From HUGer Sam:
This city is so big and has so much. It's incredible. All sorts of people. All sorts of places. All sorts of sights and sounds and smells and tastes. All in one place.
We started the day at the Blue Mosque, a magnificent Ottoman architectural feat. The carpet on your bare feet, the low-hanging chandeliers, the intricate tilework, the detailed paint in the domes are like nothing in the States.
After seeing the Roman Hippodrome, an ancient stadium used for horse-racing, we headed to Topkapi Palace. Topkapi is a huge Ottoman palace with four large courtyards, a sort of calm in the rush of the city. It has an incredible collection of historical weapons and religious relics, including (supposedly) Moses' staff, King David's sword, and Muhammad's beard hair.
After going through the National Archaeological Museum, which holds the oldest known Hebrew manuscript, and stopping for lunch, we visited the Hagia Sophia, a Byzantine church turned mosque turned museum. Such a beautiful place. Everything is so detailed and so thought-out. The light, the air, the art. Wow.
Next, the underground cisterns. Damp, dark, and immense, it shows off the ingenuity of the Romans, especially knowing that these structures are still intact after so many years.
Before dinner, we headed to the spice market. Although smaller than the Grand Bazaar, it is still incredible to see and taste the local Turkish spices and desserts and interact with the merchants. Turkish Delight is delightful.
All this plus kabobs for dinner and walking the streets in the evening have made for quite the day. Istanbul is so massive and so unique. I'm so thankful for everyone who made this possible.
|Harding University in Greece||
HUG fall 2015