Between continents in Istanbul

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Thursday, January 21, 2010

I was a little underwhelmed by Istanbul, but maybe that was just down to the blanket of snow and freezıng wınds. After all, how can you fail to like a country where the word for "one" is "beer" and the word for "no" sounds like you are about to karate chop someone (hiyah).

We visited the grand bazaar, where men tried to sell us belly dancing outfits by leering at me and winking at Bevan. Wonder if that technique brings them much business?

The archaeology museum has a pretty amazing collection, especially considering how many artefacts from Turkey have ended up in other museums through Europe - a large sign complaining of this illegal appropriation was interestingly placed between exhibits of artefacts Turkey has nicked from Syria and Lebanon respectively...

We took advantage of a short window of sunshine to go on a cruise up the Bosphorous, the official division between Europe and Asia. I don't think I have ever hopped continents so many times in one morning! From our final stop, we discovered a ruined hilltop castle to explore, with views over the black sea.

And of course it wouldn't be Istanbul without a visit to a few mosques! The highlight is beautiful Aya Sofıa, built in 534AD as a Catholic church and one of the largest churches I have ever seen. In the 1500s, with the introduction of Islam to the region, a couple of minarets were added and the interiors plastered over... voila, instant mosque!
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