Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Idiomatic Istanbul

At last I got to Istanbul and walked to my hostel which was about half an hour from the train station and just behind the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. That afternoon was spent wandering around the area past the Galata tower looking for the Australian consulate, which I was only a block or two from when I stopped looking. On the way back to the hostel I stopped by a tourist information centre who showed me where it was on my map.

Wednesday morning I took a tram and walked up the hill to the consulate where I was told I had to go to a website and request a postal vote, which would be sent to my address in Australia. Not much use to me since the election was to be on Saturday.

After that less than stellar effort I made my back to the Hagia Sophia. The third church on the site dedicated to the holy wisdom, it was the largest cathedral in the world for almost 1000 years, it was converted to a mosque by Mehmet the conqueror and then into a museum by Ataturk. An impressive building almost 1500 years old.

Across the way from the Hagia Sophia is the Blue Mosque, aka the Sultanahmet mosque, which is intentionally very similar in design to the Hagia Sophia, but coloured, as the name suggests, blue instead of the Sophia's red. Its condition is a lot better than the Hagia Sophia, but it has the advantage of only being about 500 years old.

Next was the Basilica Cistern. This is a giant underground watertank built around the same time as the Hagia Sophia. It's cool and damp and the lighting is quite appropriate.

No comments: