Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sights and sounds in Old Istanbul

We spent 3 days in Old Istanbul in the Sultanahment district. We got a lovely hotel (Eski Konak Hotel) that was a quick walk away from the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya and Topkapi Palace. Our street was a typical tourist-trap street filled with hotels and restaurants. (sort of annoying since nearly every restaurant had an identical menu)

We walked through the Blue Mosque (aka sultanahmet camii) which is an active mosque - we got kicked out at prayer time. Andrew went through the Aya Sofya one morning while Julie wandered around. Aya Sofya is huge inside! It is awe-inspiring.

One evening Andrew wanted to watch the sunset over Old Istanbul from the other side of the Golden Horn (the harbour) so we went to the fancy restaurant 360 which has great views over to Sultanahmet and the Asian side of Istanbul. Good food (eclectic Turkish) and a pretty trendy spot. Afterwards we wandered the street where we were last Saturday night. Stopped in an alley to have a beer and listen to some guys play music. Then stopped in another alley to watch the end of the Turkey-Bulgaria futbol match - it's cool: big screen w/HD hanging outside in the alley.

On our last day we went through the Topkapi Palace which is where the Ottoman Empire was governed from, and where the Sultans lived. There's a lot of history there as well as many artifacts of Islam (bits of Prophet Muhammed's beard for example, and the staff that Moses used to part the Red Sea).

We're heading back to Sly's place: Krista's landed in Turkey and Andrew's flying to Milan on Friday.

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