This year, Angela and I celebrated our 40th Anniversary, with a trip to Turkey. The first 3 days were spent in Istanbul. During our first day we visited Hagia Sofia, also known as Aya Sofia. Originally it was Byzantine church and basilica, later a Mosque and now is a museum. This history of this building is really interesting as we discovered during the visit and consulting literature about Istanbul.
Hagia Sofia Museum, Istanbul
We paid for our multi-day passes and made our way into the Hagia Sofia. There was restoration work taking place in the building, so one wall was covered with scaffolding. I managed to capture this image that shows some of the magnificent detail in the dome of the building.
Hagia Sofia Dome, With Scaffolding
Here is another view of the interior, showing three of the “medallions”.
Hagia Sofia Interior
Looking out from the second floor gallery, I made this image from one of the windows. In the distance, are the six minarets of the Blue Mosque.
Looking Out Of Hagia Sofia
During the course of the day, we made a trip to the Grand Bazaar and to the Little Aya Sofia. Near sunset, we returned back to the Hagia Sofia. The setting sun also lit the walls of the building to show the coral pink colors. By this time, a lot more people had arrived.
Hagia Sofia Near Sunset
Nearby, at the Sultanahmet, I made this image of the towers catching the setting sun.
We met Annan after leaving the Hagia Sofia earlier in the day. In the late afternoon we encountered him again.
Annan, Our Carpet Info/Guide
During our stay in Istanbul, we were approached by many carpet salesmen. The sales pitch starts something like this.
“I am not a guide”. “I just have information”. “Come to my store, I will offer you Apple tea.”
They will encourage you to go. The Turkish people are really hospitable, so it is difficult to turn down their invitation. When you get there, you discovers that the store is selling Turkish carpets. Off course, you now have the Apple tea, while you are shown various carpets and kilims, wool and silk.
We spent a hour or so chatting to Annan. He was really interesting, and we even visited his store. During the evening, Annan also offered to take us into the Blue Mosque. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was too late in the day. We did visit, but on another day.
Turkish carpets are really good and expensive. We got to learn a lot about the knots in the carpets, how carpets are made, how to distinguish between real and fake, etc. However, we did not buy any. After a few encounters with other carpet salesmen, we got good at discouraging them by applying the sales pitch back to them!
As the sun was setting, shadows were cast on the coral pink alley walls leading up to the Hagia Sofya that I captured in the following image.
Shadows Along The Alley Wall, Hagia Sofia
Here is another image looking towards the Hagia Sofia. That is Angela walking on the left side of the alley.
Hagia Sofia Sunset Alley
That concludes images made on our first full day.