Istanbul with a private guide

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June 15th 2012
Published: June 16th 2012
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Our guide, Zileha, met Ken and Bobbi at their hotel and took a taxi to our hotel at about 10am and we walked off to see the Blue Mosque (today is expected to have the largest gathering for prayers so we wanted to be there ahead of that rush). After the Blue Mosque we visited the Topkopi Palace then found a very nice shaded cafe for lunch then on the Hagia Sofia Museum. We spent at least 90 minutes in each of these immense visits . . . . . rather than go into what each is about we suggest you simply google them and check out our photos. The most interesting aspect of these visits was to learn the fact that soon after leading Turkey to independence and crushing the Ottoman rule, declaring Turkey a secular state, Ataturk was asked by the Pope to return the Haga Sofia to the catholic church to which his response was no and making it a museum.

We visited a Turkish carpet store and learned the various qualities and process for making wool on wool and silk on silk carpets seeing one small carpet that measured no more than 18" x 24" which was priced at $64,000. We didn't buy one but were impressed with the quality and wondered how much our guide would make in comission if we had purchased one (it seems everyone in Istanbul is an agent of some sort). We then visited the Grand Bazaar through Gate 1 (there are 27 gates!). The best part during the visit of the Bazaar was listening to all of the calls by shop owners and one even said "May I hassel you?". We bid good bye to our guide and came back to Neorion and enjoyed a round of beers on the roof top and reminisced about our day. Ken and Bobbi took off for the W and we went to bed. We figured our tour with Zileha lasted 10 hours! Tomorrow we'll spend the day on the Istanbul City tour.

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


proper etiquette for the Blue Mosqueproper etiquette for the Blue Mosque
proper etiquette for the Blue Mosque

shoulders must be covered, shoes removed, etc
inside the Blue Mosqueinside the Blue Mosque
inside the Blue Mosque

it's impossible to describe how large it is
in the Topkopi Palace parkin the Topkopi Palace park
in the Topkopi Palace park

where the Sultans called home at times there were 4,000 living in the palace grounds
view of the Bosphorusview of the Bosphorus
view of the Bosphorus

from the Palace
Hagia Sophia MuseumHagia Sophia Museum
Hagia Sophia Museum

On 23 February 532, only a few days after the destruction of the second basilica, Emperor Justinian I elected to build a third and entirely different basilica, larger and more majestic than its predecessors.
Hagia SophiaHagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia

Upon the capture of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, the church was ransacked and desecrated by the Latin Christians.
$64,000 silk carpet$64,000 silk carpet
$64,000 silk carpet

some Saudia Arabian oil tycoon bought 4 and told the salesman he was going to use them as floor mats in his Rolls Royce!

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