Dolmabahçe Palace

This is the four story clock tower and the Dolmabahce Mosque in the background. The clock tower was added to Dolmabahçe Palace, It stands in front of the Treasury Gate along the European waterfront of Bosphorus. Designed in Ottoman neo-baroque style, thetower stands on a floor area of 8.5 × 8.5 m (28 × 28 ft) at a height of 27 m (89 ft).
This is the four story clock tower and the Dolmabahce Mosque in the background. The clock tower stands in front of the Treasury Gate along the European waterfront of Bosphorus. Designed in Ottoman neo-baroque style, the tower stands on a floor area of 8.5 × 8.5 m (28 × 28 ft) at a height of 27 m (89 ft).
My day started with a traditional Turkish breakfast (kahvalti): cheese (paynir), salad vegetables, bread(ekmek), egg (yumerta), honey (muz), olives (zeytin) and tea (cay). Yes, I learn all the food words easily.
My day started with a traditional Turkish breakfast (kahvalti): cheese (paynir), salad vegetables, bread(ekmek), egg (yumerta), honey (muz), olives (zeytin) and tea (cay). Yes, I learn all the food words easily.

Today I had a rare day off and decided to visit the Dolmabahçe (DOL MA BA CHAY) Palace, the last Ottoman Palace constructed. It is a mix of styles and frankly too opulent for it’s own good. It reminded me of a “small” man buying a fancy Lamborghini to impress the ladies, and doing so on credit. This isn’t far off the mark, either, since the Ottoman Empire was in decline when this palace was built and much of the money was borrowed.

I've missed clover! It was simply too hot to grow in south Vietnam. But I looked down and saw this 5 leaf clover just inside the Treasury Gate.
I’ve missed clover! It was simply too hot to grow in south Vietnam. But I looked down and saw this 5 leaf clover just inside the Treasury Gate.

I couldn’t take photos inside, so these are all taken outside the buildings. The palace has belonged to the state since 1924 and is now a museum. The cost to tour both the palace and the harem is 40 Turkish Lira (about $18US). The English tour guide for the palace spoke so poorly and with such a thick accent, I have no idea what he said–and I’m typically very good with accents. The guide for the haram was quite good and easy to understand.

If you say the words out loud, they often make sense.
If you say the words out loud, they often make sense.

The most amazing thing for me was the crystal staircase. It stunned visitors from the first. It is made of Baccarat Crystal and brass, with a polished mahogany rail. I was in awe of the numerous crystal chandeliers–every room seemed to have one or more. Just keeping them clean would have taken a small army! The Ceremonial Hall with its domed ceiling has (reportedly) the world’s heaviest chandelier, an estimated 4 tons. All the window treatments were rich and varied. The parquet floors were covered by lavish silk carpets. Even the doorknobs and keyhole covers were ornate, hand painted porcelain. But the mish-mash of styles and over-abundance of gold leaf was too much for me–like someone trying too hard. Lavish, but unlivable.

