Istanbul Modern Art Museum and the Sultanahmet Plaza

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August 18th 2011
Published: August 21st 2011
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Istanbul Modern to Sultanahmet

We took the bus, which is very easy since Istanbul has a wonderful and very modern bus system.

Cafe at the ModernCafe at the ModernCafe at the Modern

The outdoor cafe at the Istanbul Modern Art Museum has a fabulous view on the Bosphorus. In the distance is the point with the Aya Sofya and Sultanahmet.
On Thursday I went with a group of other teachers to a few places in the old city. We started at the Istanbul Modern Art Museum, where unfortunately I couldn’t take any photos. There were several amazing displays there, most of which I am unable to describe. It’s art; a description in words can’t do it justice.

However, one of my favorite exhibits was a progression from the first Turkish paintings under the Ottoman Empire through the present. Some of my favorites were from the “Generation of 1914” who were painters sent by the Sultan to study painting under master painters in Europe, mostly in Paris. Perhaps this explains the Turkish respect for France as a sophisticated and artistic country. The modern art, especially the 2000s paintings was just a bit much for me. I’ve always been more attracted to Impressionism and Cubism that experimental modern paintings anyway. It was amazing though, and I did love the sculptures.

There are two small movie theaters in the museum. One was showing a wonderful modern interpretation of Don Quixote. I loved it! Don Quixote and Sancho were Turks in business suits on donkeys wandering the Turkish central mountains looking for the road to the TATE Modern Art Museum in London. It was a short, maybe ten minutes long, but the actors played the parts perfectly and the whole thing was very funny and ridiculous.

After the museum we took a bus to the area around Sultanhamet and the Aya Sofya. We didn’t have time to go in either one, but that’s on the agenda for Monday. We explored the plaza and the side streets. There is so much to see that I didn’t feel like I really needed to go inside anyway. I know I’ll want more than a couple hours for that. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves for the rest of the blog. Again, it was a beautiful day in a very amazing city.

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


The neighborhood south of SultanhametThe neighborhood south of Sultanhamet
The neighborhood south of Sultanhamet

The minaret is for the little Aya Sofya, and you can see ships in the Bosphorus in the background.
The Little Aya SofyaThe Little Aya Sofya
The Little Aya Sofya

This church-turned-mosque was built as a smaller replica of the Aya Sofya.
Inside the Little Aya SofyaInside the Little Aya Sofya
Inside the Little Aya Sofya

From the shape of the building you can see the original church shape, as well as the Greek lettering in the stone work.
Egyptian ObeliskEgyptian Obelisk
Egyptian Obelisk

This is the plaza in front of the Sultanahmet.
Kefta RestaurantKefta Restaurant
Kefta Restaurant

This is where we had dinner, just ahead of the rush for the breaking of the Ramadan fast. The food was delicious but I'm glad we didn't have to wait in that line.
Outdoor TheaterOutdoor Theater
Outdoor Theater

They had a play going, probably because Ramadan is one long holiday and festival. This was about a half hour before the breaking of the fast and I imagine it was a great distraction from growling stomachs.
The MidwayThe Midway
The Midway

People bought food at the stalls along this alley to take to the tables in the plaza. Some stalls also had rugs, ceramics or other art. It wasn't all food.
Waiting for the CallWaiting for the Call
Waiting for the Call

This is where families gathered with all their picnics to wait for the call to break the fast. It is the same plaza as in my photo of the obelisk, but they fill it with picnic tables in the evening.

I just couldn't resist. Funny how some touristy things are the same all over the world. This really made the atmosphere seem like the fair.

Kumpir is a Turkish sort of stuffed potato and there are whole kumpir shops. They open a baked potato, add butter, shredded white cheese and half of the inside of another baked potato, then whip it up into an amazing paste. It's not fluffy due to all the melted cheese. Then you can choose from any of the dozens of toppings on display. Mine cost less than $2 and it was almost more than I could eat. Why has this not made it to Idaho?

21st August 2011

Septimius Severus built the hippodrome you visited today in the early third century. If I remember correctly Theodosius is pictured on the base of the obelisk, so cool! This would also have been the location of the Nika Riots in the early sixth century. I want to go to there :)

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