O6 September, 2014 sATURDAY
Submitted by Kathy MarambE kathymarambe@comcast.net


T U R K E Y    101


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The Blue Mosque

The Byzantine Hippodrome


Today is the first day of our tour of Western Turkey. We began by meeting at the And Otel and then walked across the street to the restaurant for tea and conversation. Meli started to explain a few housekeeping items, but the Call to Worship kept interrupting her. We managed to listen to her and the chanter, and introduced ourselves.. Buddies were chosen so we would "look out for each other" on the tour. We then walked together over to the large square between the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Meli reminded us that this was where the Byzantine Hippodrome was built during Constantine's reign. It was to be better than the Romans, so was three times the size of the previous Roman stadiums. It had a seating capacity of 100,000 people. We observed the obelisk, which had been brought from Egypt and Greece, representing the lands ruled by Constantinople. The top was over 3500 years old, and the base was 1700 years old. We also saw the Gazebo that was built for the German Kaiser, since Turkey had sided with Germany during World War I. From the square, we then went into the Blue Mosque, with the women wearing their shawls, and all of us removing our shoes. There are 10 entrances into the outside courtyard and less entrances directly into the Mosque. It was built from 1609-1616 by the orders of the Sultan who wanted the biggest and tallest mosque constructed. He also wanted it to face the Hagia Sophia which wasn't considered possible. Well, the Sultan did not get his way on all his requests, but the architect did design a magnificient mosque. The foundation was built with stones from the destruction of the Hippodrome and blue tiles were utilized throughout the interior. The 17th century Europeans were so impressed with the beautiful tiles that they began to refer to it as the Blue Mosque. It was an engineering and mathematical marvel, due to the use of half and quarter domes which allowed for the support of the main, huge dome without need of numerous columns.

Following our tour of the Blue Mosque and picture taking, we all departed to walk together to a local restaurant, The Blue House. We sat on the rooftop as the sun was setting and we had a fantastic view of the Blue Mosque as it lit up the sky. The food was superb with various courses, and people relaxed and began to get to know each other better. It was a very special first evening as we ended the day and returned to the And Otel, anticipating many shared adventures to come.


BLUE MOSQUE                                                                                   AND HOTEL                





Hunkar Begendi: ( The SULTAN LIKED IT) Mashed eggplant with meat
Ingredients : 5 medium sized fat eggplants, 2 cups of milk, one cup cream cheese, 2 spoons of flower, salt and black pepper to taste. 2 sticks of butter.
  2 pounds of beef, lean and chopped in small chunks , 4 tomatoes 2 table spoons of olive oil add 3 cups of water

 Heat the olive oil, sauté the meat, and add grated tomatoes, sauté with the tomatoes. Add water, salt, and black pepper and cook until the water is almost finished and meat is tender. On stove (preferably on gas stove, but electric stove will work as well) cook the eggplants until the skin is completely burned. Take the eggplants from fire and set it on a sivve let it cool. Once it is cooled, take the burned skin (might be easy to do that with a spoon. Put the flesh of the eggplant on a sivve and let the juice drain. Melt the butter in a pan, add flower, brown the flower until you can smell the flower, add milk, cheese, eggplants salt and a pinch of black pepper. Make sure you stir it carefully so there will be no lumps. Serve it warm.

Stuffed peppers, Stuffed tomatoes
Ingredients (serves 4):
5 medium sized peppers  3 tomatoes - 2 1/4 cups water - 1 cup rice, washed and drained - 4-5 medium sized onions, chopped - 2 tbsp currants - 2 tbsp pine nuts - 1 1/2 tbsp mint - 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil - 4 tbsp sugar - 1 tsp salt+ 2 small tomatoes to be sliced to cap the peppers  Sautee the onions with the oil for about 10 minutes in a medium-sized pot. Then add the rice, sugar and salt, stir and cover the lid. Cook on very low heat until the rice looks see through. Add the nuts, currants, mint and a cup of water. Stir occasionally on low heat. Cook until all the water evaporates and put aside.Cut off the tops of the peppers using a small knife. Discard the seeds inside the peppers. Stuff the peppers with the filling using a tablespoon. Place the sliced tomatoes as seen in the picture. Put in a medium sized pot along with 1 1/4 cup of water poured over the peppers. Cover the lid; cook until most of the water evaporates on medium-low heat. Serve Stuffed Peppers cold with fresh lemon juice, before your main dish


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for Day  2 istanbul     
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turkey 101 itinerary