[Roadtrip] WEMW : Istanbul, Turkey - Part 3

May 2, 2017

My travelogues always stop abruptly. T_T 

But, I am trying to clean my draft by publishing any posts that look complete (haha maybe). So, here you go... a continuation of our very first road trip from Hradec Kralove, Czech to Istanbul, Turkey with a total journey of approximately 4000km. 

The journey covers many countries, roughly the routes were like this.
  • Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic
  • Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Bucharest, Romania
  • Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Istanbul, Turkey

It was from January 2015 though. 







The 2nd day in Istanbul was smooth :) The day started with freshly squeezed juices - pomegranate and orange. This squeezer was sold in many markets around here, so if you would love to buy one, just ask around.


Since we were going to leave Istanbul that night, we need to check out from the apartment. We discussed on how were we going to spend the day - either walking, or by public transportation or by car. If by car, where should we park it?

Fortunately, the owner of the apartment allowed us to keep our stuffs there while we can just explore Istanbul without having to worry about our bags. About the car, after checking its safety, 2 Turkish men ensured us that we didn't need for the parking, although it was already 2nd of January. Alhamdulillah. 

On our way to the next attraction (Hagia Sophia), we once again walked passing Blue Mosque and Hippodrome of Constantinople.

Hippodrome - Sultan Ahmet Square.

Serpent Column

As we all know, before Istanbul this city is known as Constantinople (during Roman Empire). It functioned as capital city at that time, also as the center of the world. 

The Hippodrome is basically an area for horse racing between political parties that day. In the square, you can see quite a number of statues or monuments - preserved for history. Most of them were brought to this Hippodrome to introduce Constantinople as a capital city.
  • Serpent Column - the significant of this monument is the victory of Greeks in Persian Wars. It was originally located in Delphi, Greece.
  • Obelisk of Thutmose - this one was from Egypt and brought to Hippodrome by another emperor. It weighed about 200 tonnes and I heard they took about 21 days to lift it up!
  • German Fountain - it was built to acknowledge the visit of German Emperor to Istanbul. It was brought from German by pieces was a source of water for the people, that is why we can see water taps there. It is still functioning but my tour guide said it is not drinkable. Visitors can also see signatures between Germany and Turkey at the fountain.

Okay, let's continue with Hagia Sophia.

From outside.

Hagia / haya means divine, while Sofia means intelligence. This Greek name simply means goddess of intelligence. The first construction was when Christian conquered this city, then took over by Ottoman Empire.

The drawing of Mary in the middle.

When Islam came, Muslims covered most drawings on the wall with plasters to avoid Muslims from worshiping the statues. But, after this place was decided to be opened to public, workers currently are still on their way to uncover back to show to people the beauty of this place, as a museum. It was opened to public in 1985.

Islamic style on the wooden wall.

In Hagia Sophia, we can see this building is facing Jerusalem. So, a mihrab was built to face Makkah instead. If you have been here, you can see  the name Allah, Muhammad, the 4 caliphs, Hasan and Husin hanged on the wall. They were made in Hagia Sophia itself as the sizes were too big. 

I am not sure about this wall.

Done with Hagia Sophia, we went for lunch, so hungry! We didn't really check beforehand about places to eat. So, while walking towards Spice Bazaar (I think), we just chose any restaurant that looked interesting.

Pehlivan - two storey restaurants
It served dishes like this. You can choose any cooked meal you want.

Grand Bazaar.
Can't help with the direction and how to get there although I went there once again last year -_-'

Spice Bazaar. I hope I remember correctly, a bit confused if we went to this one or Grand Bazaar. 
Pashmina shopping. 

Finally, it was time to leave. We returned to the apartment to take our luggage and reorganize stuffs in the car.

Final result. :)

I think I have shared the video for this road trip somewhere in this blog. But, never mind, since this was one of our greatest life achievement, let me embedded it once again. Thanks Maryam for this beautiful video!

p/s - one more post and I think I am done with WEMW roadtrip. Yeay!

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