Istanbul, Its Constantinople time!

This post is much much delayed. But its here now!

I have to say from my trip, looking back now Istanbul was one of my favourite places. I’d say my top 3 were London, Berlin, and Istanbul (in no particular order). I definitely have to visit them again one day InshaAllah.

So, I flew in to Istanbul from Budapest with no idea what to expect, and this is what I saw.

Arriving in Istanbul

Arriving in Istanbul

So many boats

So many boats

And red roofs

And red roofs

Lots of greenery too

Lots of greenery too

So finally I landed and took a tram to a bus to the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia area) where my hostel was located. I walked through a park.

Park between Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia

Park between Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia

The park is between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia. Its full of people just chilling and snacking and people selling soveneirs its also right off 2-3 streets full of restaurants and shops and whatnot.

The Hagia Sofia and me

The Hagia Sofia and me

Here’s the Hagia Sofia in the background. It was originally a cathedral which was then converted into a Mosque and now its a museum. Inside you can see architecture and art common to both religions including arches, stain glasses windows, decorated walls, calligraphy, etc. More pictures later in the post.

The Hagia Sofia

The Hagia Sofia

This was my left. And directly on my right was the Blue Mosque.

My first (definitely not last) picture of the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

My first (definitely not last) picture of the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

Tourists walking from one to the other

Tourists walking from one to the other

Vendor selling corn

Vendor selling corn

I love food! hehe Though I have to say, the corn in Pakistan/India is better only b/c this guy didnt have any spices to put on it. It was just salt and butter here.

Vendors on the path leading to the mosque

Vendors on the path leading to the mosque

There were all types of lendors tryign to sell stuff on the path to the Blue Mosque

Coming up to the Blue Mosque

Coming up to the Blue Mosque

People doing Wadu outside

People doing Wadu outside

Entrance to inner courtyard

Entrance to inner courtyard

Entering the courtyard

Entering the courtyard

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Inside the Blue Mosque

Inside the Blue Mosque

So inside its a giant hall. Its huge but its all one floor with a massive dome. Tourists and basically anyone are allowed inside except during prayer times. Women are provided temporary scarves they can use when entering if they do not have one. Despite the constant flow of visitors, once inside it just feels incredibly calm. Or maybe its b/c I was alone that I kind of forgot about everyone else around me. I was just in awe of the size of it and how beautiful the building was.

Inside Blue Mosque

Inside Blue Mosque

Inside the Blue Mosque

Inside the Blue Mosque

Inside the Blue Mosque

Inside the Blue Mosque

Inside the Blue mosque

Inside the Blue mosque

Inside the blue Mosque

Inside the blue Mosque

Blue Mosque at Night

Blue Mosque at Night

At night

At night

I just like how this (above) pic turned out. Not sure why.

Vendors at night

Vendors at night

So afterwards I went walking around randomly. For the most part Istanbul is quite safe. There are areas you don’t want to go. But if you stick to the main tourist places, you aren’t going to end up there at night anyways. People do approach you to talk to you though. Most of them are trying to sell you stuff or help you spend your money. So you do have to be a bit careful. But many are just friendly and just want to chat. So I bumped into a few different people as such. And I just walked along with them and came across this. The Galata Bridge. Theres traffic and cars travelling the top side. But the bottom is all restaurants and stores and it looks amazing at night 🙂

Galata Bridge at night

Galata Bridge at night

So the next day I set out to explore some more and one place recommended to me to see was the Basilica Cistern. This is the largest of several hundred cisterns that lie beneath the city.

Entering the Basilica

Entering the Basilica

The place was massive!

The place was massive!

The entire bottom had a couple feet of water.

Complete with fish!

Complete with fish!

And its not like I was that close, those were big fish!

Medusa head (1 of 2) in the cistern

Medusa head (1 of 2) in the cistern

Medusa head base on one of the columns. Its placed upside (the other sideways) to ward off the power of the gaze.

I then went to Topkapi Palace. A huge Palace compound made up of several buildings. My favourite section there was the Holy Relics section. The Turkish people (Sultans) were in charge of many of the things in Mecca and Medinah and took several items back to Istanbul. Particularly when they felt the items might started to be worshipped by people. So they had stuff like the old door of Kaaba, the old drainage pipes, the jacket of Prophet Mohammed. The swords of the Prophet and the 4 caliphs. The turban of Joseph. The footprint of the Prophet. And the most amazing thing to me was the staff of Moses. Now, is it real? Who knows. In the end it doesn’t really matter. But I enjoyed the moment of awe standing infront of it and imagining.  Unfortunately, that section does not allow pictures. But here are some pictures from other sections of the Palace.

Entering Topkapi Palace

Entering Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

I wish I had this view from my house

I wish I had this view from my house

See these gems, these were the sultans leftovers, he didnt know what to do with them so he just put them here.  Actually I forget if they were leftovers or just some he found in his collection. Either way, an after thought.

See these gems, these were the sultans leftovers, he didn't know what to do with them so he just put them here. Actually I forget if they were leftovers or just some he found in his collection. Either way, an after thought.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

After touring the Palace it was time for a snack. And while I’m generally not a big fan of Baklava, OMG it was SOOOOOO GOOD HERE!!!!!! I wish I could have brought some home.

So sooo sooooooo good!

So sooo sooooooo good!

Galata Tower

Galata Tower

Busy street I was randomly walking

Busy street I was randomly walking

I just like the colour in this picture

I just like the colour in this picture

The next day, I visited the Hagia Sofia!

