Day 2: Istanbul

29 06 2014

After our wonderful breakfast at the hotel, we boarded the bus and began exploring this intriguing city. Today’s itinerary highlighted some of the various cultures which have influenced Istanbul throughout history. We began at the Hippodrome which was utilized by the Romans as an arena for chariot races, then continued on to the Hagia Sophia museum. Built originally as a Byzantine church in in 537 AD, it was converted to a mosque in 1453 and finally in 1935, was converted to a museum by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. A quick visit to the Basilica Cistern provided us a view of an incredible underground waterworks, complete with an example of early recycling. Huge pillars which had been taken from earlier building projects supported the arched roof structure. The water was filled with various fish and algae can be seen on the walls at different points, creating a most unusual underground atmosphere.

After a traditional Turkish student meal in the university area, we walked to the Suleymaniye Mosque. The mosque is grand and beautiful, but what fascinated us was learning of the mosque’s role as the center of a community which included as hospital, a soup kitchen, a caravansary and other buildings needed for daily life. We can only imagine what that daily life was like.

We left for the Chora, a Byzantine chapel in the process of being renovated.  The mosaics were a beautiful depiction of early New Testament stories. From there, we were privileged to tour the only fine art glass studio in Turkey.   We were given demonstrations on several techniques for creating pieces.

On to yet more delicious, traditional Turkish food with views overlooking the Bosphorus. Then back to our gorgeous hotel to collapse.

Sally and Pat



2 responses to “Day 2: Istanbul”

30 06 2014
Sarah Szumnarski (21:25:25) :

Hi Sally and Pat (and friends)! Hope you are having an amazing time! I am reliving the experience through the group’s photos on Facebook!!
xo Sarah S.

30 06 2014
Sarah Szumnarski (21:32:17) :

And those cisterns!!! One of my favorite parts of the trip!!! Amazing.

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