UPDATE: (a couple more photos added)
Aya Sofia was built about 1500 years ago by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, and served as the most important church in Christendom for about 900 years before being converted into a mosque by the Ottomans in 1453. Even after all this time it is still impressive.
Suffice it to say, we are in Istanbul. I have a feeling Laura will have more to say about the Aya Sofia, so I’ll just put up some pics for now.
Yes, Mom, we're still alive.
The exterior, with Laura channeling Johnny Cash (center-left).
The original Byzantine mosaics were plastered over by the Ottomans in order to abide by Islamic rules against displaying human images in a place of worship. The mosaics remained covered for 500 years before being partially exposed and restored by American archeologists in the 20th century. Currently, you can see small portions of them, such as this "Deesis" mosaic, which depicts a scene from Judgement Day, and is inlaid with what looks like gold. That's Jesus pictured above, by the way.
A view from the upper balcony. Note the worker on the scaffolding. Istanbul is the "2010 European Capital of Culture." Not sure what that means exactly, but I assume the restoration work going on now is at least partially related to that distinction and the influx of tourists and VIP visitors it will entail.
Ahhh, it's our friend the worker again. Safety First! He's only about 150 feet above an unforgiving marble floor...
Some interested visitors and their guide.
This fellow was also clearly impressed by the size of the place. The golden archway at the bottom-right is a mihrab, which serves to orient worshippers in the direction of Mecca. The mosaic at the top is a remnant from when this place was a church.
And not just there, i want the worlds you travel to be revealed..post haste!
Truth, not culture…give me shots of shitters that describe the community! Is there gum spat everwhere? is there dead chickens about, are the cops complete assclowns as they are here?…the real gooods! Get the pics of truth!
That’s the spirit! Barf and beggers!
yes, i await the truth.
It’s doing it again …turkish [wo]man.
But i want to see the truth of the places you are traveling…show me homeless and the disturbed! Those photos will portray the society. We can all open an art history book but we won’t receive truth through them…
Go hit the alleys that look frightening…the truth lies within…
ps. don’t go and get killed inthe alleys…cause then everyone will hate me…maybe find a ninja friend to go with ya.
February 6th, 2010 at 12:46 am
Okay. Seedy Underbelly of Istanbul, here we come!
I love it. Good memories… Go to a Turkish bath next. Do it. You know you want to be scrubbed down by a semi-naked Turkish [wo]man.
February 4th, 2010 at 10:41 pm
We do, we do want to be scrubbed. It’s on our agenda, don’t worry. What else should we see or do?
February 12th, 2010 at 11:26 am
We did the Turkish bath in Istanbul. It was very relaxing. My next post will be all about it!
awesome images, never been to Istanbul myself but it looks very nice :-))
all the best
You guys look so happy!
I’ve been creeping your page, making myself nice and jealous in my cubicle:)
February 4th, 2010 at 12:33 pm
Thanks Ash. Keep up the creeping. It’s nice to know someone is looking at this stuff. Hope CH is everything it can be.