Day 16 (morning)Temperature: 15 degreesWeather: cloudy periods
This morning Michel and I were up at 6:00am and after having enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, we were ready to embrace the day’s busy itinerary here in Istanbul with open arms!
First stop of the day was at the Grand Bazaar, a major tourist shopping area where mazes of alleys and shops blew me away from the painted arches of the shops glowing lanterns to the carpets and spices all over the place! You name it, they had it all! I was in fantasyland!
Founded in 1461, the bazaar was designed as the trading heart of an empire and even though it was destroyed several times by earthquakes and fire throughout the centuries, it always bounced back and flourished to what now stood in front of me!
We had an hour and a half to wander around and shop till we dropped which unfortunately wasn’t enough time for me! The alleys were very well marked with electronic signs and numbers…..talk about sophistication….making it impossible for us to get lost even if we wanted to! But of course, this being as long as we remembered our entrance’s number! And no, we didn’t get lost and made it back to the motor coach on time after purchasing several souvenirs!
Next stop on the list was the famous 17th
century Blue Mosque where we followed Daghan all around it before eventually stepping inside. Having seen it at night with Michel more than a couple of weeks ago and this, prior to the start of our tour, I was still blown away by the beauty of it at daylight and of its six minarets.
The Blue Mosque was completed in 1616 and even though it is known in Turkish as the Sultan Ahmet Camii, today it is recognized worldwide as the Blue Mosque mainly because of its interior blue Iznik tiles! Makes sense to me…..plus the name is much easier to remember don’t you find!
We had to take our shoes off before going in. At least we were walking on carpet because it wasn’t that warm on the feet. The interior had a beautiful main dome being 140 feet high supported by four giant columns, 16 feet each in diameter!
Looking up, straight up at the tiles, they were much too high on the mosque interior walls to examine in detail but at least I saw and can confirm to you that they were blue in color! Hahaha! Well, the traditional blue anyway being the main dominant color because it also had turquoise, red and white. Daghan went on telling us that there were 20,143 tiles altogether of 70 different styles! Now you know why I was so much blown away by the mosque’s beauty!
Stepping outside, we then all went in the direction of the next place to visit on our itinerary, a mere few yards away! Looking back behind me, the Blue Mosque looked splendid under the blue sky!Monique :-)