Palace of the Ottoman Sultans

Trip Start Jun 19, 2011
1
8
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Trip End Jul 12, 2011


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Where I stayed
Slept in an overnight bus to Corum

Flag of Turkey  ,
Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dennis gave his presentation today at the virology conference, so I had the majority of the day to myself for exploring the city. Topkapi Palace was first on my list - and good thing! A tour of this museum took me about 4 hours! The construction of this palace was started in 1453 by Mehmet the Conqueror (the Ottoman Turk who sacked Constantinople) and was the home of all the Ottoman sultans (including Suleyman the Magnificent) until the 19th century. The palace was continually added on to by sultans over time. It has 4 courtyards, the harem - living quarters for the sultan and queen mother and concubines, an audience hall, treasury, Sacred Safekeeping Room, circumcision room, and a number of kiosks, etc etc etc! It is elaborate and ornate to say the last, and it is the ultimate example of Ottoman architecture and style (especially the Izmik blue-colored tiles). The highlight of the tour for me was to view the treasures in the Sacred Safekeeping Room - which of course, consisted of treasures so sacred that photos were not allowed: these included artifacts from the religious prophets (the staff/rod of Abraham, the sword of David, and a footprint in clay of Mohammed.)

I spent what little time I had left eating at a cafe overlooking the Sea of Marmara at the palace, trying to soak in my surroundings, and then "sunbathing" in the park in between the Aya Sofya and Blue Mosque.

Dennis and I met in the evening and had dinner with a few of the Turkish scientists - they took us to a kebap place where only the locals go - very tasty!!!  (It's not at all like the Americanized kebaps). These come with fresh vegetables that you can add to your kebab yourself. I love the pickled red onions and parsley the best...and of course, the hot red pepper sauce! Mmm!

At around midnight, we (along with Aysen) left by bus to central Anatolia (The Asian part of Turkey). Planes, trains...and now bus! At this bus stop, I was horrified to discover that the bathrooms consisted of only what I now call "Indian squat toilets". No!! Dennis and I were forced to use one here, and it wasn't pretty. It was quite the challenge having to strategically change clothes in the stall without letting anything touch the disgustingly wet floors. Makes me shiver just recalling it. The overnight bus will take us to our next stop - Corum - where we will do some fieldwork.
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Comments

Lynn on

I am enjoying your storytelling travels very much! I am traveling, vicariously, through you. Be safe.

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