The Treasury Gate. Dolmabahçe is the largest palace in Turkey. It has an area of 45,000 square meters (11.2 acres), and contains 285 rooms (150 in the haram), 46 halls, 6 baths (hamam) and 68 toilets (most are ornate, marble holes in the floor). The huge expense of building this palace--roughly 35 tons of gold--placed an enormous burden on the state and contributed to the  financial decline of the Ottoman Empire. Eventually, it slid into bankruptcy and was known as the "sick man of Europe" by European powers.
The Treasury Gate. Dolmabahçe is the largest palace in Turkey. It has an area of 45,000 square meters (11.2 acres), and contains 285 rooms (150 in the haram), 46 halls, 6 baths (hamam) and 68 toilets (most are ornate, marble holes in the floor).
The huge expense of building this palace–roughly 35 tons of gold–placed an enormous burden on the state and contributed to the financial decline of the Ottoman Empire. Eventually, it slid into bankruptcy and was known as the “sick man of Europe.”
View of the palace from the waterfront. The site of Dolmabahçe was originally a bay on the Bosphorus strait, used for the Ottoman fleet. The area was reclaimed gradually during the 18th century to become an imperial garden, much appreciated by the Ottoman sultans. This is where the name comes from. Dolmabahçe (Filled-in Garden) comes from the Turkish dolma meaning "filled" and bahçe meaning "garden." Various small summer palaces and wooden pavilions were built here during the 18th and 19th centuries ultimately forming a palace complex.
View of the palace from the waterfront. The site of Dolmabahçe was originally a bay on the Bosphorus strait, used for the Ottoman fleet. The area was reclaimed gradually during the 18th century to become an imperial garden, much adored by the Ottoman sultans. This is where the name comes from: Dolmabahçe (Filled-in Garden) comes from the Turkish dolma meaning “filled” and bahçe meaning “garden.” Various small summer palaces and wooden pavilions were built here during the 18th and 19th centuries ultimately forming a palace complex.
The Dolmabahçe Mosque was commissioned by queen mother Bezmi Alem Valide Sultan. After she died, Sultan Abdülmecid, her son, continued to support the construction of the mosque, which was completed in 1855
The Dolmabahçe Mosque was commissioned by queen mother Bezmi Alem Valide Sultan. After she died, Sultan Abdülmecid, her son, continued to support the construction of the mosque, which was completed in 1855.
Dolmabahçe Palace was ordered by the Empire's 31st Sultan, Abdülmecid I, and built between the years 1843 and 1856. Previously, the Sultan and family had lived at the Topkapı Palace (which I will see later since it is also a museum), but  the medieval Topkapı lacked contemporary style, luxury, and comfort. The sultan wanted something to compare with the palaces of the European monarchs, Abdülmecid built a new modern palace, using mostly borrowed funds from foreign interests and a devaluing the currency by issuing lots of paper money.
Dolmabahçe Palace was built by the Empire’s 31st Sultan, Abdülmecid I, between 1843 and 1856. Previously, the Sultan and family had lived at the Topkapı Palace (which I will see later). The medieval Topkapı lacked contemporary style, luxury and comfort. The sultan wanted something to compare with the palaces of European monarchs. Abdülmecid built a modern palace, using mostly borrowed funds from foreign interests and by a devaluing the currency by issuing lots of paper money.

Dolmabahche Palace, Istanbul, March 2015, 13

One of the entrance gates. Dolmabahçe Palace was home to six Sultans from 1856  until the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924, The last royal to live here was Caliph Abdülmecid Efendi, who was banish from Turkey along with his family in 1924.  Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, used the palace as a presidential residence during the summers. He enacted some of his most important legislation here. Atatürk spent the last days here as well, dying in one of the bedrooms  on November 10, 1938 at 9:05. all of the clocks in the palace are stopped at this time in his honor.
The Sultan’s entrance gate. Dolmabahçe Palace was home to six Sultans from 1856 until the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924, The last royal to live here was Caliph Abdülmecid Efendi, who was banish from Turkey along with his family.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey, used the palace as a presidential residence during the summer. He enacted some of his most important legislation here. Atatürk spent his last days here as well, dying in one of the bedrooms on November 10, 1938 at 9:05a. All of the clocks in the palace are stopped at this time in his honor.
Tomb of Hoca Ahmet Turani. I could find nothing about him on the web and I can't read Turkish. Yet. But this grave is in the garden area of the palace.
Tomb of Hoca Ahmet Turani. I could find nothing about him on the web and I can’t read Turkish. Yet. But this grave is in the garden area of the palace.

The following are NOT my photos. All are licensed by Wikimedia Commons. I use them since I could not take photos and I want you to see some the inside palace.

