Cistern;Spice Bazaar; Walk in the City

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   turkey trip Istanbul I Istanbul II Istanbul III Istanbul IV Bursa Troy Pergamum Sardes - Pamukkale Aphrodisia Ephesus Priene Didyma MiletCapitels

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                     Basilica Cistern          Spice Bazaar      Taksim Square

The Basilica Cistern


            cistern   Basilica Cisterne   cistern
The Cistern was built in the 5th century to ensure a secure water supply for the Imperial Byzantine palace. After the Ottoman conquest in the 15th century , the Topkapi palace was erected on its site. It received its name because at one time a Byzantine Basilica was on top of it. Today the cisterne is not used as an emergency water supply, although it does serve to absorb excess runoff water during storms. It has become a rather quiet and slightly spooky destination for tourists and is also quite popular as a setting for a number of movies, for example the James Bond film "from Moscow with Love" and a recent Charlie Chan movie. The cistern has pretty poor but romatic lighting and when we visited it was suffused with rather eerie

Medusa head


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music - it sounded New Ageish to me, but Ayşe told us that we were actually hearing Sufi music. The two pictures on the right shows two columns that are supported by marble carved Medusa heads. The large picture shows the Medusa head turned sideways, the small one in the middle shows the Medusa upside down. Legends claim that the placements are to ensure that the Gorgon's evileye can not cause damage, but the reality is more prosaic: In each case this was done because the heads worked best to properly support their respective columns. Both of these Medusa heads were "recycled", just like the columns originally supported former Greek or Roman buildings. Waste not want not. Obviously, in the 5th century there was not as much appreciation of Greek or Roman marble art as there is today! Instead these pagan images were either destroyed or reused. This was the first, but by no means the last example of this type of recycling we saw on this trip.  Until very recently no one cared much for the treasures of previous generations and cultures in many countries who today are demanding the return of their treasures that, others argue, were saved from neglect and destruction by foreign museums.                                   

                           upside down medusa


The Spice Bazaar

              spice basaar                       women                  spice basaar
As a special thrill for me - if you know me you know that I am a highly reluctant and resistant shopper - this day included not one but two "shopping trips" First we visited the Spice Bazaar. I actually was glad, spice/food had to be better from my point of view than the Grand Bazaar. I had been forced to do that one on my first visit to Istanbul and had no intention of repeating that experience. There is not really a lot to be said about the Bazaar. As expected there are myriad booths offering a large vareity of spices and foods. I am ashamed to say, I succumbed and bought some turkish candy at the place shown in the picture on the left. The picture on the right shows the entrance to the Bazaar and I think it is particularly interesting once you look carefully you can see the range of female attire in Turkey today - I enlarged the scene in the cutout in the middle. On the left there is a woman wearing the headscarf and the long coat in front a young woman in tight pants and a skimpy T-shirt (yes, there a blond women in turkey) in between what - to my untutored eye - looks like a mufti with his beard, long coat and cap.                              view of istanbul
But our day was not yet done. No, as a special thrill we walked through what was billed as the "most elegant shopping street in Istanbul" Again, not my beer, but my compatriots seemed to enjoy it.                                                                                                                                      return to top

Taksim Square and "the most elegant street in Istanbul"

street street street


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  Deutsche Seiten:

Türkeireise  Istanbul I Istanbul II Istanbul III Istanbul IV Bursa Troia Pergamum Sardes - Pamukkale Aphrodisia Ephesus Priene Didyma Milet Kapitele