Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Intrinsic Istanbul

Thursday was a rainy day and I visited some museums. First was the Topkapi palace, where the Sultans used to live. It was alright. There was an awesome knife in the treasure room which had a gold sheath and three huge emeralds in the hilt. There was also a collection of relics of the prophets which included Moses' rod, David's sword, arm bones in a golden arm shaped case, a bunch of Mohamed's beard (dude must have had one long beard). This collection also had someone there 24/7 reading from the Koran. An easy job if you can get it. After the palace I visited the Archeology museum and in three hours got through less than half of it.

Friday was fine weather again and I did a bus tour around town. I spent about an hour and a half walking along the remains of the city walls, which were pretty tall and would have been even taller in the day as the ground was lower then. The walls are also about 1500 years old and stood for 1000 years before being broken by the giant cannons of the Turks in 1453. I think I could have done it cheaper using public transport, but I would have missed a lot of the things along the way.

On Saturday I took a two hour cruise along the Bosporus (the choice was between a two hour cruise or a six hour cruise) which was good but cold. Quite a windchill factor. After the cruise I visited another mosque but didn't see much as it was undergoing restoration work, then the spice market where I got a box of Turkish delight (half rosewater and half a mix of other varieties) and a t-shirt. Finally I crossed the Golden Horn to visit the Galata tower, which has a great view of the city.

Sunday I visited the Azeri Military History Museum, which had a pretty decent collection, then I went to see Valens aqueduct, which n days long gone supplied the Basilica cistern with water.

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