I’m moving to Istanbul

Ok not really, I wish,  but if there is a place I recommend going this is definitely it (in a addition to Prague, of course).

This was the wrap-up destination for my end-of-year trip and it sealed the deal wonderfully. Istanbul, as some of the history nerds may know, was for many centuries the capital for various empires, including the Ottoman empire. This has resulted in a city that is home to some of the most amazing pieces of history while it continues to be hip and cosmopolitan.

Sultanahmet 

Though I have a bit of an aversion to touristy places during my trips and definitely try to stay away from tour guides a recommend 100% that you go to old part of the city where you can find the Sultanhamet Mosque, (Blue mosque), the Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace and the Cisterna.

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The Sultan Ahmed mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque because of the mosaics of this color that adorn it, was built under the rule of the Sultan Ahmed I, who it is named after. It is an architectural wonder doted with many domes and intricate art on it’s wall. Surprisingly it took only about 7 years to build, being completed in 1616.

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Having visited already many mosques I was surprised with the architectural style of this ones since it look somewhat more European than middle Eastern. Guess that’s because Istanbul is one of the few cities that stretches between two continents.

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Hagia Sofia

This was by far one of my favorite attractions in Istanbul. In short Hagia Sofia is now a museum, but what makes it spectacular is the fact that it was originally built as staple of Christianity during the Byzantine Empire and served as enormous church. When Arabs took control of the area they turned the basilica into a mosque. However, they preserved many of the frescos and mosaics with the saints images while adding elements of Islam. As you probably guessed this resulted in a rare decorative combination.

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This and the Angel St. Gabriel, with four wings.

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ABove you can see the perfect example of the mix. While the panel Mohammed (Arab friends correct me if I’m wrong) above inside the dome there is an image of the Virgin Mary and Jesus on her lap.

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Tired and a bit cold we headed toward Fuego Café in the old city, which I totally recommend, since the service is amazing and the food even more plus they put a spin on traditional turkish food.

What is the most amazing Cathedrals you have ever been to?

Have you ever been to Turkey? What was your favorite part?

 

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