Saturday 17 January 2009

Istanbul Day 5

The last day of our little escape. As we where finished with all the shopping (he he) and we had to leave in the afternoon we decided to go for the typical touristic things like visiting the Hagia Sophia (museum). As many might know Hagia Sophia used to be a church but in 1453 when Constantinople (Istanbul) was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and Sultan Mehmed II ordered the building to be converted into a mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed, and many of the mosaics were eventually plastered over.

The Islamic features— such as the mihrab, the minbar, and the four minarets outside — were added over the course of its history under the Ottomans. It remained as a mosque until 1935, when it was converted into a museum by the Republic of Turkey.

For many years there is a huge restoration going on as you can see. The scafolding , at least fourteen stores high is also fascinating.

Here you can see at the ceiling a mosaic of Maria with her Child but also the symbols for Muslims. I like the way the two religions look peacefully together.

Looking at the situation, the restoration looks like an endless project, we saw workers at the top, must be pretty scary working there.

A funny fact, although many beauty of history can be seen, one thing that got most attention and most pictures was taken off was not very historical but pretty photogenic....

This was the library of the Sultan, behind the metal work.

This is the minbar, which is a pulpit in the mosque where the Imam (leader of prayer) stands to deliver sermons.

There were no staircases but a sort of tunnels which turned slowly up.

All the details where amazing, imagine how it must have been when it was new, and how they made it, is a real miracle.

Mum was admiring...

Fountain (Şadirvan) for ritual ablutions.

After the museum we decided to walk around a little...
we accidentaly stumbled on the Grand Bazaar, oops...
We bought two very yummy bags from a very kind shop owner, all bags are handmade and gorgeous.

In case you are in the neighborhood, the shop's name is Pırlanta and is at the Çarşıkapı Nuruosmaniye Caddesi no 31, Kapalıçarşı, Istanbul.
I forgot to mention some addresses in previous posts, just ask if you wonder :)

We are now home still with the air of Istanbul in our hair, tomorrow everything will be just like before.
Historical information was taken from wikipedia


  1. that is truly amazing .. your photo's show the peace in there. The mosaics are incredible and my goodness it's so tall inside! Lovely photographs.
    Wonderful to have seen your trip to Istanbul.

  2. It looks like pictures taken from a movie! So stunning -

  3. Awesome place! I am surprised how the christian parts were not erased when the church was conquered.

  4. Istanbul looks so marvellous ! so like a dream. But it's also always good to be back home again !

  5. It is all so gorgeous, the tunnels are amazing! Thanks for sharing your vacation with us star!

  6. wow Estella fantastic ...i'm immediately so wanting to go there... and wonderful photography !!!!!!

    hats off to you!!!!


  7. It was great fun to read about your trip to Istanbul!

  8. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing it with us :)

  9. Wow, that's impressive! I wish I could've joined you on your trip... :)

  10. I met my husband in Hagia Sophia.Good to remember some old days with your images.Lovely pictures!

  11. I've nominated you for a blog award. Please stop by and pick it up!

  12. Stunning place!! Love it! Wish, I could visit Turkey one day.

  13. What an amazing building/mosque/museum with all those beautiful details. I am wondering how long it took to build & how many people it took to get it build. Bazaars are always fun!

  14. Thank you for making me remember, it is such an amazing city with such a fantastic history!

  15. Oh I'm jealous. I remember first learning about Hagia Sophia in an art history class. I've wanted to go ever since.

  16. I will be going to Istanbul to visit my sister on Jan 31st. I am sure that I will be taking some of the same exact pictures!

  17. Wow!What memories you have awaken with this trip!When I was still in my hometown, we used to travel to Istanbul very often!A magical city!!!
    And how great to meet the other Est friends!!! :)

  18. To Malene : as it is mentioned "...Sultan Mehmed II ordered the building to be converted into a mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels were removed, and many of the mosaics were eventually plastered over".
    Only recently the mosaics came again on to the surface ,after a restoration made by American experts.