A Trip To Istanbul — Day One

manoldonchev
Manol Donchev @manoldonchev
· August 2019 · 5 min read · Turkey

Greetings, friends,

This is my second report from a recent trip to Istanbul (not Constantinople).

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It's a huge city. A Megapolis. One of the first in history. And I have three days, including travel time so...What can I see for such a short time?

Generally, when you're on a tour around a famous place for a short duration, you get to whatever is famous, whatever is more tightly packed around some center, whatever is recommended. Not what I prefer but what I can afford at this point. So, follow the group and let's see what I will be able to discern as interesting to me. I am all eyes and ears...mostly eyes...in situations like that.

One of my first shots through the window of the bus, arriving early in the morning after a whole night's trip. I see the layers of the old Constantinople wall from the times of the Byzantine Empire and a more recent mosque in the background.

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So it comes to my way of interpreting what millions of others already know, have already seen...Millions of tourists a year, for certain.

The top photograph is of one of the most famous locations, the Blue mosque, the one with the largest number of Minarets in Istanbul until new generation rulers decided to do the same and leave another one on the hill across the Bosphorus strait. But it's on another continent so it doesn't play for team Istanbul Europe.

The Blue mosque was in reconstruction, obviously, but that did not mean I wouldn't capture the moment. It even made more...time specific to me. In a way, more attractive for personal reasons. Less valuable for commercial reasons these photos, but...who knows?

Aye, I had that mindset. Now is the time to hunt for images you can use later. What can I do, I'm like that. It's what I do. At least I hunt or gather without hurting no skins, no necks, no legs, no stems, no roots. And what I take home is virtual. And I can ask for no more. Time is virtual. Time is precious. This Time...

This time, the mosque was like...

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That's neat...

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...and that's not.

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But...nobody imagines a pristine environment in cities like that, right? Wait, there are not a lot of cities like that, if at all. It is one huge marketplace with ancient monuments of cultures upon cultures.

Speaking of, here are the Egyptian obelisk and the Column of Constantine, sitting on more ancient altars.

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And the scenes beneath are...

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This square was once a hippodrome, the tracks along which horses and chariots raced going around a central display where such "souvenirs" were brought by the will of the emperor.

I am still on the high ground at the hill of Eminonu, where I can visit other architectural wonders of old and former places of power. Quite near, a couple of minutes on foot and right across the Blue Mosque is Hagia Sophia, miraculously huge for its time, built as a Christian temple and then turned into a mosque as well.

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There the main entrance of Topkappi Sarayi (Palace) takes you by the clothes and spits you into a spacious inner yard behind high walls. That's how the Hagia Sophia's minaret looks from there.

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From that yard, one can observe the strait and the Asian shores across the water.

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A TV tower as I think I learned with a high platform restaurant...which we could not reach.

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The modern six-minaret mosque I previously mentioned.

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And the tallest skyscraper, the Saphire.

Maybe more saphire colored in other conditions but not during low visibility high noon.


The inner yard also sports this fellow...

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...and an archery range which I left for later, and never returned to take photos and fire a few arrows :( The group suddenly went for another exit, going steeply down, passing by the cat honor guards...

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...and an archaeological museum by the gate. With some exhibited stuff on the outside.

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Time accelerates as I have to rush with the group. Around some carpet stores...

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...then being transported...

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...between deserted buildings...

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...and luxurious buildings'rooftops...

...through the bridge...

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Those dirty bus windows...


...and to the Asian side. Touching it just to confirm it sucks (just kidding, Madagascar, the Movie style, but we had so little time that no real exploring could be done)...

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...and then back again, making one final stop before we all go to our hotel.

This stop is the Bulgarian church in Istanbul, built during the Ottoman Empire ages. It's called Saint Stephan, but also, the Iron Church. Not that visibly iron right now.

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After a short afternoon nap that turned into a long afternoon nap, interrupted by heat, mixed with heavy raindrops and thunderous sounds coming from afar through the window...and those mixed with trade going on the street bellow And the singing of the muezzins...

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I and @silver.art went out on our own, taking some late breakfast or early dinner at this terrace and hitting the streets from there. Markets were closing and the great collecting of trash and washing the streets were just beginning. We found a maze of narrow and dirty streets to lose ourselves into... Not really losing direction, just not being able to see exactly where on the Bosphorus we would come out of the maze.

I think we hit some fashion-dedicated area.

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So, this is where we found ourselves, once out of the narrow streets. Right near Galata Bridge. Some long-exposure shots from it can be found on the link near the bottom of the article, which is...not very far.

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Well, let's call it a day, shall we? The evening is another entity altogether.

And it was still the end of Day One...

Day Two remains to be crunched down to bytes and written, shared, etc., but until then, you can visit my old report of the trip, called Bosphorus Nights.

Take care and have a great time wherever you are across the world!

Yours,

Manol

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I only know of Istanbul from historical-cultural and fictional texts, such as Orhan Pamuk's novel of the same name, which I loved when I read it several years ago. Your tour, although it reproduces the haste of a commercial tour (a somewhat ironic good resource), provides us with excellent photographs of that wonderful city, which I wish I could get to know someday. The presence of the mosques with their minarets, and the obelisks impress: But, anyway, we are attracted by that view of solitary buildings, commercial streets, and that port inhabited by passing seagulls. Thank you, @manoldonchev.

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owasco
owasco @owascoAugust 2019

And what a day it was! Spectacular photos, all those minarets and obelisks, the contrast between east and west. I love everything about this post.

I am all eyes and ears...mostly eyes..

How lucky for us!


Thanks. I'm happy you like it.


Such ancient history is so fascinating. Thanks for the trip. It can be so frustrataing when you find a landmark being upgraded, but all the more reason to make a return trip, right? I loved the feline honor guards! LOL!


Well, what I was trying to say... from a certain perspective it's valuable to catch the restoration process itself, too. Otherwise, I wouldn't say I've seen all of Istanbul so return is always a possibility.


And that is true. I get it. I've also taken shots like that for stock because it tells a different story and that's what you did too. Still we always want to get that iconic shot in case we don't get a chance to return. :-)


A long time ago I was into the Ottoman history but lost most of it through the years. Fabulous to see your pictures here Manol.
An excellent post indeed.
Blessings!


I learned quite a few new things there as well. After all, I've been seeing it from one of the former borders of it and now I was in the very center.

Thanks for the comment!


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Istanbul is on my list to visit one day! I really enjoyed reading your post! Thank you for taking your time to create this post❤️👌


Thanks, I'm glad you liked it and I wish you a good trip there when the time is right.