July 24, 2009

Day 170 : Istanbul

Today was my 'Let's go see what Nikole studied in her History of Architecture classes' day. I started with the Aya Sofya then made my way across the green to the Blue Mosque. Both were stunning, though a bit difficult to appreciate from the exterior when hordes of hagglers are verbally attacking you. Can't a girl just sit and sketch in peace? Anyway, the more I experience Islamic architecture the more I fall in love with it. Makes me wish I enrolled in those Islamic Architecture elective courses...

Like the Sagrada Familia, the interior of the Aya Sofya is more or less a live construction site, though not nearly as exciting or compelling as the Sagrada. Apparently all of the restoration work is being done for the 'Istanbul 2010 : European Capital of Culture' celebration.
An sneak peak into the layers that create the Aya Sofya. It's a nice little blemish, no?
An Aya Sofya visitor peers out the window to catch a glimpse of the Blue Mosque in the distance.
A typical street scene in Old Istanbul

This afternoon I made my way over to the Grand Bazaar. I think I have been spoiled by the colorful, aromatic markets in places like Morocco, India, and Vietnam. For me, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul was a bit of a disappointment. The space itself is quite beautiful, but it's difficult to fully appreciate it with distractions like modern glass storefronts and fluorescent lighting everywhere. At times I thought I was at the Turnpike Mall in Augusta, Maine...not the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul.

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