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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Istanbul Trip - Part 6 - Blue Mosque, Hagar Sophia and the Grand Souk

The taxi ride (see: Istanbul Trip - Part 5 - Taksim Square, Turkish food for more information) ended at the most historic part of the city. Here is where for thousand of years, men died fighting to gain this piece of land. Today, it is a tourist centre.

The obelisk from ancient Egypt that was brought to this local more than two thousand years ago (I stand to be corrected on this).

The famous Blue Mosque. The minaret is some piece of design. To think that man could build this skycraper more than 700 years ago.

The side entrance into the main compound of the mosque. Here you notice that they are not as strict about the dress code as it is back home. Than I realise why. The mosque is design to have two main compounds. The other compound is where people can walk around whereas the inner compound is where the dress code is required. Very smart, the Turks. We should also design our mosque like them.

This is the outer compound that I was talking about earlier. Check out the queue to go into the inner compound. I decided not to go in. There will be a next time.

The architecture in the outer compound is also very unique and intricate.

The queue line.

The Hagar Sophia is about a few hundred meters away from the Blue Mosque. A cathedral during the Byzantine times, it is now converted into a museum.

It looks massive in pictures but when up close, not that big. Nevertheless, an impressive building. Unfortunately, did not go in due to the queue.

One place that I did go in is the underground water chamber of the Byzantium. Deep underground, more than two thousand years ago, engineers built an underground chamber so big that they need rows of columns to support the ceiling. Very eerie.

Can you imagine being lost in this if there is no light?

Based on historical facts, this chamber was built so that they can store drinking water in case of war.

Here is the narrative for this place - The Basilica Cistern.

The roof of the Cistern.

Scary, isn't it?

The bust of Medusa on one of the pillars. Could this be the place where that legend was founded?

The streets are lovely to walk on.

The main gate to the old part of the city where the famous Grand Souk or Bazaar is located.

This is the famous souk. More than 1,000 merchants are plying their trade for the last 700 years.

Outside the souk, there are more shops.

The place where people wash themselves before entering the mosque.

Not as old as the Blue Mosque but old nevertheless (>400 years old).

A typical old building.

People like fishing in this city. Across any bridges, there will be armies of men fishing.

Past postings on this same topic:

Istanbul Trip - Part 1 - KLIA Jungle Boardwalk and scenes from the plane window

Istanbul Trip - Part 2 - Transit flight with Emirates via Dubai

Istanbul Trip - Part 3 - Arrival in Istanbul and the Ritz-Carton Hotel

Istanbul Trip - Part 4 - The MIFC Conference at the Ritz-Carton Hotel

Istanbul Trip - Part 5 - Taksim Square, Turkish food



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