Whats the deal with the blue Evil Eye?

Trip Start Jul 28, 2009
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Trip End Aug 10, 2010


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Flag of Turkey  ,
Friday, June 11, 2010

Everywhere you look in Turkey, you will find the blue, white and black “evil eye” watching you.  This old superstition is thought to have begun before Islamic Anatolia.  Even though its ancient, the belief is still everywhere in Turkey today.  No wedding, funeral or party goes without having the Evil Eye in many different forms. 

The belief is that certain people are thought to carry within them a malevolent force that transmits to others via the eyes.  This destructive -sometimes fatal - force is considered harmful to humans (particularly children) as well as to animals, houses and even individual objects.  To combat it, eyes are made to reflect the evil back to the originator.  And of course, I bought a couple.

Arriving in Istanbul was completely different from the last time I was there in 1987.  The roads were clean and flowers were planted everywhere, they had street signs and everything seemed more organized, which I thought took away from that Old World Charm, but I still love Istanbul and would go back again.  There was also plenty of hostels in Sultanahmet, lined with lots of cafe's and everywhere was big flat screen TV's playing the World Cup.

We visited the famous Aya Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Topkaki Palace and the Basilica Cistern.  It was so nice and cool to go underground to visit the Basilica Cistern as it was really hot and humid in Istanbul.  This Cistern was built in AD532 and it was used to store water for the Great Palace and surrounding buildings.  The roof is supported by 335 columns arranged in 12 rows and it once held 80,000 cubic meters of water, pumped and delivered through nearly 20 km of aqueducts. The coolest thing was the weird fat fish swimming at the bottom.  They also had one column which is supported by an upside head of Medusa.

The Topkaki Palace was also another beautiful place to visit and surrounded by a nice park with lots of shade.  This was the Home to the Selim the Sot, who drowned in the bath after drinking too much champagne, Ibrahim the Mad, who lost his reason after being locked up for 4 years in the infamous palace cage and Roxelana, beautiful and malevolent consort of Suleiman, the magnificent, the famous Topkapi palace would have to be subject of more colorful stories than most of the world’s museums put together.

They had the biggest diamond I had ever seen.  The 86 carat diamond is named the Spoon makers Diamond because it was found in a rubbish dump and purchased by a street peddler for three spoons.  Amazing what people throw away!

We also tried the famous Turkish delight.  It didn't look very appetizing but once I tried it, I was hooked on this delicious treat.  The story goes that Ali Muhiddin came to Istanbul from the Black Sea mountain and started making candy and sweets in the late 18th century.  There was many people that were dissatisfied with hard candies and traditional sweets so he created a new sweet that would be easy to swallow and he called his creation "rahat lokum", the ‘comfortable morsel’.  These sweets are much better for my brittle teeth!!!  Yum!
 
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