My students give me a tour of Istanbul

After a Metro ride, my three Level 1 students took me to Eminönü, now a neighbourhood of Fatih district. This is the heart of the walled city of Constantine. From left to right: Aslan, Miraç and Hezar.
After a Metro ride, my three Level 1 students took me to Eminönü, now a neighbourhood of Fatih district. This is the heart of the walled city of Constantine. From left to right: Aslan, Miraç and Hezar. You can see the Galata Tower in the background. To the left is the Galata Bridge, where we had lunch.

I’ve bragged about my Level 1 students before. They are exceptional English students and they really study hard. But they are also great people. Yesterday, they took me out. They got to practice English. I got to see more of this amazing city!

Balek Ekmek--fish bread, or a fish sandwich. The fish was very fresh and tasty. A great lunch under the Galata Bridge.
Balek Ekmek–fish bread, or a fish sandwich. It was very fresh and tasty. A great lunch under the Galata Bridge, something that’s been on my list to do!
Here's an activity you won't see in The States! The gun uses pellets to shoot balloons. She's a pretty good shot, too!
Here’s an activity you won’t see in The States! The gun uses pellets to shoot balloons. She’s a pretty good shot, too!
Hazar poses by this cute tree in Gulhane Park, originally part of the grounds of Topkapi Palace.
Hezar poses by this cute tree in Gülhane Park, originally part of the grounds of Topkapı Palace.
Taking a break in Gulhane Park.
Taking a break in Gülhane Park. The name means rose house.
Aslan has fun in Gulhane Park.
Aslan has fun in Gülhane Park.
The entry gate to Istanbul University from Bayazid Square. This is the site of the first Ottoman palace, used by Mehmet the Conqueror while Topkapi Palace was under construction.
The entry gate to Istanbul University from Beyazıt Square. Hezar goes to school here. The Square is the former site of the Forum of Theodosius built by Constantine the Great. This is the site of the first Ottoman palace, used by Mehmet the Conqueror while Topkapi Palace was under construction. You can just see the top of the tower in the right side of the picture. Beyazıt Tower was originally wooden and was built as a fire watch tower. Ironically, it burned down and was replaced with this one.
This is part of the cemetery complex. It was closing as we got there, so we couldn't stay long. In the garden behind the main mosque there are two mausoleums (türbe) including the tombs of Sultan Suleiman I, his wife Hürrem Sultan (Roxelana) and their daughter Mihrimah Sultan. The sultans Suleiman II, Ahmed II and also Saliha Dilaşub Sultan and Safiye Sultan (died in 1777), the daughter of Mustafa II, are buried here.
We walked to the top of the hill to this is a cemetery, part of the Suleiman mosque complex. It was closing as we got there, so we couldn’t stay long or go into the mausoleum. In the garden behind the main mosque there are two mausoleums (türbe) including the tombs of Sultan Suleiman I, his wife Hürrem Sultan (Roxelana) and their daughter Mihrimah Sultan. The sultans Suleiman II, Ahmed II and also Saliha Dilaşub Sultan and Safiye Sultan (died in 1777), the daughter of Mustafa II, are buried here.
Just right of center is the Galata Tower. Below are the waters of the Bosphorus.
Just right of center is the Galata Tower. Below are the waters of the Bosphorus. The towers in the front are chimneys, originally part of the kitchen complex.
Aren't they good looking? They sit on a wall overlooking the Bosphorus.
Aren’t they good looking? They sit on a wall overlooking the Bosphorus.
The Süleymaniye Mosque is part of a huge complexa külliye, or complex with adjacent structures to service both religious and cultural needs. Originally, it contained a hospital, kitchens to feed the poor, a hamam (public bath), library, schools and much more.
The Süleymaniye Mosque is part of a huge complex, or külliye, with adjacent structures to service both religious and cultural needs. Originally, it contained a hospital, kitchens to feed the poor, a hamam (public bath), library, schools and much more.
This is my first view of the interior. I had taken a special side tour in 2008 when I came here as a tourist, but the interior was closed for renovations and cleaning. Obviously, they did a great job.
This is my first view of the interior. I had taken a special side tour in 2008 when I came here as a tourist. This mosque was to be the highlight of that tour, but the interior was closed for renovations and cleaning. Obviously, they did a great job. I felt lucky to come here.
Interior of the Süleymaniye Camii (mosque). The construction work began in 1550 and the mosque was finished in 1558, but today it looks brand new. Women are required to wear a head covering. Everyone takes off their shoes.
Interior of the Süleymaniye Camii (mosque). The construction work began in 1550 and the mosque was finished in 1558, but today it looks brand new. Women are required to wear a head covering. Everyone takes off their shoes.
The ceiling is amazing. Everything is so clean and perfect. Located on the 3rd hill of Istanbul (there are 7 hills, just like Rome), it is the largest mosque in the city, and one of the best-known sights of Istanbul.
The ceiling is amazing. Everything is so clean and perfect. Located on the 3rd hill of Istanbul (there are 7 hills, just like Rome), it is the largest mosque in the city, and one of the best-known sights of Istanbul. It’s easy to see from the waterfront.
The inner court of the Süleymaniye Mosque.
The inner court of the Süleymaniye Mosque.