Façade of the Selamlik--the entrance of the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul. by OscarKosy
Façade of the Selamlik–the entrance of the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul.  The gardens will be beautiful in about a month. You could already see tulips and other bulbs pushing their way out of the ground. This photo must have been taken in Spring or early summer. Photo by OscarKosy.
The chandelier gifted by Queen Victoria, and may be the heaviest in the world. The domed ceiling alone with worth the visit.  Ceremonial hall,  Dolmabahce March 2008 pano4" by Gryffindor
The chandelier, gifted by Queen Victoria, may be the heaviest in the world. The domed ceiling alone with worth the visit.
Ceremonial hall, Dolmabahce March 2008 pano4″ by Gryffindor
Baccarat crystal balusters of the Crystal Staircase "Dolmabahce Baccarat bannister" by Peace01234
Baccarat crystal balusters of the Crystal Staircase
“Dolmabahce Baccarat bannister” by Peace01234
Ambassador's Hall (Süfera Salonu) with two bearskin rugs--the bears looked like they needed dusting. The standing chandeliers were beautiful.  "Ambassador Hall Dolmabahce March 2008panoc" by Gryffindor
Ambassador’s Hall (Süfera Salonu) with two bearskin rugs–the bears looked like they needed dusting. The standing chandeliers were beautiful.
“Ambassador Hall Dolmabahce March 2008panoc” by Gryffindor
Blue Hall "Dolmabahce Palace ced" by Mircea Ostoia - originally posted to Flickr
Blue Hall
“Dolmabahce Palace ced” by Mircea Ostoia – originally posted to Flickr
The Pink Hall "Dolmabahce Palacasdfe" by Mircea Ostoia - originally posted to Flickr
The Pink Hall
“Dolmabahce Palacasdfe” by Mircea Ostoia – originally posted to Flickr
The bed Ataturk died in.  "Ataturk deathbed Dolmabahce March 2008" by Gryffindor
The bed Ataturk died in.
“Ataturk deathbed Dolmabahce March 2008” by Gryffindor

Hippodrome of Constantinople

Current day Sultan Ahmet Square--the former "spine" of the Roman Hippodrome.
Current day Sultan Ahmet Square–the former “spine” of the Roman Hippodrome.

Only part of the spine (spina) of the old Roman Hippodrome remains in Istanbul. It was in disrepair when the Ottoman Turks invaded the city in 1452, and allowed to fall into ruins after,  though there are a few painting showing the Ottomans using the structure. The Hippodrome was the “circus,” a gigantic stadium for chariot racing and other sporting events. It was also the center of society in Constantinople. Originally laid out by Roman Emperor Septimus Severus, in the 3rd century, it was enlarged by Constantine to hold 100,000 people.

What remains is now called the Sultanahmet Meydanı (Sultan Ahmet Square) and is a park. In fact, much of the hippodrome was destroyed, along with the palaces of some Ottoman dignitaries, in the 17th century to build the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, better known to tourist as The Blue Mosque. The road ringing this elongated park follows the path the chariots took during a race.

My guidebook add: “Conspicuous by its absence is the column which once stood on the spot where the tourist information office is now located. This was topped by four bronze horses which were pillaged during the Fourth Crusades…and taken to St. Mark’s in Venice.”  I managed to see these when I was in Venice!

Below are some of the treasures located on the square. Most were moved here (i.e stolen) from other locations.

From Wikipedia: The German Fountain ("The Kaiser Wilhelm Fountain"), an octagonal domed fountain in neo-Byzantine style, which was constructed by the German government in 1900 to mark the German Emperor Wilhelm II's visit to Istanbul in 1898, is located at the northern entrance to the Hippodrome area, right in front of the Blue Mosque.
Here’s a piece that wasn’t stolen, but build here. From Wikipedia: The German Fountain (“The Kaiser Wilhelm Fountain”), an octagonal domed fountain in neo-Byzantine style, which was constructed by the German government in 1900 to mark the German Emperor Wilhelm II’s visit to Istanbul in 1898, is located at the northern entrance to the Hippodrome area, right in front of the Blue Mosque.
Mosaics for the dome of the fountain.
Mosaics under the dome of the fountain. I saw a few guys drinking from the fountain, but it is really for washing before prayers. Besides, all the guidebooks say don’t drink the water here. I’ve stuck with bottled water, so far.

