Sightseeing in Istanbul

 The vast space inside the Aya Sofya

Spring has come to Istanbul, encouraging Becca and me to venture out to do some sightseeing. Our first stop was the Aya Sofya. Even this early in the season, there were so many tourists that we had to queue to get in. No matter how many times I visit this amazing structure, I never fail to feel overawed by its size and overwhelming magnificence. It's incredible that the entire basilica was completed in 537, taking only six years to build, without the use of any machinery, just with the work of human hands!

Yerebatan Sarnıcı - the Basilica Cistern

We moved from the soaring heights of the Aya Sofya, to the subterranean depths of the Yerebatan Sarnıcı - the Basilica Cistern. There, I was surprised to discover that much of the water had been drained away, and the poor fish were confined to a small area beside the heads of Medusa. The reason is that a strange interloper has moved into the cistern. It is a model of the legendary Lagoon Monster, said to lurk near the Punta della Dogana in Venice. Apparently, this is its first stop on a worldwide tour, so be warned, it could arrive in your city any time soon!

The Lagoon Monster, luking in the depths of the Basilica Cistern

From the cistern, we walked down the hill to Sirkici Station, the last stop of the famous Orient Express, before taking our ferry to Kadiköy where we had lunch in a rooftop restaurant.

Becca in Sirkici Station, Istanbul

Our view from the rooftop restaurant. The building site in the forground will be the new metro station for the line running under the Bosphorus.

On the way home, we stopped to listen to these street musicians

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