Friday, November 29, 2013

Istanbul, Day Four

I may never be able to walk the same again, but if not it was so worth it. Topkapi Palace was such a magnificent experience. I kept waiting for the moment i would walk into a room and not gasp in awe, but it never happened. I can't even count how many Assassin's Creed jokes and references were made today...

We entered through the lower gate which is close to our hotel, so had to walk up the hill. About the time we reached the archaeology museum, which is about halfway up the hill, I realized there was a tram to take us back up. By the time we reached the top I felt like "Eye of the Tiger" should have played while I jumped around with my hands over my head.

We made our way through the Salutation Gate and headed for the Harem. With the cramped quarters it's better to get through there before the crowds get too heavy. There were so many beautifully tiled rooms, elaborately decorated domes and vibrant stain glass windows. Each room was marked with signs so there was no point where I couldn't figure out what i was looking at.

From the Harem we headed to the Museum of Holy Relics. We saw several pieces of the Prophet's beard, Moses's staff, a piece of St. John's skull and arm relic, Kabba keys and gutters, and the sword and bow of the prophet. We also headed through the treasury, filled with sparklies of every color and variety. After wandering through the many outdoor pavilions, we headed to the restaurant where we sat overlooking the Bosphorus and the Asian side of Istanbul. I had stuffed chicken which is my favorite meal here so far, which is saying a lot.

After lunch we wandered through the rest of Topkapi, including the throne room and the Divan, where all the ministers met, and a museum of clocks. There are not enough words to describe all the beautiful things we saw, so instead of trying to tell you, I'll just pic spam it....

Impressive tile and elaborate doorways

Sultan's bedroom

Beautiful stain glass windows adorned many of the rooms.

My husband tried to get an infinity mirror shot

Didn't notice the jewels on this until we saw the pictures

There seemed to be a lot of birds around

Ceiling detail inside one of the pavilions

One of my favorite shots my husband took of the library

Hagia Sophia from th epalace

Entrance to the Divan

Shaded veranda leading to the harem

Pathway details

Stained glass windows in the Harem

Love the window details here, both top and bottom

I swear I didn't see the no photos sign...

The cabinet doors to the left is mother of pearl and a dark wood

Stained glass window inside the library

Another window

Awed by the view, few looked down to see this lovely pond

Not that you could blame them

It was a spectacular view

Royal library... Yah, I need one of these....

Sultan's reception room entry

Fountain outside the library

Sultan's reception area

After we finished at the palace, we started to leave when I realized I had left my purse in the restaurant. I tried to ask the staff for help, but was informed we had to buy another ticket to go get it. Grumbling the whole way, hubby came to my rescue, leaving me to rest on a bench while he hurried back to get it. Thankfully the wait staff had found it and set it aside, so we got it back without any further incident.

We wandered down the hill to the archaeological museum where I was made aware for the first time that something has changed in my thoughts. Shawn is very in tune with the craftsmanship and detail of all the artifacts, while I am more focused on the humanity of them. I actually teared up at the thought that the sarcophagi once was the final resting place of someone's father, or son, or brother. It made the visit a little melancholy for me.

The museum is quite large, with three floors of artifacts, but after our time in Rome four years ago, I was not early as fascinated by each piece, and found honing into the more elaborate pieces. I was especially fascinated by the artifacts from the ships they found while building the new transcontinental subway, and all the amphora they found within them.

For dinner we headed to Kasap Osman, a kabob restaurant. I had the owners kabob wraps, and it was delicious.

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