Istanbul (1/6)


At the end of May 2002 I had the chance of a short break in Istanbul. This was my first visit to Turkey.





The flight required a change at Schiphol airport. Whilst waiting for the connection we came across this amusing European-friendly cow.








The next day I went on a guided tour of some of the main attractions of the city. The first place we visited was Hagia Sophia, built in AD 537 by the Byzantine Empire and operated as a Christian church until 1453 when it was converted to a mosque. It is now officially a museum. The marble container shown here would have contained lamp oil during the Christian era.







As we left the guide pointed out this tenth century mosaic. An emperor and empress are offering symbols of Constantinople and Hagia Sophia to the Virgin Mary and Jesus.







Next we visited the Blue Mosque, completed in 1616. This picture shows four of the six minarets.









Inside the mosque is decorated with more than 20 000 turquoise tiles from which it derives its name.



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