Monday, October 19, 2009
The Aegean Sea Cruise: Istanbul
The famous Blue Mosque was an Imperial Mosque for the Sultans, therefore were very grand and elaborate. Incredible architecture, beautiful tiles decorate walls with intense colors and intricate patterns. As it remains a place of worship, we followed the custom to remove shoes before entering the mosque. I was very impressed and touched by the beauty of this great structure. Here are some photos:
above: standing outside in front of the Blue Mosque
above: multiple interior photos showing the beauty of this great Imperial Mosque.
We went onto the Haghia Sophia museum, a truly stunning structure with interesting contrasts of styles, materials and purposes. Originally built at St Sophia church, it was converted to a mosque, and served as a place for learning and social discussion. It was converted to a museum and is under a lengthy restoration to uncover some of the Christian mosaics that were covered by plaster when it was converted to a mosque. While many aspects of Christianity are acknowledged by Muslims, their religion do not allow for the personification of physical people within a mosque. So images of Christ, Mary, angels were covered up. The intent is to retain the best of both periods, showing the beauty and history from throughout its history. Here are some images of the Hagia Sophia:
above: The Sultan's library inside
above: beautiful gold mosaics now uncovered and restored
above: incredible tiles with beautiful designs
above: multiple colors and styles of marbles throughout
above: this photo is especially for my brother Joe to figure out the reference. It's from a movie scene....
I also enjoyed our visit to the Imperial Topkapi Palace, home of the Sultan and seat of his governmental affairs. It is a grand, sprawling estate, richly appointed with opulence and splendor. Here I saw some of the finest examples of tile work and textiles. Colors that cannot be replicated naturally today, and intricate patterns that embody their rich culture. Let’s just say it was good to be the Sultan. Here are my photos:
above: a room where the Sultan's advisers would meet. The Sultan would sit in a room behind the gold screen, so they never knew when he was actually in their presence, so they always had to behave as if he were there.
examples of incredible tile work and designs. above: mother of pearl and tile
above: the tree of life design is found throughout Istanbul
above and below: Jewel encrusted robes worn by the Sultan.
Some photos of in and around Istanbul:
above: a case of baklava and Turkish Delight. Wow I was in heaven!
Our time in Istanbul exceeded my expectations, I thoroughly enjoyed the day and would gladly return again to explore the friendly Turkish people. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your time. Today we’re in Mykonos, Greece. It is sunny and warm…so come back tomorrow for a fresh report.
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