The Hotel

I had the good fortune to be asked to lead an advanced computer auditing course for our Turkish firm in Istanbul. It was snowing, and dark, when I arrived. The hotel was in a new business district, looking out over the “old” downtown area.
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The next morning, the whole landscape was deep in snow

On the Thursday, I was finally able to walk down from the Taksim metro station to Galata Bridge, and across towards Ayasofya.
Here is the Yemi mosque, at the southern end of the Bridge.


After a walk of no more than a few miles, I finally found the target. This is the Sultan's loge

Here one of the fantastic mosaics - unfortunately, owing to a workflow problem, I reformatted the memory card before I had copied all the others on to my computer.

Here, the Muslim equivalent of a pulpit.

And here a marble jar, carved out of a single piece of marble. Apparently, Justinian had it brought from Ephesus.

On the outside again, here is the fountain which served the ceremonial ablutions

And lastly, here is the view from the Sultan ("Blue") Ahmet mosque.

Well, nearly lastly. Here. in the middle of a city with 13m inhabitants, the modern and the traditional side by side. The tram wires, the satellite dish, the souvenir shop, the gas cylinders, and the chaps sitting on the floor drinking coffee.

Sultan Ahmet mosque

Walking across from Ayasofya to the Sultan Ahmet mosque, I was rather charmed by the museum of Turkish culture. But I was in a hurry, and it looked as though it was about to close. Another item for the next visit, when I go back with M-C.

Here is the front of the mosque, facing (and somewhat higher up the hill than) Ayasofya

Here the courtyard, where the sun has not yet melted all the snow which fell on Monday and Tuesday.

And here one of the four minarets.

Here the central painted dome

And here the niche where the Imam stands or kneels during prayers. I still don't know quite why they let me in during prayers, many other tourists had to wait outside, but when I did get in I had to stand at the back for the 10 minutes or so until prayers were over.

Here is one of the fantastic pillars - they must be 7 or 8 feet in diameter, at least - which hold the dome aloft. I think there are only four, so they need to be super strong.

It is suprisingly light in the mosque.

Although the stone carving is very plain when compared with the mosaics on the inside, it does lighten the severity of the plain stone.


The Turks are always open for business. Here (on my march back to the hotel from the Metro, just another couple of miles trudging along the highway), someone stands in the three-lane highway, selling toys to those commuters whom the jams bring to a halt where he is standing.

Here is the entrance to the Grand Bazaar

But the shops are open outside, too - this street runs along the outer West side of the Bazaar.

This fish market is on the Pera side of the Galata bridge.

A close up of the catch, to excite M-C's appetite.


The striking memory, apart from the friendliness of the Turks, is of the strong colours. For mid-February, even stronger, I think, than in Italy. Here the view from the pier beside the Kabatas ferry towards the Sultan Mehmet bridge, which I could also see from my hotel room

The palace on the left is the Dolmabahce

Here a town house, across the street from Ayasofya

And here a tower I feel ought to be a lighthouse, or the port captaincy, but I cannot find anything to prove it on Google.