Istanbul is the European capital of culture. This is an understatement. God, Istanbul is the world.
My fascination of Istanbul started when my friend, who was a Turk, showed me beautiful photos of Istanbul from his Facebook album. Then, I read a lifestyle magazine that featured a Robin Padilla’s trip to Istanbul. The photos were again, outstanding, and I felt Robin did really enjoy his whole trip. I was completely mesmerized and from that day on, Istanbul was a dream place to see.
God, Istanbul is the world, just saying it again. It is way far richer when it comes to culture, and everyone was so accommodating. In the streets, people were offering us their warmest smiles. They loved to guess the origins of people – my friends, two can be Koreans, one can be Chinese, and one can be Arab – so it was funny – sometimes we were Malaysians, Thais; but most of the time – we were Japanese. They called us “Japon! Japon!”
It is a royal palace. Everyone seems to talk and walk like the empress and emperor. The city is a display of pride and royalty. I loved the combination of everything Ottoman, everything Byzantine and everything Constantinople; everything Asian and yet everything European. I was witnessing a live showcase of the three famous empires in the history of mankind.
I was speechless many times. The showcase of culture was beyond compare and inexpressible in natural human terms. The Panorama 1453 museum was whew! I was totally blown away, like my mouth was unconsciously open while entering the 3D grand painting of the conquest of Constantinople. The dome painting was probably as huge as Smart-Araneta Coliseum, and it was so real that I thought I was in a time machine. Another surprised, the museum was underground, so one cannot tell that a spectacular art creation was happening down there.
The Blue Mosque, of course was another superb display of the Ottomans. The interior was a work of a genius, or a super-natural genius. Same feelings I thought with Byzantine’s Hagia Sofia, sunken Basilica, and the Topkapi Palace. To my surprised, these great contributions to human history of civilization were just in “one square” or district. As if, the Sultan Ahmet Square was the center of the universe, philosophers, artisans, geniuses, probably angels and demons as well, all gathered by god in one place.
And for more enchantment, just a few blocks away was the famous Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets and the most visited monument in the world. Next to it was the Bosphorous, a strait connecting the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. It was not summer, so the weather was cold, in fact, very cold, but still we managed to enjoy the Bosphorous cruise, sightseeing mansions and forts of Istanbul.
Obviously, Istanbul is the cradle of everything possible, and I wish to live in Istanbul, forever. #
Me at the Blue Mosque
Me at the Grand Bazaar (Photo credit to my friend, Tani)
Istanbul’s usual scenery. That is not the Blue Mosque. All mosques in Istanbul look similar. In the photo are Bosphorous’ boat restaurants
The Hagia Sofia is a former Orthodox cathedral, a former Roman Catholic cathedral, a former mosque; now a museum
Jump shot with friends at the cobbled-street of Istanbul
The cobbled-streets of Istanbul
Sexy “aswangs” is Istanbul. LOL
I LOVE ISTANBUL merchandise
Finest interior. The hanging lanterns are lovely. I got goosebumps inside.
On our way to the shocking Panorama 1453 Museum. Don’t be fooled by that tiny building not afar.
Inside the Panorama 1453 Museum
At the Grand Bazaar
The sunken Basilica. Medusa’s giant head is one of the pillars of this Basilica.
Inside Topkapi Palace, where walls, domes, plates, candles are decorated with golds. Topkapi is the largest palace in the world. One of the biggest diamonds in the world is also in this palace. Prophet Muhammad’s beard (as claimed) can also be seen inside.
Heading to the market for dinner. In Istanbul, it is rare to find popular fast food chains.
Istanbul by night (Photo credit to my friend, Tani)
Me at the Boshorous cruise
Watch out for my upcoming entries on the other cities in Turkey.