Page 4
Venice Trip & Cruise 2011
  Istanbul , Turkey   Map4-Istanbul


Very ancient settlements have been found on this site, but the history of Istanbul generally begins around 660 BCE, when King Byzas established Byzantion (Latinised as Byzantium) on the European side of the Bosphorus. The city experienced a brief period of Persian rule at the turn of the 5th century BC, but the Greeks recaptured it during the Greco-Persian Wars. Byzantium then continued as part of the Athenian League and then the Second Athenian Empire before gaining independence in 355 BCE. Byzantium officially became a part of the Roman Empire in AD 73.
In 324, Constantine won the Battle of Chrysopolis and effectively became the emperor of the whole of the Roman Empire. Just two months later, Constantine laid out the plans for a new, Christian city to replace Byzantium. As the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, it grew to the point that, when Rome declined in the 5th Century, Constantinople became the world's largest city. It remained largest until its own decline in the 10th Century. But it came back to again become one of the world's largest cities as it remains today with a population of 13,800.000.

As we approached Istanbul onboard the ship, we were able to see the 3 major attractions we ended up going to see.
From left to right: the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Topkapi Palace.

A closer view of the Topkapi Palace

Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge connects Europe and Asia across the strait
called The Bosporus which leads to the Black Sea.
The tiny island in the foreground has a famous building on it called the Maiden's Tower.

A closer view of Maidens Tower with the big bridge in the background

Maidens Tower At Night
Maidens Tower At Night, very pretty. It's the only thing on this little island, and there is a resturant in it
where we had dinner. After dining here, we were treated to one of their frequent traffic jams on the
Sultan Mehmet Bridge -- at 10PM. They seem to have traffic jams all day long in Istanbul.

Once our ship docked, we got this view from our veranda of the 3 major attractions again, but this time
from the opposite side of the hill, so from left to right they are:
the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

Some minor buildings on the grounds of the Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Exterior 1
Topkapi Exterior

Sublimely ornate window from inside the palace looking out.
(Same window is pictured from the outside in the above photo.)

Treasury Rooms
No photos were allowed, so we don't have our own shots of the magnificent jewels such as the
Emerald Dagger made famous in the movie "Topkapi", or the
Kasicki (Spoonmaker's) Diamond, fourth largest in the world. at 86 carats!
But you can click on these links to see them. So beautiful!
That photo of the diamond is about life-size.

Topkapi Interior 1
Topkapi Interior 1

Topkapi Interior 2
Topkapi Interior 2

Topkapi Interior 3

Topkapi Interior 3 - StainedGlass
Topkapi stained glass window

Topkapi Tile Painting
Topkapi tile painting

Still more Topkapi Palace buildings with Bader

We did take videos of the extensive palace grounds, but their size does not allow me to keep them on my website.
So this link covers the grounds as well as giving a good overview of the palace, including the treasures and the harem.
Video of the Topkapi palace (sarayi)

Hagia Sophia Exterior Distance
Hagia Sophia exterior from a distance

Hagia Sophia Closer Exterior
Hagia Sophia - closer exterior shot

Hagia Sophia Interior
Hagia Sophia Interior

360 view of the interior of Hagia Sophia
To navigate these 360 images, use the panel of arrows at upper left.
With this one, be sure to scan up!

Hagia Sophia - close-up of gold pulpit and stained glass windows

Blue Mosque midway from Hagia Sophia
Blue Mosque as seen midway from Hagia Sophia

360 view of Interior of the Blue Mosque

This is the view from our lunch restaurant, Metropolis,
on a pleasant street near the Topkapi Palace.

Also at Metropolis, a Turkish beer cheer

The entrance to the Golden Horn (like Vancouver's False Creek, but much bigger).
Our docking location was right by the Galata Tower.

Bill near Galata Bridge
We walked across the Galata Bridge which led us to this mosque (which we didn't go in)
It is right next to the Spice Bazaar (a.k.a. Egyptian Bazaar) where we were headed.

Spice Market - Candy Vendor
Inside the Spice Bazaar, a Turkish candy shop.
We couldn't go to Turkey without trying some Turkish delight, a rosewater-flavoured candy.

2011Cruise-422B-SpiceMarketNuts and Caviar
Caviar and nut vendor

A last view of the Istanbul skyline with the 2 beautiful mosques we visited


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