September 15, 2004

Around Istanbul

We started the morning with a visit to the Aya Sofya (Church of Holy Wisdom). Built in 532 AD by Emperor Justinian, he was hoping to create "the grandest church in the world" and for about 1000 years, it was the largest. It has been burnt down and rebuilt a few times since.

The exterior of Aya Sofya

After the Turkish conquest, the Church was converted into a mosque and all the mosaics were covered. In the 1930's the site was declared a museum so renovation to uncover and restore the mosiacs is underway.

The beautiful gold and blue domes of Sofya

We then took a stroll across the Galata Bridge and into the northern part of the city, the Beyoglu. It is the heart of modern Istanbul and definitely more bustling than the quiet historical part of town in which we are staying. As in the Grand Bazaar, each street has a specific type of commerce, ie: a street filled with lighting shops, a street of plumbing shops, a lane shops carrying children clothes, etc.

Fisherman on the Galata Bridge with their lines in the 'Golden Horn'
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