Day 9 - Hagia Sofia, Grand Bazaar, and Dancing

Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
Trip End Jan 09, 2013

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Flag of Turkey  , Istanbul,
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tip - don't try to go to Hagia Sofia between 0830 and 1130 - the queue is silly. That said we were clever, saw the queue and headed for the grand bazaar. The nice thing about Istanbul is that the touristy area is compact and so walking is easy, fun and offers a chance to see the bustling streets.

The Grand Bazaar is very grand indeed. It is incredibly big, and is sectionalised to a large degree into different areas. The main road through this mass of stalls is jewellery, with a leather section, textiles, and a variety of things also getting their own suburb of he market. I have never seen woman's bras sold in bulk like they do here, and its not one shop doing it, it's a whole area stocked to the hilt.

We were a little worried we were going to be under attack by sellers, however the experience was very pleasant. While the tradition of shop keepers inviting you in for tea to discuss price and merchandise seems to have pretty much fallen away, the market is incredible and well worth while. Shop keepers were moderate in there approach which was nice too.

For lunch we stopped for Donner Kabaps at a restaurant, which turned out was more of a local spot than tourist, but was nice anyway.

Hagia Sofia, originally designed as a Roman Basilica, however turned into a Mosque in the 1400's, was our next stop. With its interesting history of being both a Christian and Muslim important holy place - it was very interesting to see how through restoration you can see both sides of the history.

Inside and outside is magnificent and you can only stand in awe of what people can achieve. Standing opposite to the blue mosque it makes this even more evident.

Exhausted from our walking we head back for an afternoon break before going to our evening dance show.

The dance show was a cultural dance exhibition which was put on in one of the biggest and oldest Turkish Baths, now converted for shows.

The show was excellent and we got to see dances from around Turkey and the area. The belly dancing was very sexy indeed, and the traditional dances interesting and fun. Their was a local orchestra which played traditional instruments superbly. A great spectacle all in all and a wonderful day.
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Pat on

Looks gorgeous

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