The beautiful city of Istanbul – filled with history and culture. Most importantly, this is where I met my wife. That’s why it holds a special place in my heart. We were there for a week in October 2009. Our hotel (the Marble Hotel) was located just off Taksim square and the famous Esteghlal Street. Since we arrived late on day 1 all we did on our first night was to go for a walk on Esteghlal Street. We were amazed by the sheer amount of people walking up and down the street, eating at the restaurants and shopping at all hours of the night. The noise of the people transferred to our hotel quite easily which made for interesting nights trying to catch up on some sleep.
We decided to start the second day with a bang and visit (probably) the most famous site in Istanbul first: The Hagia Sofia – Now a museum, it used to be an cathedral which was converted into a mosque after the Ottomans conquered Constantinople. Here are some photographs taken on this rainy day.
Because the Hagia Sofia used to be both a Cathedral and a Mosque you can find both Christian and Muslim artifacts side-by-side. The lighting was awful, hence the grainy/less than sharp photos.
Right across from the Hagia Sofia is another amazing structure, the Blue Mosque. This is a view of the Blue Mosque (“floating in the background) from one of the windows of Hagia Sofia.
Next on the list was the Blue Mosque – named after the blue tiles that cover much of the walls inside. We arrived in the middle of prayers and had to wait outside for an hour or so before we got to see the inside.
After the Blue Mosque, we visited Topkapi Palace. This is where the Ottoman Sultans lived until Turkey became a republic.
Next: Photographs of Istanbul – Day 3 and 4