Snapshot – Istanbul

Heading off to a completely different corner of the world today – the city of Istanbul in Turkey! This is one of those must see cities of the world. Seriously, it has so much to offer. Located in the north-west of Turkey and encompassing both banks of the Bosphorus River, Istanbul is a city that spans and connects Europe and Asia. Given it’s geographical importance, it should come as no surprise to hear that settlements in the area can be traced back as far as the 7th Century BC!! With such a lengthy past is it no wonder it’s one of the world’s most fascinating places. 

I’ve opted for a more photographic approach to today. The history is too long and the list of things to see in Istanbul is too great, so I’m selecting a couple of key points about the city. Apologies in advance for the quality of some of these photographs!

Construction on the historic Hagia Sophia commenced during the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian I in 532AD, it’s original purpose being a Christian place of worhip. However, following the triumph of the Ottoman Empire over the Byzantines in the 15th century, the building was converted into a mosque. It remained this way until the mid-1930’s when it’s purpose was changed yet again … to the museum you see today. The dome of the Hagia Sophia has long been regarded as a pioneering move in architectural development. Now, I’m not a fan of organised religion of any sort but what I love about the Hagia Sophia is it’s ability to blend the history and beliefs of two of the worlds great religions – Christianity and Islam. The large disks you see in the second photo were put up when it was converted to a mosque, as the religious icons were prohibited. But as you see, there are now sections where those images have been uncovered and restored. It’s a testament to Turkey’s acceptance of people of all faiths.

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Hagia Sophia
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Inside the Hagia Sophia
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The ornate ceiling
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Some of the uncovered images
 

Situated next to the Hagia Sophia and a short walk across the road is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, or Blue Mosque. This stunning (and still functioning) place of worship got it’s “other” name from the thousands of small blue mosaic tiles that line its interior. Built in 1609, you can see that it has some similar architectural design features to the Hagia Sophia. It was a refreshing oasis of peace and quiet in this busy cosmopolitan city. I took my lunch in a nearby park, with wonderful views of these landmarks, the call to prayer ringing out over the city. It was an unreal experience.

 

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Sultan Ahmed Mosque
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Inside the Blue Mosque
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Some other notable sights in Istanbul:

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The Basilica Cistern: built in the 3rd century and undergoing many changes of use and rebuilds, it eventually became a water storage and supply site for the nearby Topkapi Palace
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The view of the Bosphorus River: taken from the Topkapi Palace, home to Ottoman Emperors since the 15th century.
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The Serpent Column: located in the Hippodrome of Constantinople (near the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia), this monument dates back 2,500 years. It was built to commemorate the victory of the Greeks over the mighty Persian Empire and Xerxes I.
 

This post is part of my contribution to the April 2017 A-Z Challenge

For a list and links to my other challenge posts please click here

For those interested in revisiting my 2016 challenge post for I, here’s the link: Snapshot – Island Temple of Isis

2017 Badge

 

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30 thoughts on “Snapshot – Istanbul”

    1. I think a lot of people probably think it would just be another city … but you’re right, it’s architecture, history & waterfront location all give it a certain unique charm. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

      Like

  1. Lovely pictures, Istanbul is another place I wouldn’t have thought to go but it looks lovely. Although when looking at the Basilica Cistern I fell like I’ve seen that in a movie or something, it looks really familiar but I just can’t place it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never made it to Istanbul in my travels in my 20s – I’d covered most of Western Europe and some of Eastern Europe and it was on my list when “life happened” and my travelling stage ended. Thank you for this wonderful post which makes me feel – in very little pieces – what it must be like there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another the place have wanted to visit especially after reading Orhan Pamuk’s Isantbul and now your post.

    Your pictures were all pretty nice Kim. Don’t be so hard on yourself😊
    Love

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Natasha. I haven’t read that book, I’ll have to have a look at it and see what it’s about. Always nice to get a new recommendation!
      Lol I guess that aren’t so bad. Just the more I get interested in photography, the more I look at what could’ve been done better.

      Liked by 1 person

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