Hippodrome, Istanbul, Mar 5, 2015, 3

Obelisk of Theodosius is part of an Egyptian obelisk. From Wikipedia: Another emperor to adorn the Hippodrome was Theodosius the Great, who in 390[5] brought an obelisk from Egypt and erected it inside the racing track. Carved from pink granite, it was originally erected at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor during the reign of Thutmose III in about 1490 BC. Theodosius had the obelisk cut into three pieces and brought to Constantinople. The top section survives, and it stands today where Theodosius placed it, on a marble pedestal. The obelisk has survived nearly 3,500 years in astonishingly good condition.
Obelisk of Theodosius is part of a much larger Egyptian obelisk. From Wikipedia: Another emperor to adorn the Hippodrome was Theodosius the Great, who in 390 brought an obelisk from Egypt and erected it inside the racing track. Carved from pink granite, it was originally erected at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor during the reign of Thutmose III in about 1490 BC. Theodosius had the obelisk cut into three pieces and brought to Constantinople. The top section survives, and it stands today where Theodosius placed it, on a marble pedestal. The obelisk has survived nearly 3,500 years in astonishingly good condition.
Hippodrome, Istanbul, Mar 5, 2015, 9

The base of the Egyptian Obelisk shows Emperor Theodosius as he offers a laurel wreath to the winner of the games in the Hippodrome.
The base of the Egyptian Obelisk shows Emperor Theodosius as he offers a laurel wreath to the winner of the games in the Hippodrome. The bases of these old monuments were covered with dirt as the ground level rose over the years. All of them now sit in pits, dug out so you can see the base.
Hippodrome, Istanbul, Mar 5, 2015, 12
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There isn't much of the Serpent column left. From Wikipedia: To raise the image of his new capital, Constantine and his successors, especially Theodosius the Great, brought works of art from all over the empire to adorn it. The monuments were set up in the middle of the Hippodrome, the spina. Among these was the Tripod of Plataea, now known as the Serpent Column, cast to celebrate the victory of the Greeks over the Persians during the Persian Wars in the 5th century BC. Constantine ordered the Tripod to be moved from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, and set in middle of the Hippodrome. The top was adorned with a golden bowl supported by three serpent heads. The bowl was destroyed or stolen during the Fourth Crusade. The serpent heads were destroyed as late as the end of the 17th Century, as many Ottoman miniatures show they were intact in the early centuries following the Turkish conquest of the city.[4] Parts of the heads were recovered and are displayed at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. All that remains of the Delphi Tripod today is the base, known as the "Serpentine Column".
There isn’t much of the Serpent Column left. You can see The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque) in the background. From Wikipedia: To raise the image of his new capital, Constantine and his successors, especially Theodosius the Great, brought works of art from all over the empire to adorn it. The monuments were set up in the middle of the Hippodrome, the spina. Among these was the Tripod of Plataea, now known as the Serpent Column, cast to celebrate the victory of the Greeks over the Persians during the Persian Wars in the 5th century BC. Constantine ordered the Tripod to be moved from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, and set in middle of the Hippodrome. The top was adorned with a golden bowl supported by three serpent heads. The bowl was destroyed or stolen during the Fourth Crusade. The serpent heads were destroyed as late as the end of the 17th Century, as many Ottoman miniatures show they were intact in the early centuries following the Turkish conquest of the city. Parts of the heads were recovered and are displayed at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. All that remains of the Delphi Tripod today is the base, known as the “Serpentine Column”.
The Archaeology museum is located nearby. I plan to visit very soon!

Hippodrome, Istanbul, Mar 5, 2015, 14

 

The walled column. From Wikipedia: In the 10th century the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus built another obelisk at the other end of the Hippodrome. It was originally covered with gilded bronze plaques, but they were sacked by Latin troops in the Fourth Crusade. The stone core of this monument also survives, known as the Walled Obelisk.
The Walled Column/Obelisk. From Wikipedia: In the 10th century the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus built another obelisk at the other end of the Hippodrome. It was originally covered with gilded bronze plaques, but they were sacked by Latin troops in the Fourth Crusade. The stone core of this monument also survives, known as the Walled Obelisk.

 

There's lots of new (to me) wildlife. Not sure what this bird is called, but he was large, about the size of a large raven.
There’s lots of new (to me) wildlife. Not sure what this bird is called, but he was big, about the size of a large raven.
Lots of street vendors. This one is selling roasted chestnuts and corn for 2Turkish Lira--a bit less than 1US dollar.
Lots of street vendors. This one is selling roasted chestnuts (stacked on the left) and ears of roasted corn for 2 Turkish Lira–a bit less than 1US dollar.

