Quick post here… Pix from our last day in Istanbul – We started with the Aya Sofya, which is considered Istanbul’s most famous monument and an excellent example of Byzantine Architecture. It was completed in 527 AD and was the greatest church in Christendom until the Conquest in 1453 when it was converted into a mosque, which is what it was until 1935 when Ataturk apparently said, “Hey, quit fighting over it!” and named it a museum. It’s still a museum. Here are some photos:
Here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry on the Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia) – it’s fascinating – I encourage you to take a look. After Aya Sofya, we went into the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts where there was a beautiful exhibition celebrating the 1400th anniversary of the Qur’an. Here’s a photo of one from around 400 A.D.:
After the museum we went down to the Sea of Marmara for a late lunch at one of the restaurants connected to the big fish market.
The meal was excellent, but I was intrigued by what was going on back outside at the fish market where men were grilling fish fillets and making quick sandwiches. So… I had to get one.
We met back at the Apricot Hotel to meet with Lynn and Hakan and Skype and with Margaret’s parents. Lots of fun.
And later that night (our last night in Istanbul), Lynn took us to a traditional Turkish restaurant called Urfali Haci Usta. Here are some pix – it was AMAZING!
The most unusual part of the meal was the yogurt drink called “Ayran” you see in the copper cups. It’s ice-cold and foamy and tangy and meant, I think, to cool off your palate after a hot bite.
Then dessert — another novelty for me. This is a crispy, honey-sweet pastry with cheese inside and crushed pistachios on top. It may have been called a Kunefe.
That’s it for Istanbul – we left on Monday and headed to Athens. Athens pix to come soon…