“Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night”
~~~~Istanbul (Not Constantinople) LyricsArtist: They Might Be Giants
It was difficult not to fall in love the moment we approached Istanbul from the water. Having the panoramic view of two continents (Asia and Europe), as we approached our port, was an incredible moment. The Istanbul skyline includes both the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia from the Bosphorus strait and was simply breathtaking as we arrived. From the grandeur and unique history of the Hagia Sophia, to the hustle and bustle of the Grand Bazaar, with a quick bite of Turkish delight, what’s not to love about this city.
If you aren’t familiar with Istanbul and the culture, it is a primarily Muslim city. One of the main attractions for tourists who visit the city, is the Hagia Sophia. The Hagia Sophia is a former Christian church, which later became an imperial mosque, and is now a museum open to the public. You may notice in some of the photos that several of the Christian mosaics depicting Jesus and his Mother Mary, were plastered over. This is because in Islam, the depiction of God is forbidden but even the depiction of humans or animals is discouraged.
Next Up: Ephesus, Turkey
Ephesus Turkey was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, where the Gospel of John is believed to have been written. It was built in the 10th century BC and according to estimates, had a population of 33,600 to 56,000 people in the Roman period. Today’s ruins are so well preserved because the city was simply deserted. The city had an epidemic of malaria, the people thought the air was infectious, so they all abandoned the city. This helped the ruins stay intact for us to observe today.
Last Set: House of the Virgin Mary
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