Istanbul, bisected by the Bosporus, is in the north-west corner of Turkey. Turkey spreads from southern European Greece and Bulgaria all the way to Iran. As the geographical bridge between southern Europe and Asia, it’s an amazing place with a long and interesting history.
Possibly the most famous landmark in Istanbul is Sultanahmet Mosque which was constructed in the seventeenth century and is known as the Blue Mosque - the interior has extensive blue/turquoise tiling and painting. Inside is huge, wondrous and peaceful.
Across the square from the Blue Mosque are the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, and the Basilica Cistern. The Cistern provides cool relief from the summer heat and there are carvings of Medusa on it’s marble columns. The Museum houses many beautiful artefacts, including calligraphy, maps, books, rugs and art.
A little to the north, the Topkapı Palace Museum looks out over the southern end of the Bosporus and is a large complex including the Imperial Treasury, Library and Mint, with bright gardens along the journey through four courtyards.
A tram ride up the west side of the Bosporus is the more recently constructed Dolmabahçe Palace. Completed in the eighteen fifties, the architecture and interior design of this immense palace are of a more much more modern style than Topkapı Palace.
Returning to the Faith district, the Hagia Sophia was originally a Greek Orthodox cathedral. After more than 900 years, in 1453, it was converted in to an Ottoman mosque. Inside there is differing symbolism that reflects the Hagia Sofia’s varied history.
Istanbul seemed completely different compared to Cappadocia and has an amazing eclectic combination of historical influences. It was great to enjoy the sunshine, gardens, views, history and cuisine in Turkey’s most populous city.