Dear Steemit community,

I began again to travel for months. I left my country and flew to my first stop “the bridge between Asia and Europe”. A trip of fourteen days travelling around the Balkans. Actually, Istanbul is a large city; a few days are not enough to visit it. I am sure I missed something. Anyway approaching the city during the sunset was stunning, once I landed I feel like I was not in Asia but something original.

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A Turkish friend of mine waited for me in Taksim the last bus stop of the shuttle from the airport. I met him during my Exchange student programme in Poland. After years we met again I felt so happy. I left my stuff in my accommodation, we spent a couple of hours we had dinner and a drink together Then he had to go because the day after had to work.
The day after it was Thursday: I was new in the city no European Union roaming so I had to use only a map and find a Turkish phone card to keep in touch with my friends. My visit to the city began in Sultanhamet area and its historical areas of Istanbul part of Unesco. I start to wait for the queue for the entrance in Hagia Sophia it was hot.

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I often am a conversationalist person talking to people in the queue, the waiting time with such heat it looked shorter as I expected. Once I was in the ticket office I bought the museum pass 125 Turkish lira which is cheaper as Hagia Sophia was not my only visit.

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Let me show how is the building inside. Well it has some work on progress but the structure is absolutely attractive and unique. An amazing meeting between Christian and Islam architecture. It was before a Christian Orthodox cathedral built in IV century a.C then a mosque and nowadays a museum by the decision of the cabinet and the order of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

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Different elements in the building belonging to different religions, a library built by Sultan Mahmut the first and decorated from the 16th to 18th century. The muezzin gallery to call the worshippers and pray on the period of Sultan Murad in the XVI century.

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Typical of a mosque the Mihrab, the niche indicating the direction in which worshippers shall perform their prays. And the Member used for the Friday sermon.

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In one of the cupolas is situated a mosaic representative of Virgin Mary and the child. In the upper floor there also Christian representative mosaic panels dated on XII and XIII century, a marble door which separates the section for a private member with the section for public members.

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Outside the building a fountain which was a water facility for ablution and built in the XVIII century.

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Opposite to Hagia Sofia has situated the Blue mosque named because of its coloured tiles. It was built in the XVII century. Fortunately here no queue to go inside.

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However to respect the local tradition I had to cover my short-sleeves trousers with a local skirt and took my shoes off before getting inside it. It was not a problem I was happy to visit it again a mosque. Inside there is a section dedicated to visitors large enough to show the architecture of the building.

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The morning was over and before having lunch I visited the tomb of Sultan Selim II built in the XVI century. The external walls are covered by marble panels. Its plan is octagonal with two domes and eight columns facing the internal walls with tile panels and calligraphic works.

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One of my friends suggested to me to eat very good Turkish food closeby I have eaten delicious lamb meatballs and vegetables here.

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In the afternoon I keep visiting that historical area in the southwest of Hagia Sophia the tomb of Sultan Ibrahim and Mustafa I. A former baptistery building with a square appearance and inside with an octagonal plan. In XVII century both Sultans were buried here.

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The tomb of Sultan Mehmed III has also an octagonal plan and was built in the XVII century covered by a dome and with mural paintings in any sides.

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My following visit was the Topkaki palace the centre of Imperial administration built XIV century. The Ottoman dynasties have lived in this complex until XIX century then converted into a museum holding one of the most important collection in the world.

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The main entrance to the palace grounds surrounded by the Imperial fortress. The first courtyard is the court of the procession where now stands the church Hagia Eirene (St.Irene) which was served in the past as arsenal of the palace.
Beside the tower of Justice used an observation point for the Sultan. In the opposite, there is palace kitchen housing today Chinese, Japanese European and Istanbul porcelains.

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The Gate of Felicity where the Sultan sat and where the funeral of Sultans took place. The Palaces School and the inner palace extends beyond this gate.
The Throne room which was initially conceived audience hall of Sultan in the 16th century Chamber of petitions

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The hall of treasury housing portraits of Sultans and samples of Islamic art of the book and rare manuscripts. The dormitory of Expeditionary corps

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The chapel mosque on the Golden Road corridor built in XVII century as prayer hall of the Sultan's mother, daughter and women of the harem.

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The apartment of Queen mother the most important of the Harem. It is composed of two rooms

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The hall of Privy chamber at the left corner of the courtyard contains the Holy Mantle and Sacred relics of Prophet Mohammed and the early caliphs. (Photos were not allowed there). And the Palace Mosque served as a library today with invaluable manuscripts preserved.

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In the next posts, I will keep talking about my stay in Istanbul and my next stops around the Balkans as in this map below

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Thanks for your attention

Best Regards

(All photos are my own property and taken with Canon 700d and my mobile phone)