April 4, 2016
We decided to visit the Istanbul Cistern, Süleymaniye Mosque (recommended by two people), the university district and the Grand Bazaar.
Our hotel was just around the corner from the cistern so it only took us a few minutes to get to the entrance. The Cistern costs 20 TL (best bang for your buck) and it takes you below the city to the largest ancient cistern in Istanbul. It dates back to the 6th century and in 1985 underwent its restoration. It is famous for its two Medusa carved columns in the north east corner. For more detailed information here is a link: Istanbul Basilica Cistern
Upon entering we were greeted with 336 beautiful marble columns, pools of fresh water, fish included. The walkways took us through with many signs explaining what we were seeing. Our photos do not do it justice. It is a must see when visiting Istanbul.
|our first view of the Cistern|
|yes, those are fish you see, they were left in to show that the water was/is fresh and not salt water|
|view of the ceiling|
|many columns (low light setting on the camera)|
|another shot with a flash|
|Crying Column - is different from the other columns as it has the appearance of always crying since it is wet. It is reported that it was erected in memorial of the slaves who died during the construction of the Great Basilica.|
|yes, this is Medusa's head.......|
|the second head was placed upside down|
Medusa Head columns - the two Medusa head columns are found in the north east corner of the Cistern and are a great example of the Roman Age art sculptures. It is not known where these two heads came from , but there is a rumour saying that they were brought here after being removed from an antique building of the late roman period. Another mystery is about why one of the Medusa heads is upside down while the other is tilted on its side.
|dimly lit columns behind me|
|on our way to Süleymaniye Mosque we came across a chair that had been modified into a cat house|
As we walked past stores and along streets we ended up following a high wall (which I first thought) might surround the university. It turns out that it surrounds the mosque that we were looking for.
As we turned a few more corners we came upon the mosque with a huge courtyard. The feel was so different from that of the Blue Mosque. Partly because there were less tourists but also it had a more peaceful air about it.
Upon entering there is no question that it is a more spiritual place (in my opinion). The decor much simpler than the Blue Mosque. In reality there is no comparison between the two because they are so different with the exception of both being mosques.
I felt very much at peace inside this mosque with its individual places designated by the carpet and the quiet simplicity of the decor.
|the wall that wraps around the mosque|
|first glimpse of Süleymaniye Mosque|
|the main entryway|
|Paige "loving" her head scarf|
|exterior ceiling artwork|
|up close shot|
|glass window that adorns the upper portion in the courtyard|
|wooden doors in the outside courtyard area|
|sufficiently covered to enter the mosque|
|view of the fountain inside the courtyard|
|interior carpet, individual spots for praying|
|interior ceiling domes|
|central ceiling dome|
|stunning stained glass|
|women's praying area (much smaller than the mens area)|
|male praying area|
|Yes, this is an ostrich egg. It supposedly keep spiders and insects away as they don't like the smell.|
|view of the inside|
|ablution area outside the mosque|
|outside view of the mosque|
Once we had finished viewing the mosque we headed into the university district for a bite to eat and to see if we could find the aqueduct. Upon arrival we all were getting tired so decided against trying to find that aqueduct. We were able to see a small portion of it on our way to the café.
This café served THE best chicken shish that I have eaten in Turkey. We watched the bustle of students as they came and went during their lunch break. Once we had finished our lunch we headed around to see the universities main entrance. As we were walking I noticed several stamps in the concrete with a symbol and a date, I thought it looked really nice so I snapped a photo (later I saw another with a different date, I figure that it is when the area was built). The university entrance does not lack style. True to turkish grander it is quite the sight.
The entrance overlooks a small square with many pigeons. The girls of course wanted to feed the birds and as we were walking through a lady "handed" out seeds in trays. In reality the lady was hoping for a "donation". We gave her some money but I don't think she was super pleased at the amount. We finally made our way to the Grand Bazaar and on to our hotel. Another super day in Istanbul!
|university district (view of the aqueduct that runs through)|
|on our way to the university I noticed this stamp in the side of a bridge (later I saw another that had the same stamp but different date, perhaps it marks the year it was built)|
|feeding pigeons out front of the university|
|gate 1 of the grand bazaar|
|home to many pigeons|