We went on a walking tour of Istanbul yesterday and it was, as expected, fascinating.
The history of Istanbul, Constantinople, Byzantium is fascinating and our tour guide was genuinely knowledgeable about the history involving the Romans, Greeks and Ottoman Empire eventually leading to the formation of the Republic of Turkey.
We visited the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome and the Spice Bazaar. This city is well worth a visit.
We have had problems with our mobile network, roaming/not roaming decisions, and it can be an unnerving experience being in a. strange city without access to Google Maps, especially after a long day’s walking.
The food is excellent here with a tremendous amount of tastes that we would never experience at home or elsewhere in Europe. The influence of Asia and the East in the spices, dried fruits etc is apparent everywhere, giving a tremendously vibrant appearance as you walk through the city.
Hagia Sophia’s story is fascinating, too, as this was once a Catholic place of worship built in the 6th century. Then it beams Christian Orthodox, then the Ottoman Empire turned it into a mosque.
Then it became a museum and 4 years ago the government converted it into a mosque again. So, both it and the Blue Mosque are free to enter as churches and places of worship are nearly always free to enter.