Published: February 28th 2007February 25th 2007
Pictures just do not do the mosques justice. This was my favorite (expect the 5:30 AM prayer), also next to the hotel.
I was real good and had the pictures download and posted to this blog entry, but never wrote anything to go with it so before I head to bed this evening, I will get something posted. I had better because on Saturday I leave with Alex to some city east of Moscow about four hours by train. It is some friends of his and I want to see as much as I can so we we are heading out on Saturday and coming back on Sunday. I will tell you more about when I return.
I am really glad I went to Turkey. I did not have high thoughts of it before going, but after I got there, I had a complete change of mind. It is by far not my favorite location, but I am really glad I went! I got as scheduled, but it was late. The hotel was older (but clean), but not what I expected from the pictures so initally I was a little disappointed. Then I went to breakfast, met the manager, and some of the other guest, as it was a small, almost B&B type place and I felt a lot better about the
place with the exception of being right below one of the Blue Mosques loud speaker so I had a 5:30 AM prayer call!...lol The first morning, after not getting in and going to bed at 1:30 AM, I had no idea what that noise was and it would not stop. I had both pillows over my head and finally after about 15 minutes which seemed like hours, it stopped and I went back to bed.
For anyone visiting, I would recommend staying in the new city and then touring the old city by day. I did not have any safety issues, but everyone warned me about walking around the old city at night. Also, the old city pretty much shuts down at night so there is not a lot to do. Again, I did not have any problems but was just warned by many.
Since I slept in, I missed the tours on Friday and walked around by myself and fell in love with the architurer especially of the mosques. They were truly AWESOME! My pictures do not do them justice and I would recommend going at least once to see them. I did not realize how much
It was cold this day and even snowed, but the tour was well worth it to get to go inside and hear more about the history.
history was in Turkey, but it was a great weekend.
I could have done without the carpet salesmen, who were on every corner at least three or four deep...lol Maybe not that bad, but bad so be prepared if you go. As they would all say, "No one comes to Turkey to buy a carpet, but please come take a look at my store...." or something close to that. I also never knew if that was a way to get close to you if they were wanting to rob me so it made me feel a little uneasy. Also be prepared, they do not take no for an answer and they know a lot (at least on the surface) about a lot of cities in the United States. Not that I know much Russia, but I even tried that, and they know a few words in just about every language, at least it seem so that did not work either. They are good "used car" salesmen.
The weather was not the greatest, but for this time of year, I can not complain. During the guided tour, it was windy and cold. We even had a little snow flurry
I forget which mosque this is, but they all looked this nice if not nicer on the inside.
but on Friday and Sunday, it was in the lower 50's so, again, it was nice for that time of year.
This is not just about Turkey, but I keep forgetting to post it, you will always know a Russian on a plane at the time of landing. They always clap. I am not sure if they have such a history of crashing, but almost every Russian I have met, claps after the plane touches down and that is both coming and going. On my flight to Turkey, I felt like I was on some bio-experiement. Most of the people on the flight were from Japan and over half had surgeons masks on. I was worried about the air I was breathing for all of them to wear masks...lol I did not realize it, but most were coming and/or going to Tokoyo on Aeroflot which of course being a Russian airline makes a stop in Moscow.
I really wish I could have stayed one or two more days to take in the a few more sites and sounds of Istanbul. I guess this gives a reason to go back one more time. While I was there, I toured
Haghia Sophia at Night
This was the largest christian church at one point in its history, was also a mosque but is now a museum honoring both religions.
Haghia Sophia, also called the Church of Divine Wisdom. The Blue Mosque, with its unique 6 towers, called minarets. It is called blue because the inside has a lot of blue and the windows are blue. While thinking about it, stainglass windows in Turkey are made with stones where of course in the States most are lead. I went to several bazaars/markets, which were a lot of fun, if you like negoating. Then in the afternoon, we went to Topkapi Palace and some the largest collection of jewels/stones in the world. I will be honest, I was not overly impressed because they really over did it on most of the stuff, but it was amazing to see it all. Finally we went to the Suleymaniye Mosque.
I did not make it there, but I was told the largest mall in Europe is located on the north side of Istanbul, reachable by metro so for those shoppers, put Turkey on your places to go and see. Again, it was a lot nicer and cleaner than I thought it was going to be; but like any large city, be careful.
There are more photos below