Notable domes of Istanbul


in Daily updates, Photography, Travel

Ceiling of the Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent

Today, my father and I took a guided tour around Istanbul’s most essential historical sites. The architecture itself was quite spectacular, though language problems and a certain lack of interest on the part of the guide, who did not seem to appreciate questions, made the tour itself less engaging than it might have been.

In the morning, we saw the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, as well as the reasonably unremarkable expanse of the Hippodrome between them. It used to be a stadium, but nothing remains of it save a couple of pillars and an open area. The Blue Mosque was certainly impressive. The elegance and symmetry of the domes, coupled with that of the tiles and calligraphy, make it an inspiring structure. It is a great shame that they have chosen to hang electric lights from thick black cables descending all the way from the dome high above: they diminish the grandeur of the space.

The Hagia Sophia was the day’s most impressive site. Ancient and gloomy in feeling, the inescapable particulate matter of the air here creates sharp beams crossing the vast space. First an Orthodox church, then a mosque, and ultimately converted into a museum by Ataturk, the great domed structure also seems to have a history worthy of further examination. On account of the low light, I was glad for my two Pound mini-tripod. I suspect the photos from today will make me less annoyed that it broke (fixably, but not without tools) during the first couple of hours of real usage.

During the rest of the day, we peeked into the Grand Bazaar, failed to have carpets sold to us during a sponsored pause in the tour, and visited the Topkapi Palace. We also saw a lot of bad traffic and, last of all, the day’s most elegant structure, ın the form of the Suleymaniye Mosque. In better shape than the Blue Mosque, as well as farther off the normal tourist path, the interior is quite stunning, with an intriging interplay of colours and geometry. Despite the broken tripod, I am excited about the photos I took there.

The next task is to pick up some dinner, followed by meeting my cousin Ivanka at Ataturk Airport. Tomorrow, we will probably be heading up the Bosphorus to the Black Sea. My plan is to pretend that I am on the way to the Yalta Conference.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan December 26, 2006 at 8:08 am

Perhaps I should replace my broken mini-tripod with one of these. I love ThinkGeek.

Milan December 26, 2006 at 8:09 am

This one is cheaper and there are more in the category “Digital Cameras.”

Milan January 3, 2007 at 1:40 pm

I have re-attached the rubber stop with a glue gun. I tried pulling the stop out again once, and it is very easy to do. At least, it won’t fall out due to gravity alone now, though the leg cannot be extended by pulling on it.

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