Photography Trek to Uskudar, Istanbul

I love being a member of the Photo Club of Istanbul. Every trek takes us to a new and interesting venue. Although I had been to Uskudar many times, I had never really explored it properly. So when One of our members wrote, 

" I want to do a little excursion to Uskudar. Uskudar has some of the most beautiful mosques of Istanbul, but it’s also a very lively, somewhat conservative neighborhood, where elderly mustachioed men sit on benches the whole day discussing life (or so it seems ... maybe it’s rather football they discuss ...). "

I just couldn't resist!

The history of Uskudar, on Istanbul's Asian shore, goes back many centuries. Founded in 7th century BC by the ancient Greeks, it has had many different names through the ages. Originally named  Chrysopolis, the city became Skoutarion, and then Scutari, made famous by its British hospitals, and Florence Nightingale, during the Crimean War.

We came across this delightful old man, sitting outside the mosque

Today, Uskudar is a busy place, and is one of the most populated areas of Istanbul. It is noted for its mosques, said to number 180, so that's are where we focused or attention, although we only chose the oldest two. 

The first mosque we visited was the Yeni Valide Camii (or Mosque of the New Queen Mother), it was completed in 1703, by the mother of Sultan Ahmed III.

In the first courtyard of the mosque, we saw this traditional shoe cleaner.

In the inner courtyard these girls were waiting

As we strolled through the streets, we engaged with the locals enjoying glasses of tea.

Our next mosque was the famous  Atik Valide Külliyesi, commissioned by the mother of Sultan Murad III. It's position, at the top of a very high hill, made it difficult to photograph, as it is surrounded by buildings. This mosque, completed in 1583, was built by the famous Ottoman architect, Mimar Sinan, and included a dervish lodge, insane asylum, and soup kitchen.The interior of the mosque is exquisitely beautiful. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any photographs - very frustrating!

I did, however, photograph the intricate pattern on the smaller, supporting outer domes.

A side view of the mosque

As we walked down the steep gradient to the port, we passed some interesting buildings.

We loved the painting on the side of this nursery school

Some evidence of original Ottoman buildings can still be seen

All in all, we had a great day. Istanbul is a fascinating city!


October 29 2013, Turkish Republic Day

The Bosphorus Bridge on Republic Day

October 29 is Republic Day in Turkey. It commemorates the formation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Every year there are celebrations, but this year was extra special as it marked 90 years since that memorable day.

We went to a restaurant on the banks of the Bosphorus, with friends, to watch the spectacular display of fireworks on the Bosphorus Bridge. We were not disappointed!

The celebrations began with lasers sweeping the sky, as the lights on the bridge changed into different colours.

Then the fireworks began with a waterfall of fire from the bridge, 
accompanied by an explosion of brilliantly coloured fireworks above.

Suddenly, along the Bosphorus, between the bridge and the Maiden's Tower, 
small boats sent exploding balls of fire  into the air, lighting up the sky above us..

Then the whole sky turned red, as smoke and showers of sparks lit the sky.

Everyone cheered, as stars and crescents appeared through the smoke, 
to represent Turkey's flag.

Then came a burst of thunderous activity, as the whole sky seemed filled 
with the final burst of light and noise.

All this, followed by a delightful meal in good company, completed a very happy day.

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I couldn't resist this one!