I had another full day in Istanbul. This morning I journeyed to the Chora Church. It is from Byzantine times and is famous for its ceiling mosaics depicting Jesus and the Virgin Mary in various Bible scenes. (See picture) The church is just a couple of blocks away from the old Constantinople land walls. These impressive walls are something I have wanted to see for a long time, so I was particularly gratified to be able to climb on top and view them up close. Large sections are still in remarkably good condition. (See picture) I followed the walls down to the Golden Horn where I took a taxi to Pierre Loti Café. This Istanbul landmark offers fabulous views over the Golden Horn and out to the Bosphorous. (See picture) I sipped tea and then strolled downhill to Eyup Sultan Mosque. The faithful believe that Mohammed's standardbearer, Eyup, is entombed here and it is a place of pilgrimage for conservative Muslims. I didn't get to see the inside of the mosque because I arrived just as the call to prayer went out. Nonbelievers are not allowed inside during the five-times-daily prayer. Generally services last 15 or 20 minutes, but this one
was still going on after half an hour and showed no sign of stopping, so I decided to move on. I found another taxi and took it to the New District where I stopped at an art museum that is supposed to have works of Orientalism. I was disappointed in the small number of paintings. I was pleased however with my next stop which was the Pera Palace Hotel. This 19th century grand hotel has played host to a number of famous people over the years. Perhaps the most famous is Agatha Christie who stayed here while she was writing "Murder on the Orient Express". I returned to my apartment to do some quick planning regarding tomorrow's activities. I think that tomorrow will be even more "full" than today!