Christmas time in Turkey
Aren't we going to the mountains this year? No. We're going to Turkey. The air temperature surprisingly only slightly above zero, the first day is clear, the next two days it rains. We are in a city of mosques and domes. Colors, tastes, lively bustle and screaming of muezzins. We wander around the bazaar, discover the Roman aqueduct and the city fortifications, take a boat across the Bosphorus. End of December 2018.
A world where Europe and Asia are divided
Maneuvers with air transport and all sorts of waiting always cost at least half a day on the way there and back, so the day of arrival and the day of departure must be added to the three days spent in the Turkish capital. Istanbul is truly the only city in the world that is spread over two continents, Europe and Asia, and where cultural influences are uniquely mixed. The photo shows the Bosphorus Strait, which separates the continents.
What is "Blůma"
Day one: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar
We live in Sultanahmet, the minarets you look at. At seven we are awakened by the singing of a muezzin, so they let him out of the recording. On the day of arrival, we noticed a few words that we probably took over in Czech, words such as tariffs, digits or yogurt, some of which appear in Czech, but have a completely different meaning, for example „Killed“ defines barriers to entry and it also appears on police cars. We made up the tree ourselves, but in a moment. The older son pushes forward and turns his head from side to side. Which mosque is Ayasofya, which was conquered by the Turks? We don't know. There are two mosques in the square where we find ourselves. Ayasofya should be the biggest, but both are great … and the other one is the Blue Mosque, as you can hear. After a while of searching, we identify the original Byzantine temple and look for an entrance, the queue is not long. The plan for the afternoon is the Grand Bazaar, we set off after our first Turkish lunch, for which we had a kebab. Surprisingly, there is not much bargaining in the market, not as I expected, and as we are used to from other Asian countries, somewhere they clearly have price tags like in stone shops that would affect the development of tourism? The local currency is the Turkish lira, for conversion to crowns we multiply by four, spices and tea smell all around and we put another tea round in a small glass with metal handles.
Ayasofya (Greek Hagia Sofia, Temple of Divine Wisdom)
It was the largest church of Christianity for a thousand years, before it was conquered by Mehmed II in 1453. and turned it into a mosque.
The painted blue dome is not completely visible at first glance. Put on your scarf before you go inside, otherwise they won't let you in.
Interior of Hagia Sophia
A combination of several types of marble. A feeling of huge space. At the entrance to the gallery, there is the Weeping Column, which has a small hole in it just about an inch. It is said that if you turn your hand 360 degrees with your thumb inside, your wish will come true, and we decided that it will be enough if the boys do not dislocate their hand.
A market with food, clothing, utensils, art objects and attractions of all kinds. I like to just walk around and let the atmosphere affect me, my sons won't be such fans. Goods of the same kind are always collected in sections, so you go through only jackets or scarves, then porcelain dishes or wrought vases, beautiful, handmade pieces next to the kitsch of Western clothing, in the light of artificial lamps, everyone has their charm. Calling vendors, smelling tea and bubbling hookahs.
On the Bosphorus!
Day two: Boat trip, fish market and restaurants in Galata Bridge, tram ride
We have already received several offers for a boat ride, we have decided to resist and walk to the dock ourselves, in Asia it is sometimes good to know what one wants, it usually saves a little money and some disappointment. They hurt the fish, the younger son shouts and covers his eyes, we stand on the bridge and watch the local fishermen. Don't hurt, fish is a normal food and there is no better opportunity than to put it here. We're back from the cruise, we did a great job and it cost us twenty lire each, which is the price of about two cappuccino in the center, so it seemed really good to us. We took the tram back home from the seafood restaurant, then I got lost in the winding streets a short distance from the hotel when I went first. In the evening we will go for more wine, they do not take prohibitions very seriously here.
Passage through the Bosphorus Strait
Small jellyfish can be seen on the surface, on the coast you can watch the fortresses and cities. You sail under several bridges. The strait is about 30 km long and connects the Black and Marmara Seas.
Bazaar near Galata Bridge
Istanbul traders know how to brag. It can also be seen in restaurants, where they will bring you a sample of dishes on a tray and let you taste them. They are helpful and cheerful at the same time. I think that any Czech pub could be inspired by the level of service.
In the footsteps of Roman
Day 3: Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, aqueduct and city fortifications
The seat of the Sultans of Topkapi, where the harem used to be, is a city in the city and a popular tourist attraction, we did not devote as much time to it as it probably deserves. By far the most we were fascinated that day by the Valensky aqueduct and the city fortifications, both from Roman times.
You can walk to the tower over the Galatian Bridge, it offers a view of the whole city. However, the queue to the gallery looked like two hours, so we were satisfied with the view from the hill.
The aqueduct dates from the 2nd century and is named after Emperor Valens, who rebuilt it in the 4th century. It is said that it was still used in the 19th century, so they took good care of it. Unfortunately, it is not possible to climb it, so it would be possible, the climber's heart will jump. The arches are, as can be seen, preserved and you can drive through the aqueduct.
The city walls
We got to the fortifications basically by accident, the older son noticed it on the map and wanted to look there. We found out on the spot that the monument is important, moreover protected by UNESCO, the walls are from Byzantine times and stretch over six kilometers, however, no tourist advertising attracts them and even in the guide we had with us, they are not paid attention. .
The city at night has a charm with and without lights. The class on the left can be full of goods, what a blind, a shop window. The offer of Christmas trees before New Year's Eve looked a bit decadent in reality, but in the photo it looks quite picturesque.
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