Istanbul is a city rich in history. Formerly Constantinople, and cradle to the Ottoman Empire, it was founded 667 years before Christ and is the only city in the world built on two continents. I indulged in a nice Turkish Bath (not very expensive at about $40 for the whole service, including a massage.) My first stop was Istanbul’s most recognizable landmark, the Blue Mosque. The mosque was built opposite Haghia Sophia (originally a Christian church) to underline the supremacy of Islam over Christian Byzantium. The Blue Mosque gets its name from the blue Iznik tiles that dominate the interior. After leaving the Blue Mosque, I wandered over to the Grand Bazaar. Originally designed as the trading heart of an empire, the Grand Bazaar is a shopper’s delight for carpets, spices, souvenirs, leather goods, you name it. After the bazaar, I wandered around town a little more and ended up down by the Bosphorous waterway which links the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, dividing Europe from Asia (Istanbul sits on both sides of the Bosphorous, hence the “city on two continents” title). There are a number of ferries that run along the Bosphorous linking central Istanbul with outlying towns. It’s a great view from the bridge to watch all of the fishermen lining the railing and the ferries going by below.
Blue Mosque Apart
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is also known as Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built in the 17th century. It has only one main dome.The minarets and secondary domes has the imprints of the Ottoman Empire and the classical Islamic architecture. It is still used as a mosque where people pray. Interiors are spacious and nothing less than magical!