Turkish delight!

Elisabeth and I recently had the chance to break out of the Swedish November darkness for a short visit to Istanbul and Izmir. It was warm, sunny and full of Asian flavours. What a Turkish delight!

Pictures from Istanbul

Freshly squeezed orange juice - the morning delight! :: The busy Bosphorous straight :: View from the breakfast veranda Elisabeth preparing for a day out in Istanbul! :: The Blue Mosque :: The Harems :: Actually a busy shopping quarter for the tourists today... Elisabeth & Jafet in front of Hagia Sophia :: Hagia Sophia - the Holy Wisdom of God - breathes history (it is almost 1500 years old), strength (it has withstood earthquakes) and beauty. Overlooking the busy Bosphorous straight, it is a must see when in Instanbul!  The tughra of an Ottoman Sultan :: The tughra was the seal of the Ottoman sultans. Here it is uniquely made up of Byzantine mosaics! The marble doorstep after 1500 years of use! :: The main hall of the Hagia Sophia :: The circular medallions are huge! :: I am guessing they have a diameter of 8-9 meters! Giant pillars and marble urns :: Jafet admiring the... :: The central dome :: Evidence of the mixed history of Hagia Sophia :: It was build as a church and used as such for around 900 years, then the Ottomans converted it to a mosque in the 15th Century. Apparently the direction to Mecca is slightly off-centre, given the direction of the Mihrab. Millions of steps, over thousands of years, engraved in marble floor Detail of the marble floor blocks on the second floor :: Can you imagine how heavy this building is with marble floors everywhere, even high up above the first ceiling!  My wife Elisabeth standing on the place for the Emperess :: Apparently the Emperess could not take part in the ceremony but was only allowed to stand and watch on the second floor... Mosaic of Mary, Jesus and an apostle :: These Christian mosaics were apparently covered during the time Hagia Sophia was a mosque, and then restored again once it became a museum in 1931 Evidence of Vikings! :: There were two connections to Sweden in Hagia Sophia: first this 'Runskrift', allegedly by a Viking; and then a few paintings of patriarchs during a visit by the Swedish king Karl XII Elisabeth is looking at... :: A wall detail in Hagia Sophia :: The signature of a useful door - in marble :: The Blue mosque as seen from within Hagia Sophia :: Kebap! :: The Gedikpasa Hamami :: A visit to Turkey without a Turkish bath would just not be Turkey would it? Where else to go than one of the oldest baths in Istanbul! Not my everyday attire but it fit the occasion perfectly! Reading up on the basics and having a flatbread :: Ah! What a rich taste and colour in the Turkish tomatoes! :: The Basilica Cistern :: An ancient Byzantine underground water reservoir just below a street near Hagia Sophia. The reservoir measures 70m by 140m and its domed roof is supported by 336 marble columns. It is a truly impressive engineering work! Detail of a marble column in the Basilica Cistern :: In the Basilica Cistern :: The Bazaar :: A happy wife... :: Spices! :: Carpets! :: Mosaics! :: A place for the expecting :: The Bosphorous :: The Mosques :: The Blue Mosque at night :: Strangely enough, this light show made me think of Disneyland...      Local streetfood is always the best! ::  

 

Pictures from Izmir (known as 'Smyrna' in Biblical times)

Ancient Smyrna :: Overlooking the old acropolis toward Mount Pagos The vaulted basement :: Four parallel vaults made up an indoor bazaar in ancient times :: Running water! :: The inhabitants had an intricate system of water delivery, of course...