Istanbul - Mosques, churches, and cisterns!

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I took many many photos inside and outside the mosques, etc, so have tried to be a little selective here and not show you everything.  You will have to visit for yourself! 

In this photo below, from left to right, you can see the Topkapi Palace, the Haj Sofia and the Blue Mosque; these are must-see places to visit, but Istanbul is full of magnificent buildings with amazing histories.

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Images of Topkapi Palace, mostly taken inside the harem. These buildings are heavily tiled inside, giving them a cold toilet-like feel!  Hard to get the sense of lush opulence one was expecting.

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This is the bathroom of the concubines; delightful!

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The following images show the array of different tiling styles and patterns.

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Views from the outside galleries and gardens.

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Images of Haj Sofia, a truely spectacular 5th century place of worship. It is currently undergoing renovation, so the scale of the domed space inside is slightly lost. This is an incredible building in view of its age, and if you can only visit one sight in Istanbul, this is the one!

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Looking out of a window of the Haj Sofia towards the top of the Blue Mosque.

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Images of the Blue Mosque, so-called because the of blue tiles inside. This is a functioning mosque as well as a crowd-drawer. The outside looks beautiful at all times of day, but is especially charming at dusk when the guilded tops catch the light of the fading sun.

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Images of the 16th century Suleymaniye Mosque. This mosque was delightful in its courtyards, gardens and its Ottoman tombs. The exterior had a calming influence while the inside of this functioning mosque was light and delicate.

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Here’s the New Mosque located down by Galata Bridge. This is a very busy location as it it also near the entrance/exit to the Spice Market and a major tram intersection.

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Images of the Basilica Cistern, an underground water reservoir built like a cathedral in 532.

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Images of the Old City Wall in western Istanbul, with views of new Istanbul in the far distance.

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Images of the 14th century Chora Church (Kariye Meseum), filled with Byzantine art. One is not allowed to use flash photography or tripods inside this building, so the photos are not as sharp as they might be. And, this church was undergoing renovation so a large part of it was off limits. Nevertheless, the mosaics and murals were amazing in their fineness of line, and the effort of getting to this church was well worth it.

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© Helen Gray 2021