Aug 12

More Photos from Istanbul

Happy vendors Istanbul Spice Market

Happy vendors Istanbul Spice Market by Curious Lizard

Spice Market, Istanbul

Spice Market, Istanbul by Curious Lizard

Spice Merchants

Spice Merchants by Curious Lizard

Istanbul Spice Market

Galata Tower

Galata Tower by Curious Lizard

Galata Hill and Golden Horn. Istanbul

Aug 12

Etrim Village

Aug 12

Turkish Traditional Carpet Making

Aug 12

Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum

Aug 12

Back in Istanbul

We spent two incredible days on the western shore of Turkey and I finally made it to Ephesus. What a beautiful city. As a book lover, the facade of the ancient library was wonderful to see but I was completely surprised by the Roman terrace houses with their intricate mosaic floors and so very human frescoes.

When I visit ancient sites, one of my favorite questions to ask of the modern residents, is what is their connection to these people and cultures that vanished so many centuries age. Do they feel any connection or kinship at all? At almost every location the answer has been no, the monuments and ruins are viewed as piles of rocks that are only fit for tourists. On the occasional of my asking this question of our guide, she gave a very different impassioned response. She explained that all cultures learn from and stand upon each other, that no culture exists in a vacuum or stands alone. I could not agree more.

To my delight I learned that modern Bodrum is the location of ancient Halicarnassus, birthplace of Heroditus, father of history. Bodrum has such a long, rich history, it has it’s own underwater archaeology museum. The numerous exhibits include a bronze age ship wreck, the skeleton, sarcophagus and reconstructed likeness of a Carian Queen and an equisite exhibit of ancient amphora, many of which were found by local sponge divers. I have a video of this amphora exhibit I’ll upload when I’m able.

We were also fortunate enough to visit the village of Etrim where the traditional art of wool on wool carpet making continues. We met an amazing family in this village and I have video to share when we have faster, more reliable internet. In fact, I have have several videos waiting to be uploaded.

Tomorrow we leave for Turkmenistan so my ability to post may be uncertain for a while. In the mean time please enjoy the photos!

Aug 12

Seeing the Sites

Today we did a lot of walking. Topkapi Palace, Byzantine Cistern, Byzantine Hippodrome and the Blue Mosque. The high point for me was seeing the treasure rooms and holy relics in Topkapi Palace. Each treasure was more exquisite than the one before and encrusted with massive diamonds, emeralds and rubys. The sacred relics were astonishing in their depth and significance. Among the sacred relics were swords of the Prophet and his companions, the Prophets actual tooth, beard clippings and mantle, the sword of King David, staff of Moses, saucepan of Abraham and turban of Joseph. Nearby were the skull and arm of John the Baptist. I’m still trying to process the experience.

Later as we walked near the Grand Bazaar, I couldn’t help but notice was how clean the streets and paths were in Instanbul, easily the cleanest of all the ancient cities I have visited around the world. I’m not sure of the reason, the residents seem very proud of their city and perhaps this is part of it, and perhaps they view cleanliness as a sacred duty. Whatever the reason, it certainly added to the enjoyment.

One of my goals for the day was to learn more about the Arabic style of calligraphy. There is a booksellers section next to the Grand Bazaar and we found ourselves in the shop of a very pleasant gentleman who sold pages of antique books that had been broken up and illuminated in lustrous gold leaf. After studying several pages and lengthy handwritten proclamations, I ended up purchasing a book that nicely explained the process of Arabic calligraphy and page design, just what I was looking for.
Colors of Istanbul

Colors of IstanbulCurious Lizard

Interior Blue Mosque Istanbul

Interior Blue Mosque IstanbulCurious Lizard

Blues of Istanbul

Blues of IstanbulCurious Lizard

Cistern Cafe Istanbul

Cistern Cafe IstanbulCurious Lizard

Istanbul Grand Bazaar

Istanbul Grand BazaarCurious Lizard