Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday In Istanbul

Sunday we did not wake up at such a respectable hour, but we did dig our heels in and make it to two magnificent sights.

After Chris ate a Doner Kebab for breakfast we started our "historic core of the old district" tour.

And of course, right when we started touring, it started raining.

We adjusted the tour to our interests (and the weather) and headed straight to the Bascilica Cistern.

A little history of the cistern for anyone interested.

I found the cistern to be one of the most unique and intriguing sights I've ever seen.

Simply said.

It's black and eerie and you can just feel the history it holds inside it's dark stone walls.

After spending a good hour in the cistern we headed to the Aya Sofia (or Hagia Sofia).

The Aya Sofia was originally completed in 537 and served as a church for nearly a millennium. The day the Ottomans captured Constantinople in 1453, Hagia Sofia was converted into a mosque.

This makes for some very interesting architecture inside.

Image the church you go to now, and add 24 ft. wide leather wrapped medallions inscribed with Arabic calligraphy.

It's a very odd combination and the whole history of the church is just captivating.

After the fall of the Ottoman reign, the mosque was converted back into a church, and now serves as a museum.

I won't blast you with the history because you can google the church if you really want to know more.

Chris and I wanted to know more and our guidebook didn't disappoint.

We spent about 2 hours walking around the church.

Back outside we captured a few last details of the church and then made our way to a nap and then dinner.

Our new favorite thing is the pillow bread that they make fresh and bring to your table for free. Akin to the chips and salsa idea in Texas.

After eating dinner we wandered around the backstreets of our hotel area and then crashed after a great day.

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