Captain Project had a speaking engagement in Istanbul last month and I got to tag along!
(In front of the Blue Mosque)
I'm hesitant to bore you all to death with a bazillion pictures of our once-in-a-lifetime trip, so I've managed to cull my 300+ pictures down to just 19. You're welcome;)
The city is an eclectic mix of European and Islamic culture, architecture, art, and religion. This is Aya Sofya, now a museum but originally a Catholic church and then a Mosque. What's really amazing about the museum is the juxtaposition of Islamic symbols and Christian imagery. By the way, the Christian artwork is all mini tiles dating back to 660 BC.
My favorite tourist spot was the Cistern, the underground water filtration system built by the Romans:
We also visited the Hippodrome, Constantinople's "sports arena" for chariot racing (built in AD 203). Only a few bits remain, including this marble tower (the Blue Mosque is in the background):
And of course we had to walk through one of the world's oldest and biggest covered markets, the Grand Bazaar (built in 1455). I was drawn to all of the colorful textiles ~ silk scarves, embroidered pillow covers and Turkish bath towels.
The Bazaar sells just about anything you can imagine, including piles and piles (really!) of gold and silver.
The streets surrounding all of the historic ruins are peppered with pretty little parks...
...Little fish markets with exotic creatures:
...Women selling fresh flowers:
...Outdoor cafes where women bake bread in brick ovens:
...Colorful fruit/veggie markets:
...And bakeries chock full of Turkish Delight (nut/date confections) and Baklava:
And the food! Oh my, the food! Pre-meals included local nuts, fresh baked bread, and olives. Olives drenched in olive oil and spices ~ seemed odd at first but we loved it!
Turkey is famous for their kabobs and we indulged. This was my favorite dish, a mix of chicken, walnuts, mushrooms and spinach ~ aptly named, "Sultan's Favorite!"
(At the cocktail party sponsored by the business conference)
Seven glorious days. We were very fortunate to visit this exotic land!