Saturday June 16, 2012 Istanbul / Walking tour / Cruise the Bosporus
After breakfast at our hotel, we set off early on a comprehensive exploration of Istanbul; the historic city formerly called Byzantium and later Constantinople.
Istanbul is a sprawling city of ten million people, partly in Europe and partly in Asia, with its geography defined by three famous waterways: the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus Strait, and the Golden Horn ...
This morning, we'll discover some of Istanbul's most famous sites on foot ...
We will also stroll ...
Breakfast on the 9th floor starting at 7 am.
Great way to start the day! Tea. Coffee. Buffet.
Our hotel is the CVK on Taksim Square in the Europen Istanbul Beyoglu section.
After the orientation he gives us 5 minutes to go to our rooms and return to meet and get going. The bus takes us to the old European Istanbul over the Galata Bridge that spans the Golden Horn.
We get out to see the Hippodrome.
Blue Mosque. It was built in 7 years and finished 1606. The architect/builder was Mimar Sinan of whom Aykut speeks very highly because he calls him a genius. And looking at the buildings we really have to agree.
Topkapi Palace is a huge place. Lots of pictures could be taken but it is difficult to give you a total impression. Lots of different buildings in 4 court yards.
The Revan Pavilion was equally elaborate.
A not so good close-up.
Velvet Curtain from end of 16th century
embroidered with golden wire and silk threads on dark red velvet and ornamented with pearls, rubies, emeralds and bejeweled golden plaques.
Close-up of the shield from the next picture (bamboo I think)
Suit of ceremonial armor 18th century.
Just after I took this picture wanting to take a close-up of the chain-'fabric' I was told "no pictures".
There was one place where there was absolutely NO PICTURE taking ... very seriously. The place supposedly had holy relics like
Moses' staff (which turned into a snake and parted the red sea)
scrolls belonging to John
On the right in the back ground is a flat building in which Florence Nightingale started her nursing career.
Suleiman Mosque also built by Mimar Sinan. Construction took 8 years and was finished 1558, so it is older then the Blue Mosque.
The building actually is as old as the mosque itself because it used to be were the poor were fed. I had to laugh because now tourists are fed and afterwards poor ha-ha.
While we were sitting at a table in the court yard, a bridal party arrived and set not far.
I forgot to take pictures of the food but it was very nice. We had stuffed grape leaves as appetizers called 'dolma'. I told Aykut after the meal that I was "dolma" (stuffed) and he thought that was funny.
Our guide Aykut took lots of pictures and told us that he would give us a CD at the last day. Well, I am editing my blog now (July 4) because it is our last day and we have the CD. I think that is a great idea and a nice thing to do for us because there was so much information to absorb that (quite frankly) some got lost in my memory somewhere.
Thank you, Aykut.
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From Aykut's CD:
Day 2 Saturday 06.16.2012 (Istanbul)
- Breakfast at the Hotel
- Tour to Sultanahmet Square
- Hippodrome (Septimius Severus 197 AD)
- Obelisk (Theodosius I 390 AD)
- Serpentine Column (Constantine the Great 4th C AD)
- Stone Pillar (Constantine the Great 4th C AD)
- Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque) Visit (Built in 1609-1616)
- Topkapı Palace Visit (Mehmet II, 1453 AD)
- Lunch on own
- Grand Bazaar
- Bosphorus Cruise
- Süleymaniye Mosque (Built in 1550-1556) (Not in the Program. Learning & Discovery)
- Welcome Dinner in a Local Restaurant (Daruzziyafe Restaurant)
- Port talk about the following day’s Program
Overnight at CVK Hotel, Istanbul