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20 thoughts on “Istanbul and Legacies of the Byzantine Empire”

    1. Thanks for the kind words! Istanbul is indeed a treasure trove, somewhat chaotic though 🙂 I only covered a small part of it, yet Istanbul still mesmerized me.

  1. This brings back good memories from my travel to the city back in 2013. I really loved Istanbul, for its history, its geography (it was so cool to take the ferry from the European side to the Asian side), its architecture, and its fluffy street cats! For some reason, I didn’t enjoy the food as much as I would love to. But maybe I went to the wrong places.

    1. Now you can travel between the two sides by metro in less than 10 minutes. They dug through the straitt. Quite amazing 😀
      I thought I was the only person who didn’t enjoy the food scene in Istanbul, especially around the old town. The taste was so-so, but the service truly baffled me. They even charged 18% service fee on top of tax 🙂 Food vendor also tried to scam me, giving me less stuff than I had ordered. The Asian side was nicer, but I got a mild food poisoning. It was quite strange, because I got no issue in other towns.

    1. Definitely 🙂 I’ve heard that it has like 18 floors. I had the chance to visit a smaller underground town (forgot the name). It was impressive, with storage room, stone door, ventilation and even communication system. I think not only Derinkuyu, but the whole Cappadocia has a lot of hidden architectures. There are Christian churches hewn into stones, and only accessible by steep stairs.

      1. Derinkyu is cool because it wasn’t said to be religious based and most likely had to do with a time humans were being barraged by highly damaging solar flares which is why in the US, there’s several Native American areas with massive communities built into rock faces and caves. It was the only protection at the time.

      2. That makes sense! I’ve wondered why they had to dig so deep into the ground. If they wanted to hide from invaders, they would need an expansive network of tunnels, with maybe 3-4 levels. But if they want to avoid the solar flares, the deeper the better. Thanks for letting me know 🙂 I’ve never thought about this function.

  2. I so enjoyed revisiting Istanbul through your wonderful post. Once again I was down in the Basilica Cistern, and inside Hagia Sophia. I know you confined this post to Byzantine architecture, but I will say I much preferred the Blue Mosque to Hagia Sophia. We didn’t go inside Galata Tower, but we were lucky enough to see Chora Church which was quite wonderful.

    1. Thanks, Alison! Indeed, the Blue Mosque has a different vibe. Somewhat brighter and definitely more flowery 🙂 The central courtyard is also photogenic. Even though I enjoy the view from the top of the Galata Tower, I would exchange it for a visit to the Chora Church. I wonder what it look like after the renovation. Hopefully, they don’t cover all the mosaics with white cloths.

  3. I enjoyed reading your post on the Byzantine monuments of Istanbul. It’s a good approach to take with a city of such complex history and intricate legacies. Sort of like piecing together a puzzle of its various eras. Your photos are superb. It seems that whenever one finds oneself in Istanbul there’s no lack of landmarks that are inaccessible due to restoration projects. In our case, we couldn’t get in Galata Tower and Hagia Irene. I do like the refurbished look of the Basilica Cistern, it looks even more atmospheric than before. Not sure about the jellyfish though.

    1. The exhibition is about water. So they put jellyfish there 🙂 But overall, it’s pretty confusing. The only installation that I like is the shadow of Medusa.

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Byzantine Istanbul
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