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Istanbul - Day Two – Topkapi! Part One AM.

Day Two. Image heavy!

Day Two – Topkapi!

Part one - AM

This was the big day of the trip, and it turning out to be the best and the worst - tiring and bittersweet.

After a breakfast of different varieties of bread and cinnamon cakes, we walked up the hill behind the hotel to the main square of the Sultanahmet district, the Hippodrome, were once Roman chariot races were held. Here two huge obelisks pierce the sky.

The first, the rough obelisk of Constantine, was stripped of its bronze plaques during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 by the crusaders. It’s um… tall and pointy.

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A few metres away, is the second obelisk, the Egyptian obelisk of Theodosius, which dates from about 1450BC. Also pointy. Note I've mentioned nothing about massive erections...

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It was brought to Constantinople in 390AD by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius and erected on a carved plinth showing imperial pastime and the erection of the obelisk It’s also tall, but at least its pretty. Then again, what major city doesn’t have an Egyptian obelisk? Two a'penny these days.

Some Roman goings on. No orgies or beheadings unfortunately, just a lot of standing about looking important:

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From the Hippodrome we went into the Blue Mosque that dominates the square.

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It’s enormous, but inside was surprisingly small. Stunning though.

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From the Blue Mosque it’s a short stroll through some lovely gardens to Aya Sophia.

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It started as a church, built in 537AD by the Emperor Justinian. It then became a mosque in 1453 after Constantinople was conquered. It is now a “museum” – though of exactly what I can’t fathom. It is a fantastic building though, if a bit of a faded beauty nowadays. You'd look like that if you'd survived 1500 years and several earthquakes.

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Inside are some famous mosaics of Byzantine art.

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Arty shot:

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There is a gigantic scaffolding in the middle of the building. This photo doesn’t really capture the sheer scale of it.

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With Aya Sophia ticked off, we went off to find some lunch and we ate sautéed chicken on a secluded terrace with a group of oppotunistic moggies. I didn’t like this dinner very much as it had tomatoes in it. Bleugh.

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I'm glad you had a good time.

Thanks. There were some not so good bits though.

Ooh, the Rahotep obelisk is pretty. Especially for 17th Dynasty. *approves*

Note I've mentioned nothing about massive erections...

*does it for you* Mmm...phallic! :P

I did think of you when I was looking at it. ;)

It is now a “museum” – though of exactly what I can’t fathom.

Of mosqueness, or churchness, or of surviving for 1500 years? No - I've got it - a museaum of scaffolding!

Seriously the pictures are really neat - thanks for sharing.

I love especially the interiors of the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia and the ghostliness of the roman figures.

It seems a bit odd to be a museum of itself, and it has to be seeing as there is bugger all in it - except the scaffolding. And some Viking graffiti I'd forgotten about.

I love the haiku.

It’s enormous, but inside was surprisingly small.

Ah, like the TARDIS, but the other way round! :D

Stunning pictures. I particularly like all them Romans, standing there as if for a group photo. Can you image how long you'd have to watch the birdy for? ;)

And what if one of them blinked?

I've been to all those places. Enjoying your pictures!

I suspect then, you've done the harem? Seems like your sort of place.

Great photos, especially the interior shots. All that detailed tile work is amazing. Thanks so much for sharing.

They certainly know how to decorate.

Some Roman goings on. No orgies or beheadings unfortunately, just a lot of standing about looking important

I don't know. There could be an invisible orgy going on below waist level. You never know with those Romans - they're sneaky bastards.

The museum-y mosque-y thing looks rather nice. If that's what I'm going to look like after 1500 years and a few earthquakes then I can see the arguments for cryogenic freezing.

Ooh - and your arty shot is very pretty. It's almost like a postcard, but portrait.

I suppose the skirts could be covering a multitude of sins, yeah.

:) The greatest church in cristendom for 1000 years reduced to 'museum-y mosque-y thing'!

I adored Istanbul and would love to go back some day. Thanks for sharing!

It certainly had a charm, but I'm not sure I'd go back. Too many other places unvisited.

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing, and it's great that you enjoyed yourself.

Lovely pictures. The Blue Mosque is gorgeous. Did that one start out as a church too?

**Not mentioning the obelisks. Or asterisks...*

Don't think it did, no.

The Blue Mosque is gorgeous - thanks so much for sharing all the photos.
You don't like tomatoes? All kinds? Cooked ones I despise.

I hate even the plants.

Love the photos, inside the mosques, church, museum, very atmospheric.

You can really let your imagination run away with you.

I'm really enjoying this! your pictures are amazing. Thanks for sharing.

I only tried braille reading those obelisks for the political reports. The same reason I read Playgirl.

I loved your arty shot - you should enter it into a photography contest. Who knows, you might win enough money for another trip.

Well, the lunch might have had tomatoes but the atmosphere was beautiful. Let's see, what were tomatoes called, 'Love Apples', that's right. You could have dreamed up a story about Spike in the Harem with Love Apples. Wih all that inspiration there?

If you have any left over frustration from your trip, here is a site where you can shoot tomatoes.

>>I loved your arty shot - you should enter it into a photography contest.

I might have if there wasn't the tip of another object underneath it. You can't crop it off unfortunately.

>>You could have dreamed up a story about Spike in the Harem with Love Apples

I could have, but it's not really my style. Maybe something original one day.

I love the website! There *are* more like me!

Wow. You had lots of history to absorb. Very cool. Loved the shot of the scaffolding. Impressive scale. And that sauteed chicken dinner sounds kind of gross. I imagine it to be rather slimy with black green specks of herbs or something. Ew.

More like a stir fry with chicken, mushrooms and the evil tomatoes. Blee.

I have a series of four pics that show the total height of that scaffolding. We counted it to about 27 flights of stairs.

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