It was a relaxing day of sightseeing in this beautiful city. First a late breakfast in the upper floor breakfast room. After that the boys went back to the playstation/computer game and JJ and Rudy strolled up the hill to the Blue Mosque.
What struck us most was the huge 4 columns on which the dome structure is built. They have a diameter of over 5 meters. The ceiling is quite high and obscured a bit by all the lines on which the lamps are hanging. This mosque from 1619 AD is still being use and since today is Friday, we had to hurry a bit before it closes for Friday’s prayer. We still managed to sit down and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere in the mosque for half an hour before heading off to the nearby Hippodrome Park to see the obelisk of Theodosius, taken from Luxor and erected here in the third century.
From here we visited the city’s cistern which was just below the street we walked on and it consisted of a 120 x 80 m area with pillars every 2m supporting the faulted roof. Great photo opportunities for Rudy.
We then walked back uphill towards the souk (Grand Bazaar) entrance and wandered around the covered streets looking for nothing.
There was not much price haggling possible and you also did not get hassled too much. It has a sophisticated atmosphere like most of this city. Modernization does take away a lot of the charm out of an old city. On the other hand it makes it accessible for a lot of people. The town is full of tourists of all ages and nationalities. After a short stop at Starbuck’s for coffee, we picked up the boys and visited the TopKapi Palace Museum.
It is a good site to visit but in hindsight I would have preferred us to drop in at the archeological museum next door and see some statues. In TopKapi you see some armour and sparkling jewelry which is not really my cup of tea. We stayed in the hotel till after sunset, reading books on the roof terrace and enjoying the cool weather and the view of boats tugging by on the Bosporus. It was a beautiful feeling to be able to sit on a rooftop in one of the old capital cities of the world.