Constantinople has history

Trip Start May 01, 1958
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
MS Marina
What I did
A quick tour of Istanbul

Flag of Turkey  ,
Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Map of Istanbul
 
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OCT 31; ISTANBUL is the cultural, and historical heart of Turkey.   It's the largest city in Turkey with over 13 million inhabitants that stretches between Europe and the continent of Asia.  Founded as a Byzantine city about 660BC, it was known as Constantinople in 330AD, and served as the capital of four empires; the Roman (330-395), the Byzantine (395-1204 and 1261-1453), the Latin (1204-1261), and the Ottomon (1451-1922).   It was first where Christianity was advanced before the Ottomans took control of the city in 1453, and transformed it into an Islamic landscape.  

The historic Silk Road played an important role in trade between Asia and Europe which began during the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD).   I had the privilege some years ago to travel the Silk Road route in Central Asia.

Today's Istanbul is still a demanding tourist destination because of the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace (with their treasures), Hagia Sophia, the underground cistern, and the Hippodrome. There are also some contemporary areas that includes the Taksim area with their flood of five star hotels, good restaurants, and night life.  

Our group travel agent hired a van for a quickie tour of Istanbul for about four hours starting at 1:30PM and ending at about 5PM.   Our van drove us from the ship to the Hippodrome and dropped us off for about one hour to do a quick tour of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and underground cistern for the first time visitors in our group.  We didn't have enough time to visit Topkapi Palace which requires at least four or more hours.   Some were able to get into the Blue Mosque before prayer, and we walked by the underground cistern, because we didn't have time to visit Hagia Sophia.   After the van picked us up at the drop-off point, he drove us to the Grand Bazaar where we spent about an hour or so.   The traffic was terrible in that section of the city, so we spent much time with stop-and-go traffic.   I was able to take some pictures to provide a little "feel" for the environment for our very short van tour, but nothing inside the main sites.   

The Serpent Column is an ancient Greek sacrificial column that was originally located in Delphi, but moved to Costantinople by Constantine I in 324.  It is believed to be 2486 years old, and many ancient literature mentions it. There were two heads; one of them is missing, and the other is displayed at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

The Grand Bazaar is the worlds largest and oldest covered markets in the world with 3000 shops.   Sultan Mehmet II had an edifice erected for trading textiles in 1455. 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
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NOV 1: Disembarkation day and our trip home.  Although Oceania provides bus transportation from the ship to the airport, our travel agent hired a van to take our small group to the airport for our 1:15PM flight from Istanbul to Munich.  That's where our group more-or-less split up into different gates for our flights home.  With a rather short layover in Munich, I was home by 10PM.

 
 


 








  
 
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