For four centuries the Topkapi Palace served as the official and primary residence of the Ottoman sultans. Today the palace functions as a museum and popular tourist attraction that has an astonishing collection of Islamic relics.
“Allahu Ackbar…” The muezzin’s chant echoed across the Sea of Marmara and pierced the cold fog that shrouded the hills of Sultanhamet. Other mosques took up the morning call to prayer until the sound became a living thing, ancient and timeless; reverberating down the stone streets and breathing life into the ancient city. I rolled over to wake up the Captain and opened our small window that overlooked the sea. The sound was peaceful and invigorating at the same time, making jet lag and time changes a thing of the past.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (commonly known as the Blue Mosque) was built between 1609 and 1616. While it still serves as a Mosque today, it is also a popular attraction for tourists. Hope you enjoy the pictures. I’m off to the airport to try to catch a flight to New York City on standby, of course. Wish me luck!
Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) is one of Istanbul’s most popular landmarks. This magnificent structure was once a Byzantium church, then an Ottoman mosque, and now a museum. Here are some pictures I’ve taken of this grand architectural treasure in March of 2010.
Istanbul is a city known for its many names and rich history. This crossroads of East and West has borne the names and banners of the various empires who have centered their realms here. Byzantium, Nova Roma, Constantinople; the crescent and the cross, the old and the new. It is here on the shores of the Bosphorus that continents meet, cultures blend, and the multitude of voices that echo in the Grand Bazaar is matched only by the diversity of the tongues they speak.
“Window or Aisle?” The Cathay Pacific ticket agent asked.
“Window.” I replied trying my best to appear stoic even though deep inside I wanted to vigorously jump up and down with joy. I took the boarding pass from her perfectly manicured hands and proceeded to the security line at the Tom Bradley International Terminal in LAX. It was late August of 2008 and I was about to set off on a peregrination to Hong Kong. The Captain got a job offer at Cathay Pacific Airways, one of the most prestigious airlines in the world, and being his significant other I was given the opportunity to accompany him to Hong Kong via standby on Cathay Pacific.
Only a few places in the world can make me feel the way New York City does. Every time I visit this exuberant and vivacious metropolitan city, I get an inexplicable feeling of belonging and familiarity. The streets, the buildings, the subways, the sounds, and even the city itself all hold vestiges of the naive but precocious girl I used to be.