We traveled to Istanbul on the way to Frankfurt for fabric buying at Heimtextil. Since Istanbul was a stop on the historic “Silk Road” and Wesco Fabrics sells silks, we thought it was the perfect destination. With over 14 million people and an amazing visual mix of historical sites ranging from Byzantium, Roman and Ottoman periods, along with ultra-modern architecture, Istanbul is nothing short of incredible! The famous Sultan Ahmed, or Blue Mosque, sits majestically in the historic Sultanahmet district.
I love this architectural detail above one of the doors to the blue Mosque.
This is the spacious interior of the famous mosque.
The ceilings mesmerize the eye with its motifs and colors.
We stopped to look at the ancient “Hurrem Sultan Hamami” built as public baths in 1556.
Roman Emperor Theodosius placed an Egyptian Obelisk in the Hippodrome in 390. This was an area of sporting and social gatherings.
The Basilica Cistern built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in 532 is the largest of over a hundred cisterns under Istanbul.
Hagia Sophia is one of Istanbul’s most iconic monuments. Originally a Christian Church in 537, it became a Mosque in the 15th century, and today is a museum.
The interiors of the Hagia Sophia are spellbinding!
I love the intricate artistry and workmanship.
Our day guide, Sema Uysal from Couture travel, escorted us to many of the most famous sights. After a full morning of touring we stopped for lunch at the famous “Sultanahmet Koftecisi”, where the locals love their famous meatballs, or Kofta.
Marla and I enjoyed the colorful rugs made by nomadic tribes from eastern Turkey. I almost bought a $2,800 rug until Marla said, “Where are you going to put it?”
We shopped like locals on Sunday with throngs of people on the steep streets of Sultanahmet.
Numerous stores sell fancy clothes for a boy’s circumcision ritual, an important family ceremony in Turkey.
A visit to Istanbul must include a visit to the famous “Grand Bazaar.” It is easy to get lost in the labyrinth of shopping alleyways. Started by Mehmet II in 1453, the Grand Bazaar is the oldest and largest covered bazaar in the world.
The Galata Tower rises triumphantly on the hill across the Golden Horn. Our trip was cut a few days short by weather problems in Chicago, but we enjoyed every minute of our time in Istanbul. It should be on everyone’s Bucket list for sure.
***VIDEO OF THE MUEZZIN CALL TO PRAYERS.
***VIDEO OF ISTANBUL AT NIGHT.
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