On the second day, I was woken by the early morning
call to prayer. After having a little bit of breakfast and getting
organised, we set out to explore Istanbul. We try to stay together
all the time, but I always have my cell phone with me in case I
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque was nearby. It is one
of the most admired masterpieces - not only in Turkey, but also
in the Islamic world. Most people in Turkey celebrate Islam. Some
celebrate other religions, including Christianity.
||Inside the mosque, everyone has to take
off his or her shoes. That was easy for me - I don't wear them.
It is breathtaking to see the spacious mosque. Lanterns and
leadlights are everywhere. The floor is completely carpeted,
and in one corner, a group of women were kneeling down to pray.
Their clothes cover them from head to toe, with just their eyes
showing. Sultan Ahmed I finished the mosque in 1616 and although
it was named after him, it is also known as the Blue Mosque
because of the paint and ceramic tiles used to decorate the
||The Hagia Sofia is said by some to be the
Eighth Wonder of the World. It was built - for the third time
- in the sixth century by the Roman Emperor Justinian to show
how good he was. It was first used as a Christian place of worship,
and later as a Muslim mosque. Inside, it is absolutely ginormous.
The doors alone seem to be two storey high, and were twice as
thick as me. The Christian alter faces Jerusalem, and the Muslim
steps face Mecca.
There are some flash palaces to visit in
Istanbul. We went to see the Dolmabahce Palace. The Sultans
knew how to live! The palace is three storey high, has 285
rooms, has 43 halls, and is right on the waterfront. The ballroom
is the largest in the world and has a chandelier that weighs
four and a half tonnes! Perhaps the Sultan needed all that
space to look after his nine wives.
Despite all the flash rooms, he still
had a hole in the ground as a toilet.