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Day Two

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 get lost.

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 inside.

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.


Read more about the Blue Mosque, and see some other images
Read more about the Hagia Sofia and see another image
Read more about Dolmabahce Palace and see another image
Note: The Home Page for these sites is here
There are many other exciting things to see in Istanbul

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