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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Istanbul, The Capital of Culture.......And Kebabs (Day 3)

Day 3 in Istanbul. Legs were feeling a bit sore after walking for so long the day before. Woke up early as usual for breakfast, then proceeded to my first location, Hagia Sophia....after that i went to and underground Bascilia Cistern....its dark in there but very beautiful as the dim lights shadows the basement.  

                                                         Entrance into the Hagia Sophia

                                Seated high on the dome of the apse are the Virgin and the Holy Child.
                                                           Arabic wordings on the walls

Bascilia Cistern is the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. Also dubbed as the 'Sunken Palace'. The cistern is located 500 feet (150 m) southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. Basilica is open every day from 09:00 hrs to 18:30 and the entrance fee is 10 TL (~7 USD) for foreign visitors. Underground waterway was used as a reservoir for water storage for the Great Palace and other buildings. Walk to the back of the Cistern, you'll find one upside down Medusa head supporting one of the columns. The place is dark and you feel as if like you're in a monsters lair. Beautifully lit up in the dark, perfect for photography.

Upside down Medusa head.

Turkish tea
This fish restaurant is located next to the Bosphorus ferry terminal
Grilled Mackerel with Potato salad
Boats docked at jetty next to Galata Bridge.
Strawberry Cheesecake.
I had to stop for lunch after i have visited the Bascilia Cistern

Silhouette of the New Mosue in Eminonu

 A floating restaurant selling Balick Emin or Grilled Mackerels


A cart selling picked fruits

The front entrance of the New Mosque

 Pigeons everywhere

 Close up of pigeon looking over his flock

 Inside the foyer of the New Mosque. A bidet

                                                                                      Next to the Spice Bazaar

After having lunch at the restaurant underneath Galata bridge, i decided to cross over to the the other side of the road to visit the New Mosque. There is a tram station just next to the Galata bridge, it's called Eminonu Station. Once you alight, you can see many booths selling Bosphurus ferry cruise. Some are authentic and some of them are simply touts offering cheap tickets for a lesser cruising time. Well back to the New Mosque. Hundreds of pigeons are flying around the entrances and the surrounding of the mosque and it's a perfect opportunity for tourists to take a photo up close and personal of the pigeons. There's a man that feeds them bread and selling merchandise around the front gate of the mosque too.

The Yeni Camii, The New Mosque or Mosque of the Valide Sultan (Turkish: 'Yeni Cami, Yeni ValideCamii') is an Ottoman imperial mosque located in the EminönĂ¼ district of Istanbul, Turkey. It is situated on the Golden Horn at the southern end of the Galata Bridge. It is one of the best-known sights of Istanbul. Next to the mosque is an L-shaped market other wise known as the Spice Bazaar. Thousands of spices all over the world is imported or exported to this bazaar, which offers unique sense of taste, smell and look. Turkish sweet delights, cinnamons, nuts, seeds and dried fruits are available. So too are those flavored Turkish tea. I had bought a Rose flavored Turkish tea back home, and it was so fragrant and different from our normal breakfast or Lipton tea. There was numerous shops selling these items and if you buy in bulk or a dozen, you might get an opportunity to make a bargain, that is if you are confident of making one. but it's worth trying and you won't regret it.

 Karakoy tram station

 Galata Tower in the background

 A long walk from the tram station to Galata tower

 Magnificent view of Istanbul City

 View of the Galata bridge

I then took the tram from Eminonu to Karakoy, to visit the Galata Tower. It's just one station away and the tram passes the bridge and you will get a view of the sea. It's long walk uphill towards the Galata Tower. It is a medieval stone tower in the Galata district of Istanbul, Turkey, just to the north of the Golden Horn. One of the city's most striking landmarks, it is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the skyline and affords a panoramic vista of Old Istanbul and its environs. The nine-story tower is 66.90 meters tall (62.59 m without the ornament on top, 51.65 m at the observation deck), and was the city's tallest structure when it was built. The elevation at ground level is 35 meters above sea-level. The tower has an external diameter of 16.45 meters at the base, an 8.95 meters diameter inside, and walls that are 3.75 meters thick. There is a restaurant and cafe on its upper floors which commands a magnificent view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus. Also located on the upper floors is a nightclub which hosts a Turkish show. There are two operating elevators that carry visitors from the lower level to the upper levels. It is not recommended for those who have fear of heights and the opening times are open daily from 9 am to 5 pm (7 pm in summer) for a few liras (half price on Monday). 

                                     Next part will be day 4. Stay tuned......

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