||e are about to take the
train. It is almost ten thirty when we will begin to move and i will
fall quickly to sleep. Some will argue that i have been sleeping all
day. today, was like a dream. we woke early, ate another phenomenal
breakfast.. olives... tomatoes.. cheeses... eggs ...ekmek (bread)..cornflakes,
yogurt, strawberries and cay(tea).
Chora is a really old mosque/church built in the 11th century.
Inside are incredible mosaics of Mary and Jesus and biblical
stories. It is interesting that uniform symbols of Christ were
decided in a small town near Chora and Istanbul. Besides being a
amazing expression of history and also of art. The mosaics are made
of tiny tiles of many colors and with gold leaf surrounding
everything. the church was turned into a mosque and the walls were
white washed and now the mosaics have been successfully
recovered because of it. the most interesting concept to me was the
equal value shown to Mary and Jesus. One part of the church depicts
Mary, a matriarch, integral to the culture of the time, while the
other part shows the life of Jesus.
Before going to Chora, we visited the covered market...basically
a crowded tunnel with amazing exotic things and harassing men
wanting to sell us things. I personally escaped to the book part
where it was quiet. there was everything from jewelry.. scarves..
carpets.. rugs etc.. Everyone was very happy and ready to shop,
We took a ferry across the Bosporus to the Asian part of
Istanbul. Our air was and scarves were blowing in the wind while
goose bumps appeared on our legs. Jelly fish swam beside the boat
through the wake the boat made when it was moving.
Finally we arrived at a beautiful garden. Mosaics lined the
garden with bright cobalt and turquoise. Mehmet, the block printer
we were visiting, the son of two famous Turkish artists, who brought
symbolism from their blue voyages back to Turkey. Mehmet, when you
see him , sat behind a large table with small glasses perched on his
nose. He was an amazing artist, but equally amazing were his life
stories. He and his wife told us countless times about how they met.
She was from Canada and they were pen pals. His father encouraged
him to go and visit her; they fell in love and moved to New Jersey
were he was in school. When Mehmet finished they moved back to
Istanbul, and he continued his parent's block printing business.
Mehmet's wife recently wrote a book about multicultural experience.
Mehmet's designs and his father's designs are original. He never
rests and always creating. He wants to pass his legacy on by
teaching his eldest son the business. He shares his secrets freely
with nothing to lose. Many people in the group have expressed this
was one of the most amazing experiences in the trip.