Day 2, April 21st

Day 2, April 21st              Return to day 1    |    Advance to day 3   |    Hagia Sophia Pix   |   Bosphorus Pix
Today, we visited the Hagia Sophia (see also separate gallery), the Basilica Cistern, and took a boat ride on the Bosphorus (see separate gallery) – all of this before lunch. After lunch, walked around the block to a spot that serves the world’s best baklava, visited the world’s second oldest subway station and walked down İstiklal Avenue and back to our hotel.

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We visited the Hagia Sophia this morning. Here is the interior of this building which was first a Cathedral, then a Mosque and now a museum. Link to slideshow for the Hagia Sophia.

We visited the Basilica Cistern (Turkish: Yerebatan Sarayı - "Sunken Palace") which was a short walk from the Hagia Sophia. The city of Constantinople was protected by a great wall, but it's water source was from a aqueduct which brought water from outside of the city walls. The Emperor Justinian completed this cistern to help the city withstand a siege. The columns were "recycled from the ruins of older buildings (a process called 'spoliation'), likely brought to Constantinople from various parts of the empire, together with those that were used in the construction of Hagia Sophia. They are carved and engraved out of various types of marble and granite." (according to wiki)

One of the famous Medusa heads in the Cistern believed to be used to shore up a column that was too short.

We took a boat ride at the end of this drizzly morning. Here is a bridge, under construction, which will help connect the mass transit system.

After having a light lunch near the seaport by the Galata Bridge, at the opening of the Golden Horn, our guide, Ersin, took us to his favorite Baklava place - Karaköy Güllüoğlu. BTW, if you want recipes, look under the "About Baklava" tab. Should I ever want to make baklava, I will consult the experts here. The butter used on the baklava that we had came from Alpine sheep - it was subtle and surprising for me to taste. mmm great food.

We walked over to Tünel (The Tunnel), the world's second oldest subway station which entered service in 1875, per the wiki.

Often I find the plaques provided on site to be very informative. Since returning and researching things, I find that the site plaques are as good as anything I can find online, often better.

From Roseanna.

İstiklal Avenue in the Beyoğlu district.

We happened upon 2 peaceful protests, both having more policemen than protesters, I think.

This poster was advertizing an exhibit which is now closed. It was called "Between Desert and Sea - A Selection from the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts".

We visited the Church of St. Anthony of Padua, Istanbul. It was on the pedestrian mall on İstiklal Avenue in the Beyoğlu district.

I love this statue.

Here is the square as viewed from the front of the Church.

A creative listing of "don't do's". Some day, I will put a collection of this type of sign together. We have seen an amazing assortment.

Istanbul's Taksim Square, the scene of many protests since late May. This is the Monument of the Republic (1928). See Wiki on Taksim Square or Wiki for Gezi Park (part of Taksim Square planned to be redeveloped, sparking protests.).

Peter walking into our hotel.

This is the side of the hotel, with its "opera" windows.

One of our first iPhone photos. We are on the top of our hotel with the Bosphorus in the background.

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View Approximate walking directions to Opera Hotel in a larger map\

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