 

The Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Mar 5, 2015, 2

I’m trying to see all the great sites while I’m here in Istanbul. You simply cannot believe all the history, architecture, museums and fascinating places inside this great city. I feel lucky to be here.

Today, I’m sharing the photos from a recent trip to the Cistern Basilica, a large holding tank for water for the city. In Turkish it is called Yerebatan Sarnıcı – “Sunken Cistern.”  The entrance is near The Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. It was build during the Byzantine Period, roughly 532AD, and was filled with water from the Belgrade forest, about 25km (15miles) away. It was used until the 16th Century.

There are very few water sources inside the old city of Istanbul (previously known as Byzantium, New Rome and Constantinople). When the city was attacked, the strong walls would keep them safe, but they could run out of water, This underground reservoir is the largest of several built to supply the city with fresh water. The water came from many miles away through the Valens aqueduct, part of which still stands today.
There are very few water sources inside the old city of Istanbul (previously known as Byzantium, New Rome and Constantinople, among others). When the city was attacked, the strong walls would keep the population safe, but they were at risk of running out of water! This underground reservoir is the largest of several built to supply the city with fresh water. The water came from many miles away through the Valens aqueduct, part of which still stands today.
Same photo, but with flash. This shows the arched brickwork of the ceiling a bit better.
Same photo, but with flash. This shows the arched brickwork of the ceiling a bit better.
It's pretty dark inside, so some of these photos were difficult to get. You can't use a tripod, so you have to steady the camera against something. Originally, the water might have gone to the ceiling. Now, it's just a few feet deep with carp swimming in it and platforms you can walk on over the water.
It’s pretty dark inside, so some of these photos were difficult to get. You can’t use a tripod, so you have to steady the camera against something. I had to hold most photos for 3-5 second. Originally, the water might have gone to the ceiling. Now, it’s just a few feet deep with carp swimming in it and platforms you can walk on over the water.

 

This is one of two Medusa heads used as the base for a column. This one is on its side. All the columns were "recycled" from the ruins of other buildings--many ruined during the Nika Riots of 532. There is a combination of different columns--Ionic, Doric and Corinthian.
This is one of two Medusa heads used as the base for a column. This one is on its side. All the columns were “recycled” from the ruins of other buildings–many destroyed during the Nika Riots of 532. There is a combination of different column capitals–Ionic, Doric and Corinthian.
Here is another Medusa head, this one upside down. Tradition has it that the blocks are oriented sideways or upside-down in order to reduce their power.
Here is another Medusa head, this one upside down. Tradition has it that the blocks are oriented sideways or upside-down in order to reduce their power.

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Mar 5, 2015, 6

The cistern was used as a location for the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love. In the film, it is referred to as being constructed by the Emperor Constantine, which is only partly true. Constantine had a cistern built on this site, but it was enlarged and rebuild later under Justinian.  This is the structure we see today. Despite the name, it was never used as a church, though it may have been build beneath the site of a church and it is certainly large enough to be one!
The cistern was used as one location for the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love. In the film, it is referred to as being constructed by the Emperor Constantine, which is only partly true. Constantine had a cistern built on this site, but it was enlarged and rebuild under Emperor Justinian. This is the structure we see today. Despite the name, it was never used as a church, though it may have been build beneath the site of a church and it is certainly large enough to be one!
This would be a perfect place to go on a hot summer day--very cool. But it is also wet and slippery. While I'm glad I saw it, it was a bit pricy at 20 Turkish Lira and another 20 for the audio tour. If you go, skip the audio.
This would be a perfect place to go on a hot summer day–very cool. But it is also wet and slippery. While I’m glad I saw it, it was a bit pricy at 20 Turkish Lira and another 20 for the audio tour. If you go, skip the audio.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar

I’m sure I will come back to see these many more times while I’m in Istanbul, but I had a chance to take a quick view of two of the amazing sites here in this great city. It is my second visit to both the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofia in Turkish) and the Grand Bazaar (Kapalıçarşı in Turkish), so I was able to sure as an impromptu tour guide to another new teacher.

