grey marble

August 23, 2004

Walking İstanbul

Ed arrived just after one. His voice rose from below the window. İ was reading the guidebook; by the time İ reached the door to go down to help him he had arrived. He unpacked and changed and then we went to search for lunch.

Walking along the Divan Yolu Cad, we stopped for kebabs near the Çemberlitaş subway stop, then proceeded to the Great Bazaar. Compared to the bazaars in Damascus and Aleppo, the one in İstanbul ıs decidedly more modern. Tile lines the floor; the shops are glass enclosed and well-lit. İt is also somewhat smaller. Wandering in and out of its many sections, we soon exited from the north and walked west, finding ourselves at the gates of İstanbul University. We asked a guard if we could enter and he waved us ahead.

Pausing before the main building to read the guidebook, we saw our proximity to the Suleymaniye Camii, the largest mosque ın İstanbul, and proceeded to the north. The mosque is reminiscent of the Blue Mosque (or vice versa, as the later post-dated the former), with four columns supporting the central dome (one from Baalbek, in northern Lebanon). Hundreds of ropes stretch from the ceiling suspending round Byzantıne chandeliers from the domes. Their parallel lines slice through the air.

Behind the mosque we visited the tombs of Suleyman and his wife before heading back alongside the bazaar to Divan Yolu Cad. Crossing the street, we randomly chose a side street that seemed to head in the dırectıon of the Blue Mosque. The cobblestoned road felt almost Parisian, save for the carpet merchants and the call of the mezzein. The street left us at the Hıppodrome. We had hoped to walk through the courtyard of the Blue Mosque, but it was closed for prayers. Walking home, Ed decided to take a nap. I climbed the stairs to the hotel's roof terrace and sat writing postcards. To my right loomed the Aya Sofia; to my left the Blue Mosque. And behind me, shıps plied the Sea of Marmara, prows pointed towards the horizon. Posted by eku at August 23, 2004 11:14 PM

Recent Entries