Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

We started reciting the lyrics to the They Might Be Giants song on the way to the airport...

"Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlight night"

...and didn't really stop until we returned to Vienna.
Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya):  First a Christian Church, then a mosque, and now a museum.

Interior of Hagia Sophia
Benches and faucets for cleansing of the feet, lower legs, hands & arms to the elbows, face, nose, and ears.  This cleansing (physical & spiritual), referred to as ablution, is required of Muslims prior to prayer.  The area pictured here is at the Suleyman the Magnificent Mosque.
Doughy-ball goodness topped with crushed pistachio nuts.
Followed by a glass of tea (cay -- pronounced "chai").  Everyone seems to drink the stuff -- it might as well be the national beverage.
"Every gal in Constantinople
Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
So if you've a date in Constantinople
She'll be waiting in Istanbul"
She was, in fact, waiting in Istanbul.  And a helluva cook, too.
Nargile, otherwise known as a water pipe, hookah, or shisha.
Cruise along the Bosphorus Strait
Black Sea.  That way to Russia!
"Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
Why they changed it I can't say
People just liked it better that way"
Cappadocia ('land of wild horses'):  an almost lunar landscape where caves and churches were carved into lava rock as refuge for Christians from the 4th to the 11th centuries.
Rock chimneys populating the landscape.
See the camel-shaped rock formation in the background?
I think this might be a kitchen.
A tunnel in The Underground City:  Early Christians weren't 6"3' tall.
Many of the caves in the area have been converted to hotels.  This was the bedroom in our hotel room.
Early morning balloon ride.  There must have been 30 or so balloons out there.
"So, take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Turks"
View of Istanbul from Topkapi Palace
The Harem housed the sultan, his mother, up to four wives, and several hundred concubines...
...I think one wife is enough.
Turkish Coffee?  Absolutely!

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