Our first day in Istanbul was a feast for the eyes. To begin, we woke up at our AirBnB apartment, and almost fell over at the view. YOU GUYS, it was breathtaking! We had arrived at 3am the night before (i.e.: in the pitch dark) and had no idea what our windows would reveal in the morning! The minute we opened our eyes we were delighted. Our apartment was situated along the river, and had a perfect view of the Hagia Sofhia, the Blue Mosque, Galata Tower, and well, pretty much everything in Istanbul. We couldn't wait to get started:)
We began our walk with our trusty Rick Steve's book (never go to Europe without him!), and decided to start at the Hagia Sophia. The H.S. was constructed in 537AD, and was rather an architectural feat with the huge domes. It was first a church, then a mosque, and is now a museum. It is the pinkish looking building below, and is quite stunning. The inside, however was my favorite part, with it's paintings, and domes, and color!
We then went to the Blue Mosque, which is quite an impressive building. Both the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia are in the same vicinity, and there is a lovely park between the two where you can sit and drink them both in. We finished our sight seeing with at the Topkapi Palace, where the sultans lived for hundreds of years. It was very beautiful, and had a relaxing garden. I just kept waiting for Princess Jazmin and Rajah the tiger to pop out by the fountain:) We also did a lot of snacking on new foods…you can see me trying a local favorite, roasted chestnuts!
Like I mentioned before, Istanbul spans 2 continents, Europe and Asia. And every few minute's we'd say…"this looks so european" or "this looks so asian". It was funny how it truly did provide a perfect blend of both cultures! While we stayed on the European side for the most part, we did take a ferry to the Asian side to meet up with some friends for dinner that night. It was really interesting to learn more about Istanbul from locals, and encouraging to our faith to hear how God is moving in this metropolitan city!
Enjoy the pictures from our first day in this bustling, lively, and historical city!