The Haiga Sophia, originally a  Greek Orthodox Church (the third on this site) dedicated to the Holy Wisdom of God. Later it became an imperial mosque. It has been a museum since 1935.
The Haiga Sophia, originally a Greek Orthodox Church (the third on this site) dedicated to the Holy Wisdom of God. Later it became an imperial mosque. It has been a museum since 1935.

Here is what Wikipedia says about the Hagia (EYE uh) Sophia (heavily edited):

Hagia Sophia (from the Greek: Ἁγία Σοφία, “Holy Wisdom”) is a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum (Ayasofya Müzesi) in Istanbul, Turkey. From the date of its construction in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. The building was a mosque from 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.

The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity, its patronal feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ.  Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture[6] and is said to have “changed the history of architecture”.  It remained the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site.

In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks under Sultan Mehmed II, who ordered this main church of the Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels and other relics were removed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his Mother Mary, Christian saints and angels were also removed or plastered over. Islamic features – such as the mihrab, minbar, and four minarets – were added. It remained a mosque until 1931. It was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey. Haghia Sophia is currently (2014) the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting almost 3.3 million visitors annually.

This is on the taxi ride to the Ayasofia--from the window, we can see part of the original city wall. I'm not sure how old this would be, but people were living here in 1000BCE, and it was a Roman city by 400AD. This was part of the walls that the Ottoman Turks stormed in 1453 to take over Constantinople. So much to learn.
This is on the taxi ride to the Ayasofia–from the window, we can see part of the original city wall. I’m not sure how old this would be, but people were living here in 1000BCE, and it was a Roman city by 400AD. This was part of the walls that the Ottoman Turks stormed in 1453 to take over Constantinople. So much to learn.
The four minarets were added after the Ottoman's took over the city. This is the entrance. Much of the building is getting extensive renovation, so there's scaffolding everywhere. When I was here in 2008, We could see some structures from the previous church, but these are not available now.
The four minarets were added after the Ottoman’s took over the city. This is the entrance. Much of the building is getting extensive renovation, so there’s scaffolding everywhere. When I was here in 2008, We could see some structures from the previous church, but these are not available now.

 

The Christian altar was replaced by the mihrab (center) when it became a mosque in the 1400's, The mihrab shows the direction of prayer (facing Mecca).
The Christian altar was replaced by the mihrab (center) when it became a mosque in the 1400’s, The mihrab shows the direction of prayer (facing Mecca).
Many of the original mosaics were simply plastered over, not removed, when this became a mosque. The plaster has been removed, but many of the mosaics are in need of repair.  Muslims covered or removed all images because do not have them in a mosque (for fear that the images, and not God, would be worshiped). The large, round medallions have the names of God in calligraphy.
Many of the original mosaics were simply plastered over, not removed, when this became a mosque. The plaster has been removed, but many of the mosaics are in need of repair.
Muslims covered or removed all images because do not have them in a mosque (for fear that the images, and not God, would be worshiped). The large, round medallions have the names of God in calligraphy.
Mosaics.
Mosaics.
Fountain (Şadırvan) for ritual ablutions. This is to wash before entering the mosque.
Fountain (Şadırvan) for ritual ablutions. This is to wash before entering the mosque.

The Grand Bazaar is huge and a great place to see even if you aren’t much of a buyer. From Wikipedia: The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. In 2014, it is listed No.1 among world’s most-visited tourist attractions with 91,250,000 annual visitors.  The Grand Bazaar is located inside the walled city of Istanbul, in the district of Fatih. The construction of the Grand Bazaar’s core started during the winter of 1455/56, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Sultan Mehmet II had an edifice erected devoted to the trading of textiles.

Inside the Grand Bazaar.
Inside the Grand Bazaar.
Outside the Bazaar.
Outside the Bazaar.
Dried fruits, nuts, spices, jams and candies. YUM.
Dried fruits, nuts, spices, jams and candies. YUM.