, with boxes of spices (strawberry, jasmine, apple flavour) - not that I try any of that.
The Grand Bazaar (Turkish: Kapalıçarşı, meaning Covered Bazaar) in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 covered streets and over 4000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.
Opened in 1461, it is well known for its jewelry, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by the type of goods, with special areas for leather coats, gold jewelry and the like. The bazaar contains two bedestens (domed masonry structures built for storage and safe keeping), the first of which was constructed between 1455 and 1461 by the order of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. The bazaar was vastly enlarged in the 16th century, during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and in 1894 underwent a major restoration following an earthquake. The grand bazaar consists of 12 major buildings and has 22 doors.
First encounter with strange all sort of strange dips. But they are all so tasty!
This is the reason I came to grand bazaar...
You can also watch people making their food fresh from the ingredients! I think in Sultanahmet area this kind of thing is kind of "performance", since the local knows how fascinated tourist with this.
For dinner, we decide to try one of the fine dining in the area. I tell you that the food is excellent and so is the service!
Hagia Sophia (from the Greek: Ἁγία Σοφία, "Holy Wisdom"; Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia; Turkish: Aya Sofya) is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey.
Over looking Blue Mosque from Hagia Sophia upper chamber.
From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople of the Western Crusader established Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1934, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935
Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture."
It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the previous two having both been destroyed by rioters. It was designed by Isidore of Miletus, a physicist, and Anthemius of Tralles, a mathematician.
Later we run across to Blue Mosque.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Turkish: Sultanahmet Camii) is a historical mosque in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey and the capital of the Ottoman Empire (from 1453 to 1923). The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.
It was built between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. While still used as a mosque, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque has also become a popular tourist attraction.
The mosque was to be built on the site of the palace of the Byzantine emperors, facing the Hagia Sophia (at that time the most venerated mosque in Istanbul) and the hippodrome, a site of great symbolic significance. Large parts of the southern side of the mosque rest on the foundation and vaults of the Great Palace.
Several palaces had already built there, most notably the palace of Sokollu Mehmet Paşa, so these first had to be bought at a considerable cost and pulled down. Large parts of the Sphendone (curved tribune with U-shaped structure of the hippodrome) were also removed to make room for the new mosque.
Construction of the mosque started in August 1609 when the sultan himself came to break the first sod. It was his intention that this would become the first mosque of his empire.
He appointed his royal architect Sedefhar Mehmet Ağa, a pupil and senior assistant of the famous architect Mimar Sinan to be in charge of the construction. The organization of the work was described in meticulous detail in eight volumes, now found in the library of the Topkapı Palace. The opening ceremonies were held in 1617 (although the inscription on the gate of the mosque says 1616). The sultan could now pray in the royal box (hünkâr mahfil).
The building was not yet finished in this last year of his reign, as the last accounts were signed by his successor Mustafa I. Known as the Blue Mosque, Sultan Ahmed Mosque is one of the most impressive monuments in the world.
Below, miniature of Meddinah.
Inside, I saw some people, praying in fear...
Somehow this reminded me, what a great Lord I have - He merciful, overflowing with loving kindness, full or forgiveness, and slow to wrath. So loving that He gave himself to die for me, and I not even asked Him to do it!