Friday, July 01, 2005

Four days in the queen city

So we spent four long and fun days in Istanbul / Constantinople with Korinna. I will put forward just a brief itinerary of what we saw and did in the four days with a hope to fill in more in a few days, especially after the photos are printed.

Day 1 was spent on getting to know the first hill essentially. It involved Aya Sofia / Aghia Sophia, the outside of Hagia Eirene, the ground floor and Byzantine rooms of the archaeological museum,

an unsuccessful attempt to identify what's left of one of the oldest churches in the city (in the copper workers' quarter), followed by a walk around yerebatan sarnici - the basilica cistern, the blue mosque plus hippodrome

and finally, the garden in front of the church of Sergius and Bacchus (kucuk aya sofia camii) which is undergoing pretty extensive looking renovation work.

We began day 2 with a trip to the pera and the galata tower, followed by a walk across the galata bridge to the new mosque (Yeni Camii), the Egyptian Bazaar / Spice Bazaar, where we bought a whole lot of cheap saffron. Next a taxi ride up to the Gul Camii (St. Theodosia) and a long wait for midday prayers for finish so I could have a look inside. Next up to Eyup Sultan Camii area where we learned why the little boys were wearing those funky outfits.

We tried to get into Yedikule, but were turned away on account of the rock concert going on that night, so we took a cab to the wrong Imrahor Camii, later discovering the right one was locked (St. John Studios) so we returned to Serge and Bach (rhymes with shake-and-vac) for some hookah smoking idleness.

On the third day, we made it in to Yedikule, and also went to the monastery of Constantine Lips (Molla Feneri Isa Camii) where we bumped into a mullah leading a Koranic class in the apse of one of the two churches. We then walked to the Kiz Tasi (the column of Marcian), and from there to the aqueduct of Valens, St. Polyeuctos (which was not what I had expected) and ended up having an icecream break right where Theodossios had built his agora / forum, opposite that bath house which is falling down but has the bits of column sculpture in its base. Next up was the covered bazaar,

the burnt column (Constantine's column) and a night trip to Asia by boat (return by cabbie).

The final day was more relaxed, beginning with the mosaic museum, we then went off to the Suleymaniye

via the kalendarhane mosque. At the Suleymaniye we also visited the turbes of suleyman,

his witch wife and his master architect. We then went shopping up and down the main street - the mese. We also had a walk around Binbirdirek sarnici and the myrelaion / bodrum camii environs, before finishing up at our favourite spot in the garden of Serge and Bach again for more hookah.

Exhausting stuff, oh yes.

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