Istanbul Day 2

I thought I'd wake up early and walk around old Istanbul, but I slept for a good 12 hours. My hotel is near a few mosques and some people might be bothered by the evening and morning call to prayer but I can sleep right through it.

First thing this morning I decided to try and find the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar. I took off with only the map in the guidebook (which is not a good map) and quickly got very lost. Luckily old Istanbul is a peninsula and 3/4 directions will lead you to the coast. I got to the coast line, regained my bearings and was soon at the spice market. A neat place.

A few streets from the spice market I found the Grand Bazaar. This place beats the West Edmonton Mall. It's pretty much a hundred tiny streets with kiosks with a roof. I'm at the start of my trip so I wasn't looking to buy anything, just scoping it out. Though it's pretty interesting, it wasn't all that picturesque.

I then made my way back to the area I'm staying in, Sultanahmet, and went to see the Hagia Sophia. From the outside it pales in comparison to the Sultanahmet Mosque, but on the inside it's quite amazing. It has layers upon layers of history, literally. Many christian frescos have been covered by Islamic designs. Restorations are ungoing and a big part of it was closed.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I went to the Sultanahmet Mosque, but did not go inside. It seemed really crowded and peeking inside it looked like there wasn't much for photos. I got a nice shot from the courtyard. Stopped by the Hippodrome (what's left of it), then I just walked around, followed the city walls and walked around the tiny streets. Had my fortune read by a rabbit. Stopped for burek a couple of times and had a wicked chicken shwarma. In a few hours I leave for Troy.

Spice Market (Note the Turkish Viagra):
Grand Bazaar:

Hagia Sophia:

Inside the Hagia Sophia:

Frescos inside the Hagia Sophia:
Frescos inside the Hagia Sophia:

The beautiful Sultanahmet Mosque:

Streets of old Istanbul:


Anonymous said...

Marko, anything beats the WestEd Mall. Montreal's downtown shopping is a million times better then that mall.


sultanahmet said...

I like Hagia Sophia.
It's my dream destination.