Istanbul Adventures

July 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Yes.

It’s Wednesday.  And this is not a watercolor.

Today I trade my paintbrush for pictures to share with you my most recent escapade in Turkey!

I spent three weeks hopping around the country of Turkish Delight, Turkish Baths and 7 churches from Revelation.  My first week was spent in Istanbul, second in Kayseri and the finale in the surreal land of Cappadocia.

We spent our days helping teach English, meeting new Turkish friends and exploring the historical city.

When a family I know announced they were spending the summer in Istanbul for work, I thought why not join?  The city was unlike any other I had visited last year.

First, the city is huge…some estimates say 14 million, others 18…either way, its huge! People everywhere at all hours.

Second, the city is the only one in the world to straddle two continents.  The Bosphorus Straight runs between the city, dividing the city between the continent of Europe and Asia.  First time in Asia…whoopee!

Third, this place is old!  While living in Europe last year, I became accustomed to visiting cathedrals 600 years old but Turkey is home to monuments and places that pre-date the time of Christ.

And lastly, this was my first experience in a Muslim culture.  In 1493, Constantinople was conquered by Muslims, changing the name to Istanbul and continuing the Muslim rule today.  I quickly became accustomed to daily calls to prayer and minarets poking through the cityscape.

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Exploring the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, aka the Blue Mosque, built in 1616 and still used as a mosque.

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Across the street is the Hagia Sophia, one of the most famous places in the world.  Originally a church built the 6th century, then converted into a mosque in 1493 after the city was conquered by Muslims and has been a museum since the 1930s.

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Hand painted ceramics in the Grand Bazar.  I bargained my way to snag a few of these to bring home.

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Exploring the Grand Bazar and some Turkish handmade goodies.

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Some of the group at Taksim Square, the site of many of the current protests…looking pretty calm right now.

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Enjoying cards with some of our new Turkish friends.

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Snapshots from Kadıköy, the neighborhood on the Asia side where we stayed.  It was a colorful neighborhood full of cozy coffee shops, antique stores and bustling restaurants.

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While there I taught a few watercolor lessons…from the coast of Kadıköy to a Vacation Bible School with Turkish and gypsy kids.  They were all excellent artists!

Check back soon for more posts from Turkey.

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