Four days in Istanbul

The wife and I spent our four days seeing the sites that Istanbul had to offer. I would like to take the opportunity here to mention our hotel The Ottoman Hotel Imperial which is so conveniently located that even the farthest point of interest is within an easy tram ride. The room was a bit small but the care and attention we received from the first moments we arrived until our departure was impeccable.

I would also like to give kudos to the The Khorasani Restaurant where the service was great and the food cuisine was better!

As you can see, I've split the photos into groups. I hope you enjoy them.

One last note. A friend of ours has just returned from Istanbul. Their stay was made more enjoyable for having been introduced to a guide that speaks Greek, Turkish, and English. Their praise for him was so overwhelming that I asked to be provided with his name and contact point for any who would care to avail themselves of his services. You may contact Ender Pinarbasi through his E-mail by clicking here.

Hagia Sophia was built in the 6th century by Justinian the Great. It has served as an Orthodox church, a Roman Catholic Church and a Mosque. Today it is a museum. The size of the structure is overpowering and to get a true sense of it's huge size one should not miss the view from the gallery.

The Basilic Cistern was the most surprising "find" of our trip. As the entrance was just across from our hotel we had walked past it several times without much note. But, when we got in to see it, we were left speechless at the beauty of it all and the magnitude of the engineering that had gone into it's building. The Cistern was built by Justinian the Great about the same time as Hagia Sophia.

This Byzantine church known today as Chora Church was once one of the most important Orthodox churches of the era. The mosaics, in our opinion, are much more beautiful and well done that those in Ravena, Italy! The site of the church in modern Istanbul is a bit off the beaten path but is accessible by trolly and a short walk and well worth the effort.

Topkapi, for 400 years the palace of the Ottoman Sultans complete with gardens, treasury, a phenomenal view of the Bosphorus, and a hareem. The treasury holds some of the Muslim religion's most holy relics and some of the most gem encrusted artifacts of the era that we've ever seen.

The Bosphorus is a narrow neck of water connecting the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. I first saw it while aboard an aircraft carrier back in the 60's. We took a much smaller craft this trip for a pleasant few hours upon it's waters.

The famous Blue Mosque is the very emblem of Istanbul. It sits across a park from Hagia Sophia and was built to rival that building. The mosque gets it's name from the color of the tiles that adorn the interior walls. It is said that these tiles were inspired by those found in the "Old Mosque"; photos of which are in the next section.

The first few shots are from the Old Mosque while the others are from around the town in general. There are a some of the street cats that are part and parcel of life in this end of the world.