End of Istanbul Trip

End of Istanbul Trip

Istanbul post three of three

Daniele and I went to Istanbul back in 2012. I took 1,221 photos during the trip, which were so overwhelming I kept putting off dealing with them. But we finally tackled them and got the album down to the best 366 images. This is the last of three posts from this trip.

On our fourth full day, we got up early and walked to Fatih Mosque, in the Western District. This was the first great imperial mosque built after the conquest by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1470. It was rebuilt in 1766 after an earthquake, again 1782 after a fire and no longer has the same plan. We also saw the tombs of Mehmet and his wife.

Being once the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, Istanbul has aqueducts. Unfortunately, Istanbul does not seem to hold its historical wonders in very much reverence. These stunning structures were marred with piles of garbage beneath the arches.

The Basilica Cistern I visited alone as well. It was built in 532 by Roman Emperor Justinian. It served as the water supply for the Great Palace (now gone) and the surrounding buildings. It was out of use and forgotten before the conquest by the Turks.

The Cistern is impressive at 65m wide, 143m long, and containing 336 columns (taken from ruined buildings). It once held 80,000 cubic meters of water delivered via 20km of aqueducts from a reservoir near the black sea.

It is dark inside and water drips on your head. People crowd the few interesting things to see: a few particular decorative columns, and a glass serpent structure brought in from Venice.

The Cistern was forgotten until it was rediscovered in 1545 by Petrus Gullius who was researching Byzantine antiquities. Locals said they could get water, and even fish, by lowering buckets in their basement floors (in fact there were some big fish down there). He asked around until he found a house were he accessed the Cistern through the basement. After rediscovered, the Turks used the cistern for a dumping ground for garbage and even bodies. It was eventually restored in 1955 and 1960 and 1985. In 1963, “James Bond: From Russia With Love” was filmed here. And finally in 1987 the city opened it to the public.

We then went to The Bazaar. I looked at some scarves and ceramic goods, but didn’t buy.

And then it was time to start our journey back home. We checked out of hotel, took the tram and ferry to Kadakoy. Walked around with our bags, through the local market, had a late lunch. I got some jasmine tea balls that open to flowers in how water and we got some pistachio soap for Daniele’s mother. We took the bus to airport, where we were delayed again. But we finally made it back home to Italy. Ready for Easter tomorrow!

Pictures from the whole trip (only the best 366):https://plus.google.com/photos/+KaitlynHanrahanIsidori/albums/5975883683758142577