Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 2 - Mosques, museums and cisterns.

My third time in Istanbul but first in this early church, converted to a mosque. It is very quiet and very beautiful with much of the original Byzantine building visible, such as the marble frieze with greek writing. It's well lit and the mihrab in the priginal apse is offset to face Mecca, something you see in quite a fe mosques here, showing that it was originally a Byzantine church.

Up the hill to the Blue Mosque, with its huge dome, but leaden elephant pillars. The sun was out as we walked into the Hagia Sophia. Now this is a building. Nearly 1,500 years old and it still has the power to astound as you enter. 

Then the Basilica Cister. with its 300 plus columns, still a couple of feetof water, and queer Medusa heads at the foot of two columns. We had been in the other cistern with its 1001 columns, but this was just as im in a small pressive.

Lunch in a small retaurant YURT, with Turkish ravioli, meatballs, chicken, bacalava, cakes and coffee, then to clothes district - zips/buckles. badges and the Prince's and Fatih Mosque. A baclava stop then back to hotel.

Dinner in a small local restaurant, bean soup, lentil soup, roast chicken.


At 3:52 AM, Anonymous Rina Tripathi said...

Beautiful description. I have not seen such great beauty but whatever ancient architecture I see here in Delhi makes me linger for long around these stone buildings. Recently, am reading Bible and yesterday I read about the origin of Islam, it is so ordinary. Even the death of the prophet is due to an illness and there is even mention of his visiting graves and telling the dead that they are fortunate to be dead. In the Bible I read of the miracles and the ten commandments that Jesus adds to are very intelligent additions. If people really follow that there will be a very peaceful world. The Hindu epics and the scriptures are more close to the teachings of the Bible. Though I studied in a Christian school and said the Lords prayer everyday, I did not know till yesterday that this was preached in the sermon on the hill. You mention that you can see the Greek architecture beneath the mosque, here too you can glimpse the Hindu architecture beneath all Muslim buildings as they broke the idols and temples and then made mosques over these. Whatever the reason this all breaking and building was very barbaric. How the faith with so little substance became the religion of masses is beyond me. After his first wife died, the prophet had two new wives in Medina, I was curious to know if he had children with them. Maybe my idea of purity and religion is more that was taught by Buddha and the peaceful saying of vedas that proclaim: I am the universe and the universe is in me. No clash!


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