Friday, December 21, 2012

Trip Log: No Escape...

Snow in Istanbul
No escape from the snow anyways.  I have been only been in Istanbul for 36 hours and in that time the temperature has dropped from 12 to 0 degrees (c) and the snow has been falling all day.  The previously mild forecast changed abruptly last night as the arctic air that has already been coating Kazakhstan in a think layer of ice made its way south and west and joined me on my Istanbul holiday.

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.

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