The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Other Images of Istanbul

Ceiling Blue Mosque Istanbul
I'll admit it. This is the most beautiful place of worship I've ever been in.

There have been many times many times in our travels when I have been speechless. Looking up at this ceiling in the Blue Mosque of Istanbul is one of them. That's not paint up there, by the way. It is millions of little bits of ceramic. The whole ceiling is a mosaic that must have taken hundreds of people thousands of hours to do. But it was worth it.

For a similar view of a mosque ceiling, only slightly less lovely, see The Mosque of Muhammad Ali in Cairo.

hagia sophia istanbul
The other great church of Istanbul is the Hagia Sophia.

I probably made about 50 exposures while I was in the Hagia Sophia, and didn't like any of them until I put the camera on a short platform and took a long exposure. I don't really like the lights they've hung there, but seen from a different perspective, they aren't so bad.

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grand bazaar istanbul
Mehmet was hard to turn down. And we couldn't. But, in our defense, the prices we ended up with were about 20 percent of his original ask. And our kids loved the Christmas gifts.

The thing about the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul is that it's actually full of stuff that you do want to buy. We bought spices, nuts, three paintings, and two carpets, and thoroughly enjoyed the process. I consider myself very lucky that I got out of Mehmet's shop with only two carpets. Hey, I was going to buy Christmas gifts anyway. Right?

grand bazaar istanbul
The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul really is a magical and beautiful place.

It's awfully hard to walk through the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul without coming out with some carpets, some spices and nuts, and a few works of art. At least it was for us.

girl party istanbul
She looks about three to me, but she already has mastered the art of looking cute in front of the camera.

We met a very nice gentleman in Istanbul…well, he was trying to sell us carpets and tours…but we did get a little walking tour of old Istanbul as part of the sales pitch. And part of that tour was dropping in on his granddaughter's birthday party. The party hadn't really started yet, but we got a glass of tea and a pastry out of the deal anyway.

If you're visiting Istanbul, you should check out this Fener-Balat locals guide to see some neighborhoods most tourists don't get to.
lamps Istanbul restaurant turkey
I love how there was no attempt of continuity, as you'd see in an over-designed American restaurant. This place was eclectic, and beautiful.

We went into the restaurant in the old section of Istanbul just so I could take this picture. We ended up staying for supper. The fish was wonderful.

fisherman bosphorus images istanbul
A Bosphorus fisherman repairing his nets. An unending job.

The piers at the town of Anadolu Kavagi, Turkey, at the end of the Bosphorus near the mouth of the Black Sea, was lined with fishing boats–and excellent fresh fish restaurants. I watched this man work on his nets for about ten minutes. From the look of the enormous pile of net in front of him, he had a lot of work in front of him.

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4 thoughts on “The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Other Images of Istanbul”

  1. We’ll be going to Istanbul in a couple months – thinking of spending 3 weeks there. Hagia Sophia looks incredible – for me the most impressive religious building I’ve seen is the Mezquita in Cordoba (so far…)

    • The Mezquita would be better if they hadn’t stuck that Christian cathedral into the middle of it. But it is amazing, especially the Mizrab. If you’re talking Christian stuff, though, I’m going to have to go with Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia when it comes to mind blowing.


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