|Snow in Istanbul|
|The six minarets of the Sultanahmet "blue" mosque just before the snow|
The winter weather didn't stop us from getting a feel for the city. Our hotel is one of the hundreds in the narrow, cobbled streets of Istanbul's old city (south of the Golden Horn) and is just a five minute walk from the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia. We spent this afternoon seeking refuge from the storm among the lofty domes of the Hagia Sophia.
If ever a structure could be described as "awe inspiring" it is Istanbul's Hagia Sophia. This building was inaugurated in 537 replacing earlier churches by the same name that had been destroyed. Since that time the building has served both as a church and as a mosque and the imagery and symbolism of both Christianity of Islam are both still prominent in this place.
The beauty in this building is quite literally breathtaking. Beauty in form is everywhere you look, from the size of the enormous center dome to what remains of the mosaics, to the marble adorned galleries. I (of course) am posting pictures from our sojourn at the Hagia Sopia this afternoon, but I must add that these photos do not even begin to do the experience justice.