07 September, 2014 SUNDAY
T U R K E Y 101
VISIT THE BASILICA CISTERN, VISIT HAGIA SOPHIA, LUNCH AT
GELIK RESTAURANT, VISIT TOPKAPI PALACE, THE SPICE MARKET, DINNER AT
KUMKAPI AT KIRMIZI KARIDES FISH RESTAURANT OVERNIGHT AT OTEL AND
for Day 3
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WESTERN turkey 101 itinerary
Day 2 began with breakfast on the rooftop terrace of the And
Otel with its wonderful views of Haghia Sofia and the Blue
After gathering in the lobby, we walked across the street
to the Basilica Cistern, which dates back to 532 CE and the
Byzantine emperor, Justinian. The cistern is kept in partial
darkness, which seems to amplify the sound of the water. The
acoustics are fantastic, but unfortunately no music was playing
when we were there. A striking feature of the cistern is the
presence of 2 large Medusa heads, one upside down and one lying
on its side.
We then went to Haghia Sofia (meaning holy wisdom). Justinian,
too, is responsible for this beautiful building with its
enormous dome. During the Latin invasion, the church was
partially destroyed. In 1453, it became a mosque and in 1934,
it became a museum. Restoration work is on-going, but many of
the Orthodox frescoes can be seen.
After Haghia Sofia, we got on the bus and travelled to our
restaurant for lunch, with its reputation for excellent grilled
meats. As was typical of our ample meals, we sampled numerous
appetizers before the main course, including a wonderful smokey
After lunch, we got back on the bus and drove to Topkapi. We
did not have time to visit all the exhibits, but the grounds
were beautiful. I particularly like the tiles in the
circumcision room and the room for drinking sherbets.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent at Rustem Pasha mosque,
known for its beautiful Iznik tiles, and at the spice market
(also known as the Egyptian spice market) with its heaps of
brightly colored spices and heady aromas. The spice market is
still a working market and people can be seen. buying
ingredients for their evening meals in some parts of it.
Dinner was in the Kumkapi section of Istanbul, with fresh fish
for most of us. Some of us also sampled the raki, and we all
enjoyed the music.
Day 2 was a very full day, but we all needed to get our rest to
prepare for day 3 and the Grand Bazaar.