Turkey: Wandering in Istanbul and Beyond

My 2008 journey into Turkey was the first time I went backpacking. Some of the most captivating moments in Istanbul and beyond include:

  • Walking around Istanbul in the rain. It was worth getting soaked in the rain so as to get a close-up look at the magnificent Blue Mosque, the opulent Topkapi Palace, the venerable Aya Sofya, and the ancient Basilica Cistern!!!

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    The Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1619. It is an exemplar of the Ottoman architecture.

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    The Blue Mosque

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    The Blue Mosque – solemn prayers inside the mosque. For a useful introductory survey of the history of Islam (in German), see http://www.geo.de/GEO/heftreihen/geo_epoche/geo-epoche-islam-80780.html

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    The Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya are opposite to each other, and they look so alike. It is said that the Byzantine architectural style embodied by Aya Sofya has influenced the Ottoman architectural style represented by the Blue Mosque.

     

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    Aya Sofya – the huge circular meddallions inscribed with the Islamic calligraphy. For more information, see http://www.hagiasophia.com/listingview.php?listingID=13

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    Aya Sofya – the Byzantine Apse Mosaic depicting Virgin Mary and Baby Christ. For more information, see http://www.hagiasophia.com/listingview.php?listingID=12

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    Basilica Cistern – It was built by the Byzantine emperor Constantine and enlarged by Justinian.

  • Being awed by the impressive ruins of the Library of Celsus and meeting the “Romans” in Ephesus.

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    The Library of Celcus – It was built in 117 CE (the Roman period). For more information, see http://www.ephesus.us/ephesus/celsuslibrary.htm

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    The Library of Celsus – Ephesus reached the height of its glory during the Roman period. St. Paul, St. John and Virgin Mary visited Ephesus in its heyday.

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    The Libary of Celsus

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    The Great Theatre – It was first constructed in the Hellenistic Period and then enlarged during the Roman period. For more information, see http://www.ephesus.us/ephesus/theatre.htm

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    The “Romans” in Ephesus

  • Dipping into the gleaming travertine pools in Pamukkale
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Pamukkale

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Pamukkale

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Pamukkale

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Rich Breakfast in Pamukkale

  • Sleeping under the stars on the rocky slopes of Mt Olympus. This was unplanned. It was just too tiring and dangerous to get down from the mountain in the dark after the climb of so many steps to watch Chimaera (a cluster of flames that burn spontaneously from crevices of rocks emitting methane and other gases).

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    Chimaera

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    The serene beach

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    The serene beach

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    Kadir’s treehouse

  • Climbing up the fairy chimneys (huge stone mushrooms formed by volcanic materials and erosion) in Cappadocia. I had fallen into one of the “chimneys” and had thought that I would be paralysed for life. Luckily, I got lifted up from the “chimney” by others and just got several bruises and nothing else 🙂 The Byzantine murals inside the Göreme Open-Air Museum were amazing! For more information, see  http://www.sacred-destinations.com/turkey/cappadocia-goreme-cave-churches

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Cappadocia

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Cappadocia

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Last Updated: 17th June 2017