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Sultanahmet Meydani square
originally the Hippodrome of
Constantinople (AD 324). Set up
for Ramadan communal eating.
Obelisks brought to decorate the
Hippodrome. The near pillar is
the Obelisk of Thutmose III (BC
1490). The far pillar is the
Walled Obelisk (possibly 10th
Century AD).
The Entrance to the Courtyard of
the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed
Mosque AD 1609).
The many domes of the Blue
Mosque from its courtyard.
Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom)
know now as Ayasofya. The third
church on this site it was
completed AD 537.  Now it is a
A street in the Cankurtaran
neighbourhood near the Blue
Courtyard wall around the Blue
Mosque. The taps along the wall
are foot washing stations.
The well-travelled obelisk of Thutmose
III. Erected in Egypt (BC 1490), moved
by Constantius II to Alexandria (AD
357) then moved to Constantinople by
Theodosius (AD 390).
Street car line cutting through
Sultanahmet right near the Blue
Efendi Hotel (where I stayed) a
block away from the Blue
Mosque, Ayasofya and the
The Yerebatan (Basilica) Cistern
beneath the streets of the
Hippodrome. Constructed in AD
532 by Emperor Justinian.
The roof of the cistern is held up
by 336 marble columns. Mainly
Ionic and Corinthian styles
though there are some re-used
columns in other styles.
Raised pictures of a Hen's Eye and
tears. Legends suggest that the
tears on the column pay tribute to
the hundreds of slaves who died
during the cistern construction.
One of two Medusa column.
Placed on its side to negate the
power of the Gorgon. Or more
likely because it fit better this
The massive open nave of Hagia
Sophia. Constructed in AD 537
as a Eastern Orthodox Cathedral
by Emperor Justinian.
Circular marble slabs in the floor
of Hagia Sophia called the
Omphalion. On this spot every
Emperor of the East Roman Era
was crowned (AD 330-1453).
The interior of Hagia Sophia. The
enormous disks are Muslim
additions that date from 1849. The
building was a Mosque from AD
Hagia Sophia is one of the few
surviving examples of Byzantine
architecture. The dome is 182
feet above the floor at its height.
The Comnenus mosaics dates
from AD 1122. The virgin Mary in
the middle, Emperor John II
Komnenos (AD 1087-1143)  on her
right and Empress Irene on the left.
The Empress Zoe mosaics date
from the 11th Century. Christ is
center flanked by Empress Zoe
(AD 978-1050) and her third
husband Constantine IX.
Viking runic inscription on a
parapet on the top floor. Believed
to say "Halfdan was here". Vikings
were employed as guards and
mercenaries in Byzantium.
The Blue Mosque and its six
minarets viewed from the SUltan
Ahmet Park.
The interior of the Blue Mosque.
Light comes in through more than
200 windows. The walls are
covered with more than 20,000
ceramic tiles.
The name Blue Mosque became
popular because the upper levels
of tiles in the Mosque are
predominately blue.
The fountain in Sultan Ahmet
Park looking toward the Blue
Much of the accessible part of
Topkapi Palace is the Treasury
housed in the Conqueror's
Pavilion. You cannot take photos
accept on the outdoor patio.
Another view of the Bosphorus
dividing Europe (left) from Asia
Precisely detailed domed ceiling
in one of the 400 rooms of the
Imperial Harem.
A sitting room in the Imperial
The Courtyard of the Favourites
forms the last section of the
Harem and overlooks a large pool
and gardens.
The line-up for the Treasury in
the Conqueror's Pavilion. I had to
line up a second time when I
realized I missed the Topkapi
Dagger on the first pass.
Chambers of the West side of the
Third Courtyard.
Gate of Salutation leads into the
Palace and Second Courtyard. An
inscription on the gate says 1542
but it is probably older.
Lions is relief from the
procession street in Babylon
dating from BC 604 to 562.  
Made from glazed brick.  In the
Istanbul Archaeological Museum.
Assyrian army soldiers in
procession carved in basalt.
Dating from BC 744-727.
Late Hittite period 9th century
BC lions in relief from the west
side of the citadel gate in
More animals from the
processional way in Babylon (BC
604 - 562).
The Istanbul Archaeological
Museum building. The building
and museum opened in 1891.
Inside the museum an enormous
Egyptian sarcophagus.
Ceramics in the Tiled Kiosk
Hagia Sophia from the terrace of
the Cihannuma Restaurant. The
restaurant with the best view in
Sultanhamet (and good food).
The Blue Mosque from the
terrace of the Cihannuma
The Column of Constatine or the
Burnt stone or Hooped column.
Dedicated on May 11, 330. It
has been damaged by
earthquakes, fires and crusaders.
The entrance to the Grand
Bazaar one of the oldest (at least
500 years) covered markets in
the world. It has 61 covered
streets and over 3,000 shops.
On of the main streets in the
Grand Bazaar lined with jewelry
Another entrance to the Grand
Bazaar. There are many
entrances and the bazaar shops
spill out of the covered area into
the nearby streets.
The Sultanahamet tram. You
pay to get on the platform not to
get on the tram.
On board the fast, modern tram.
The tram connects the airport to
the old city and across the
Golden Horn to Galata.
Making the climb up the hill to
the Galata tower.
Galata Tower was constructed
by the Genoese in 1348. It has
been a fortification, prison and  
The tower is 66.9 metres tall.
The Golden Horn in the
foreground and the Bosphorus in
the background.  On the horizon
is Asia.
Sultanahamet or the Old city of
Istanbul. Hagia Sophia and the
Blue Mosque in the middle of the
photo. The body of water in the
background is the Sea of Marmara.
Topkapi Palace as seen from
across the Golden Horn. The
tower is the Tower of Justice.
One of my favourite photos. The
Golden Horn, Bosphorus and
rooftop restaurants in Galata in
the foreground.
The Galata neighbourhood
from the tower.
One of the 34 traditional ferry
boats operating on the Golden
Horn and the Bosphorus.
There are 4 bridges cross the
Golden Horn. Here is the brand
new (2013) Halic Metro Bridge
and the Attaturk Bridge (1836).
Beyazit tower was built in 1828.
The tower is 85 meters in height
and was built over the Golden
Horn to detect fires in Istanbul.
The Yeni Cami, meaning New
Mosque. Originally named the
Valide Sultan Mosque. Begun in
AD 1597 it underwent a
reconstruction in the 1660s.
The Bosphorus bridge connecting
Europe and Asia. It was the 4th
largest suspension bridge in the
World when it opened in 1973
(now it is the 22nd).
Rumelihisarı fortress was built by
Sultan Mehmed II in 1452 in order
to control the Bosphorus and
prevent aid from reaching
Constantinople during the Turkish
siege of the city in 1453.
Nice waterfront properties line
the Asian side of the Bosphorus.
A really steep road climbs up the
side of the hills lining the Asian
side of the Bosphorus.
The Maiden`s Tower at the
southern entrance of the
Bosphorus strait. There have
been towers on this tiny islet
since AD 1110.
The Galata bridge across the
Golden Horn has numerous
restaurants situated on a lower
level just above the water.
On my last evening in Turkey I
went all in at the Cihannuma
restaurant with their signature
kebab dish.
And for after the meal I tried
some super sweet Baklava.
Restaurants lining the streets in
An outdoor kitchen for breaking
the Ramadan fast was set up in
the street/alley outside my Hotel