Atlantis Alumni

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Return To Istanbul

RETURN TO ISTANBUL Sailing into Istanbul is an exciting and visually stunning experience that we have enjoyed twice now. Wednesday morning the Celebrity Equinox entered South of the city and docked. Jim took many beautiful photos of the ancient city (See pics.) We had not booked an excursion so walked through the port to look for the Istanbul Modern Museum. Jim didn’t want to enter the museum through its parking lot, so we instead hopped on a hop on-hop off bus. There are a few different tour buses in Istanbul, but the line we were on proved slow and soon the driver, taking a different bridge to the old part of the city, let the audio portion, on the earphones, unravel. But Istanbul is a grand city, one of the most interesting in the world from a historical point of view. We got off the bus near the magnificent Hagia Sophia church, the grandest Byzantine monument anywhere. Though I’ve been teaching students about this church for 40 years, I was again amazed at how large and intricate the old building is. It’s one of the great examples of a dome-bearing structure, and its dome was built in the 5th century AD. Some of the surviving mosaics are wonderful also, and we walked up to the gallery to see more. After that basilica, we had lunch nearby and then walked to the Sultan Ahmet, or Blue mosque. This 17th century mosque features the wonderful blue Iznik tiles for interior decoration. After walking through that monument, we waited on the bus for around 45 minutes before it left the square to return to the port. In the afternoon Dan visited the Istanbul Modern and Jim enjoyed the ship’s pool. The Istanbul Modern features painting and sculpture by locals from the end of the 19th century until today. –Dan

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