Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Visiting Istanbul [Part 1/3]: The Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar

Welcome to a newphoto series, that will take us to the south-east of Europe and the south-western tip of Asia: Istanbul. My sister Jasmina made the trip recently and came back with lots of images of this, breathtakingly beautiful place. Even though I didn't make the photos in this series, after editing them for her, I thought that it would be a shame not to share them.
This is a multi part series. Other parts include: 
Part Two: The Topkapi Palace 
Part Three: A Cruise along the Bosporus

click on the images for a bigger view 

In this first part I will show you the Blue Mosque or The Sultan Ahmed Mosque. It is a historic mosque that is popularly known as the Blue Mosque, because of the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.

The first image up is actually the Hagia Sophia. From the date of its construction in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935


On the same big square where the Hagia Sofia is located you will also find the entrance to the Blue Mosque. A heavy iron chain hangs in the upper part of the court entrance on the western side. Only the sultan was allowed to enter the court of the mosque on horseback. The chain was put there, so that the sultan had to lower his head every time he entered the court to avoid being hit. This was a symbolic gesture, to ensure the humility of the ruler in the face of the divine.



The Sultan Ahmed Mosque has one main dome, six minarets, and eight secondary domes. The design is the culmination of two centuries of Ottoman mosque development. It incorporates some Byzantine Christian elements of the neighboring Hagia Sophia with traditional Islamic architecture and is considered to be the last great mosque of the classical period. It was quite the undertaking in constructing this mosque.




The court is about as large as the mosque itself and is surrounded by a continuous vaulted arcade.







The coloured glass for the windows was a gift of the Signoria of Venice to the sultan. Most of these coloured windows have by now been replaced by modern versions with little or no artistic merit, as you can see in the lower part of this next image.


At its lower levels and at every pier, the interior of the mosque is lined with more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles, made at Iznik (the ancient Nicaea) in more than fifty different tulip designs.


The many lamps inside the mosque were once covered with gold and gems. Among the glass bowls one could find ostrich eggs and crystal balls. All these decorations have been removed or pillaged for museums.




Another popular tourist destination is the Grand Bazaar which is located inside the walled city of Istanbul. The construction of the future Grand Bazaar's core started during the winter of 1455/56, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.



Today the Grand Bazaar is a thriving complex, employing 26,000 people visited by between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily, and one of the major landmarks of Istanbul. It must compete with modern shopping malls common in Istanbul.



End of Part One
To be continued...

I hope you all enjoyed part one. The next part called "The Topkapi Palace" will take us to the grand sultan palace, situated above the city of Istanbul, from where you can get a great look at the whole city.

43 comments:

  1. gorgeous shots as usual! i love going on these super trips with you!

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    1. Thanks for coming along Tanya. :)

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  2. Such a beautiful place. It is so nice to see the world with you.

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  3. This is a very beautiful series. I quite enjoy taking these trips with you.

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  4. Thanks for the tour! As usual, great pictures! And in the most positive sense, some reminded me of very old postcards---- Things seemed as they might 100 years ago.

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    1. That's because you are actually viewing things that are, as they were over 1000 years ago. :)

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  5. beautiful architecture. i like the symbolism of the chain.

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    1. I like that too, politicians today could learn from this :D

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  6. What an incredible place and such amazing architecture, Mersad!! I, too, like the symbolism of the chain! Your captures are superb as always! Hope your week is off to a great start! Enjoy!!

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  7. Looks like an amazing place to visit and I LOVE your flowery trousers

    Mollyxxx

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  8. I love that black and white shot.

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  9. Wonderful tour!! Boom, Bobbi and Gary.

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  10. Wonderful start of this trip! Your sister is a good guide! Great photos!

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  11. One certainly gets a really good idea of the splendour and magnificence of the buildings.

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  12. Finally, I can say that you are a good teacher, your sister makes really good images.
    Nice work
    Waiting the second and third post
    See you
    Stefano

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    1. Thank you Stefano. Part Two will be uploaded tomorrow.

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  13. Thank you for posting these beautiful photos of one of the most significant buildings in the world. Looks like you are having a great trip.

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  14. Istanbul, a wonderful town, makes people dreaming.... You made beautiful pictures!
    hugs, Hilde

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  15. What a gorgeous building both inside and out! Fantastic architecture! It's a beautiful city.

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  16. Such a beautiful city. It would be hard to pick a favorite photo.

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  17. Beautiful pictures and good commentary to go with. The oldest structures where I live in Western Canada are at most 170 years old... To see places with 1500 years of history in person would be quite a treat!

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    1. It really is a treat. You get a real sense of history and the past when you are there.

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  18. Krasan putopis; prije nekoliko godina sam posjetila Istanbul, ali eto ipak naucih nesto novo iz tvog teksta.

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    1. Hvala Jasna. I ja sam dosta toga naučio što nisam znao, istraživajući.

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  19. Wow - what an incredibly beautiful place. Great shots by your sister.

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  20. Oh ja, es hat mir gefallen und mich auch sehr beeindruckt. Da bekommt man sofort Lust die Koffer zu packen.

    Liebe Grüsse

    N☼va

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    1. Das stimmt. Reisen erweitert die Horizonte.

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  21. Hallöchen Mersad...

    sehr geniale Aufnahmen !! Wie ich sehe hat sich während meiner "Auszeit" nichts verändert...Auf diesem Blog werden nach wie vor super Fotos präsentiert.

    Da bin ich gerne wieder dabei :)

    LG

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    1. Danke fürs vorbeischauen Timur. Du hast eingies zu Erkunden hier, viel ist in der zwischenzeit passiert. Liebe Grüße :D

      Mersad
      Mersad Donko Photography

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  22. Fantastic! Nice post ! Have a nice day !
    Cath

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  23. A feast for the eyes in so many ways.

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  24. Amazingly beautiful structures. My compliments to your sister. Love the ceramic tiles on the ceiling. So beautiful. I love getting glimpses of other cultures. Thanks Mersad.

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  25. Thanks for sharing Istanbul with us (the bloggers in our sphere). Wonderful series!

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  26. Incredibly stunning architecture Mersad, they really knew how to make an impression way back then.. I can't imagine them building anything quite so ornate these days which is a real pity. Beautifully shown here as always.

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  27. Wonderful photos! Istanbul is one of my favorite cities - it's nice to visit once again via these photos!

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  28. Truly beautiful photos and what an UNDERTAKING it must be to travel there.

    Leslie
    abcw team

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  29. What a great tour, I love the beautiful architecture. The market looks like a fun and colorful place to visit.. Great photos, thanks for taking me along..

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  30. My goodness, that building in GORGEOUS!
    ROG, ABCW

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  31. It saddened me that i've been only to the Istanbul Airport on my way to Antalya. How i wish to visit again. The photos are beautiful as always showing the most unique angles and details. And your sister is very beautiful....Andrea

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  32. I've heard of the Hagia Sophia. It's just beautiful! Just an amazing place to visit, I am sure!

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  33. Having lived in W-Eur. and now the USA, this is a whole different world altogether, although the splendor of the Blue Mosque somehow reminds me of the Vatican City (just don't tell them, lol). Seeing what they sell at the grand Bazaar jewelry and clothes extends across religions. Nice your sister could join you!

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  34. Wow! Your photos make me feel as if I'm actually in Istanbul. This is an awesome series - I'm loving it! Turkey is at the top of my travel bucket list. I really want to see Istanbul, Konya, and Antalya. :)

    -Raza from www.thetravelixir.com

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