Cruise ships visiting Istanbul
Our first full day of photography was spent capturing some of the iconic sights of Istanbul, beginning with the Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia). Although we made an early start, we still had to wait in line, due to the influx of huge numbers of cruise-ship passengers into the city. Finally inside, we were able to take innumerable photographs of this magnificent building. The sheer size of this Byzantine masterpiece is breathtaking, especially when one considers that it was built nearly 1,500 years ago, without the aid of any type of machinery.
While we waited to go into the Aya Sofia, we took photos of the man
selling sweet corn, a popular street snack in Istanbul
Now all the scaffolding is down, one can appreciate the sheer
size and beauty of the Aya Sofya
We especially admired the beautiful mosaics
Our next stop was the Yerebatan Sarnici, also known as the Basilica Cistern, built by the Romans to store the fresh spring water brought to the city from the Belgrade Forest along enormous aqueducts. This underground cavern is eerily lit, and very difficult to photograph without a tripod, so we tried steadying our cameras on the rails to get our best shots.
The cavernous interior of the cistern is quite spectacular
It is easy to get around this part of Istanbul by using the tramway.
The Grand Bazaar, where we went to next, is always a colourful subject to photograph. It has been in existence since merchants travelled the old silk road, bringing their goods from distant exotic lands. The bazaar has been covered since 1461, following a decree by Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of Constantinople, giving it the distinctive style we see today. Jerry and I had great fun walking the streets of the bazaar and talking to the stallholders, who assailed us from all sides with their banter, "Please can I help you spend your money," being the most popular.
The Grand Bazaar was bedecked with flags for Children's Day
From the bazaar, we walked downhill, through the crowded, winding streets, full of little shops, all the way to the Egyptian Bazaar, by the Golden Horn.
On the way down, we saw these boys washing in a fountain.
Spices for sale in the Egyptian Bazaar
Finally, with hundreds of photos captured on our cards, we headed for the Eminönü Iskelesi, where we boarded our ferry back to the Asian side for our journey home.