And here we are, on our last day of Istanbul, a bit tired, but still in the mood of walking around the streets of this city.
Last day was a bit shorter than the other ones, as we also had a plane to catch in the evening. This also complicated thinks a bit as we had to walk all day carrying our back-packs, but we managed to survive.
First stop for the day was Fatih Camii, one last mosque for us, which unfortunately was not open for visiting, so we only took a look at if from outside and moved on.
The original mosque was badly damaged in the 1509 earthquake, after that it was repaired, but was then damaged again by earthquakes in 1557 and 1754 and repaired yet again. It was then completely destroyed by an earthquake on 22 May 1766 when the main dome collapsed and the walls were irreparably damaged. The current mosque (designed on a completely different plan) was completed in 1771 under Sultan Mustafa III by the architect, Mimar Mehmet Tahir.
Next was the Chora Church, considered to be one of the most beautiful surviving examples of a Byzantine church, so no mosque this time.
In the 16th century, during the Ottoman era, the church was converted into a mosque and, finally, it became a museum in 1948. The interior of the building is covered with fine mosaics and frescoes.
Very close to the Chora Church is the Theodosian Walls.
Also known as the Walls of Constantinople, they are a series of defensive stone walls that have surrounded and protected the city of Constantinople since its founding as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Constantine the Great. With numerous additions and modifications during their history, they were the last great fortification system of antiquity, and one of the most complex and elaborate systems ever built.
So this was it! The trip to Istanbul has come to an end.
Some of my conclusions after visiting this city.
- Istanbul is all about food! It was what I liked the most from this trip. We had a true culinary experience from the beginning until the end. Whether you like meat, fish or you are a vegetarian, you will find here everything for every taste.
- The Grand Bazaar is just a touristic attraction. You will find the same merchandise in other places, further from the center, but with lower prices.
- As soon as you get out of the touristic area, you will see that people who sell in shops or restaurants are not as aggressive as in the city center.
- All mosques look almost the same (or at least that’s how they looked to me) so no point in visiting them all if you are not there for the religious aspects.
- Wondering on the streets with no purpose helped me get a better sense of Istanbul. It looks clean, but it’s crowded and most of the time kitsch.
- It’s more European than Oriental, so you will not see too many differences from other cities in Europe, especially from the ones in the Eastern part of Europe.
So I enjoyed the trip, discovering new places is always attractive, but Istanbul is not necessarily my cup of tea. I think visiting once is enough, I wouldn’t consider going twice.
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