|Istanbul, Turkey. Hagia Sofia at Sunset|
Around Christmas and New Year's, 2013, I traveled to Istanbul to see the only city in the world that straddles two continents.
|Olives, tomatoes, and cheese are standard items for a Turkish breakfast|
The most impressive structures in Istanbul are the mosques. The Hagia Sophia was originally built as a Byzantine Christian cathedral in the 6th century, converted to a mosque in the 15th century, and is now a museum. It is huge! The great dome is 184 feet above the floor of Hagia Sophia. The medallions around the nave are the names of important prophets. The small structure near the center of the photo (where the altar would be in a Christian church) is the mihrab, the niche indicating the direction of Mecca, and thus the direction to face for prayer.
About four blocks from my hotel, on the opposite side of Sultanahmet Square from the Hagia Sophia, is the Blue Mosque. It gets its name from the predominantly blue Itzik tiles in the interior.
|Trams go throughout Istanbul|
|Inside the Grand Bazaar|
|Rustum Pasha Mosque|
|Entrance to Topkapi Palace|