Istanbul not Constantinople

Not only does my friend Marisa currently live in India, she is a world traveler! Along with the Indian pictures she provided me with yesterday, she sent these enticing photos from her recent trip to Istanbul.
The tile and detail work in these 2 photos really stunned me. I mean, whats not to like here? That ceiling above alone (no pun intended) is a work of art!The colors in the skyline photograph surprised me. I think I always pictured the city as dry and dusty, not lush and green. But what the city is most well known for are its' mosques. Dominating the skyline is the Blue Mosque, or Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which dates back to 1609. The blue in the name refers to the blue tiled interior.
More famous is the Hagia Sophia, dating from 532. It began life as an Orthodox Basilica, was converted to a Roman Catholic Cathedral in 1204, was later converted to an Islamic Mosque in 1453 and since 1935 has been a museum.
Because of its' rich history, the iconography on the interior is all over the map: Christian, Islamic and everything in between.
The size of the space is immense -just look at those tiny people on the floor below! I love this shot with the chandeliers dangling below the viewer: it reminds me of views of land from an airplane between the clouds.And what is a trip to Turkey without a Turkish bath? Great architecture, beautiful views, fascinating history and a spa trip rolled into one. This just may be another destination to add to the list after India!

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