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

Its even bigger than the Blue Mosque!

Its even bigger than the Blue Mosque!

Massive!

Massive!

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

The cathedral work was coverd with clay when it was changed to a masjid. Here is some restored to show what it looked like.

The cathedral work was coverd with clay when it was changed to a masjid. Here is some restored to show what it looked like.

Trying to show how tall it is #1

Trying to show how tall it is #1

#2

#2

#3

#3

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

View of Blue Mosque from exit gates of Hagia Sofia

View of Blue Mosque from exit gates of Hagia Sofia

From there it was on to the Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

They even had a huge book section!

They even had a huge book section!

Ok, I’m getting tired so I’m just going to post soem random pics now.

The old Valens aquducts

The old Valens aquducts

Kids playing outside a masjid

Kids playing outside a masjid

Fatii Masjid

Fatii Masjid

Spice Market

Spice Market

Guard outside Dolmabahce Palace

Guard outside Dolmabahce Palace

Clutching his dagger...

Clutching his dagger...

Vendor frying cheese naan

Vendor frying cheese naan

Inside Topkapi

Inside Topkapi

Swords of the Caliph and Prophet Muhammed  Note: This picture is not mine but taken from the net. I wasnt able to get one myself since it wasnt allowed. Its from the Holy Relics section.

Swords of the Caliph and Prophet Muhammed Note: This picture is not mine but taken from the net. I wasn't able to get one myself since it wasnt allowed. Its from the Holy Relics section.

One expensive watch

One expensive watch

The staff of Moses. Real or not.....its amazing to imagine.  Note: This picture is not mine but taken from the net. I wasnt able to get one myself since it wasnt allowed. Its from the Holy Relics section.

The staff of Moses. Real or not.....its amazing to imagine. Note: This picture is not mine but taken from the net. I wasn't able to get one myself since it wasnt allowed. Its from the Holy Relics section.

The footstep of Prophet Mohammed  Note: This picture is not mine but taken from the net. I wasnt able to get one myself since it wasnt allowed. Its from the Holy Relics section.

The footstep of Prophet Mohammed Note: This picture is not mine but taken from the net. I wasn't able to get one myself since it wasnt allowed. Its from the Holy Relics section.

Inside Dolmabahce Palace - The heaviest and tallest chandelier in the world

Inside Dolmabahce Palace - The heaviest and tallest chandelier in the world

Inside Domabahce Palace

Inside Domabahce Palace

The Aquducts

The Aquducts

The sultans bow and arrow case

The sultans bow and arrow case

Crystal Staircase in Domabahce Palace

Crystal Staircase in Domabahce Palace

Overall, I had an absolute blast on my trip! It was almost a month long but it went by so quick. I have to say I was totally exhausted by the end of it and I was ready to come back. But I learned a lot about the places I visited. I learned a lot about myself and that travelling alone can be a lot of fun. I’m very blessed to have been able to do this and InshaAllah one day I’ll be able to go back to some of these places.

Theres tons more I could say. And things keep popping in and out of mind regarding it. The people I met, on the street and the hostel. Getting lost, walking endlessly. But I think this will have to do for now. If you’d like to see more pictures you can check them out HERE. And if you’d like more info you’ll just have to ask me directly 🙂

Advertisements

13 responses to “Istanbul, Its Constantinople time!

  1. The place is so awesome!

    I DO wish wordpress would have a little comment box with each picture or something; would make it so much easier to comment!

  2. Such a great city with lots of history – would love to visit – so living vicariously through your blog. Great pictures!

    And ya, that staff – if it’s true… amazing!

  3. Wow!! I’m blown away!! I’ve always wanted to go to Turkey, haven’t been yet. Will go soon InshaAllah. This just inspired me, Thanks for sharing 😀

  4. Finally! Okay, I’m now inspired to continue posting about my trip 😀

    Wow, this makes me want to go even more! I’m teaching my grade 10s about early Christian and Islamic art and we were just discussing the Hagia Sophia today in class. So basically you experienced the chapter that they have to read in the boring textbook. Inshallah in summer…

  5. Wow, Awesome pics!!!

    How did you get captions attached to the bottom of your pictures?

  6. Specs: It really is an amazing place! And the pics are all on fb, I’ll share it with you.

    Mezba: Thanks, and ya it really is 🙂

    Azra: 🙂 InshaAllah you’ll get to go soon.

    Liya: haha, yes finally! You say its boring but having been there, I’m almost interested in that text now…almost but not quite. 😛

    HS: Thanks. And I just got skills 😉

  7. I loved all your travel posts and your pictures!!
    Actually I would like to get more info from you. I am hoping to do a europe trip next year inshallah but i am trying to figure out if doing a tour group such as contiki and such would be better or doing the backpacking deal? what do you recommend? how did u find the hostels and such?

  8. I have been there! And they day was as sunny.

    I will go there again.

  9. M&M thanks! I’ll send you an email and ping you on fb and feel free to ask whatever 🙂 Travelling is so mcuh fun! And its addicting! hehe

  10. Sultanahmet: Its a fantastic city 🙂

  11. I really want to visit Istanbul, it’s on my places to visit list. Hopefully will get to go visit before too long.

  12. InshaAllah you’ll get to go soon, its a fantastic place to visit 🙂

  13. Pingback: March 2010 – All About Istanbul, Turkey « To My Pen, Forgive Me For Typing…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s