Tulips and History of Turkey Tour 2014
April 14th - 23rd, 2014


April 16. Wednesday. Istanbul
We walked over from the hotel to visit the Hippodrome and the unique Blue Mosque whose interior walls are covered with twenty thousand blue Iznik tiles. The tulip is the old Arabic symbol of God. The rose is for prophet, Carnation is for humility, Hyacinth for faith, Blue is the symbol of the sky, red of imperial power and green religion. There are 400 year old windows here, just amazing. One original is all that is left. The second floor is tiled and the rest about that is painted. Imperial mosques have 4 minarets but the Sultan decreed that this one would have 6. and magnificent Topkapi Palace once home to the great Sultans and filled with treasures and antiquities including twelve thousand pieces of fine Chinese porcelain. Met a young couple who had just gotten married and she showed us her henna on her hands, it was beautiful and they were just so happy. Then it was off to the Hagia Sofia. I love this place, everywhere you look it is so symbolic and over the top stunning. The angels had their faces covered up during the 8-9th century but now one has been uncovered during the restoration so you can see the face. It took 5 years 9 months to build, 11,000 workers. 4 acres of gold and silver plus the most beautiful pieces of marble coming from Eqypt, Greece, Turkey and Rome. The dome is at 56 meters tall – priceless visits today. Finding a hidden garden full of annuals in brilliant colours was a bonus, then after lunch visiting another bulb garden next door to where we had lunch was incredible.
After all of this we decided to make a stop at a market on our way back to the hotel…and glad we did for there was much to see here too!


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