As I have stated on my previous blog, I was in Turkey for work from 20-23 October. I managed to get a full day of sightseeing the old city part of Istanbul before continuing to my eventual destination in Adana, where Incirlik Air Base is located. My one day exploring the old section of Istanbul provided me enough interest that I would want to return for a longer vacation. I got to see the Grand Bazaar, a huge covered market with countless vendors selling vast selection of jewelry, rugs, pottery, colorful "I Dreamed of Jeannie" house slippers (see photos below if my trivial tv sitcom reference is confusing), and many other wares. You can easily get lost in the maze-like layout of the bazaar. I would bet that the Grand Bazaar is probably the origin or at least one source for the mega-mall concept. I walked the grounds of the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque. I had the opportunity to go inside the mosque. The structure was impressive with its six towering minarets, massive interior columns supporting the main dome, and the ornately decorated dome interior. I got to see the Hagia Sophia from the outside and its courtyard. It was near closing time when I got there. The Hagia Sophia was originally a church, later converted to a mosque, and now a museum. I managed to see most of the Topkapi Palace by walking around the courtyards and gardens. I walked around the bustling city during the night and felt fairly safe. The prices are still reasonable compared to Western Europe prices. I had ample time to walk thru the spice bazaar before I headed to the airport the following day to fly to Adana. Incirlik Air Base, location of the two schools that we surveyed, is located just outside of Adana.
The following are a few pictures of the sights I saw in old town Istanbul (click on the photo for enlarged view):
Inside the Grand Bazaar and some of the wares the vendors sell.
The Blue Mosque during day and night.
Inside the Blue Mosque.
The Hagia Sophia during day and night.
Other photos in old town Istanbul.