I’m back from my vacation to Istanbul, and it has been nothing short of AMAZING! I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.
Unfortunately my trip to Turkey was marred by the volcano ash. Here you can see a display of all flights out of Munich being cancelled, including mine to Antalya, Turkey, which was supposed to be my first destination prior to going to Istanbul. Oh well, I hope to return there some day!
My Dad helped reschedule my ticket and all went pretty smoothly after a night in Munich
I spent the first day in Istanbul myself, during which I took the most pictures. One of my favorite things to photograph in Istanbul were the mosques. The architecture and intricacy of all the detail is amazing
I especially like the lamps they use inside
Most of the detail that you can see is all tiling
This is one of my personal favorite images. I’m not a landscape photographer by any means but I do like having birds in flight against architecture
The Basilica Cistern, an underground marvel that holds water
A visit to Istanbul would not be complete without visiting the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar. I don’t recommend buying any trinkets there (mostly mass-produced, cheap quality), but if you do want to get some Iranian saffron or turkish delight, by all means check it out!
We visited two palaces – both the Dolmabahce Palace and Topkapi Palace. Topkapi is more well-known because it features Ottoman Empire style architecture. My parents really liked Dolmabahce Palace – it’s much newer and features some of the most resplendent neo-classical and rococo architecture I’ve seen in my life. I’m really not kidding when I say that Dolmabahce Palace is probably even more opulent than the Buckingham Palace and rivals Versailles. The Ceremonial Hall has a crystal chandelier that weighs over 4 tons. Unfortunately we were not allowed to photograph the palace, but you can see for yourself at its wikipedia entry, thus I leave you with a random photo of me and my outlook on life instead – this is what I call “Open door, endless possibilities”
This is a prince’s living room in the Topkapi Palace. Topkapi Palace had burned down once and most of the tiling is from the 19th century, but the ceiling is original from the 15th century
Next up – the magnificence that is the Hagia Sophia. Formerly a Byzantine Christian church, then turned a mosque, then turned into a national museum, the dome of this amazing cathedral is 56m from the ground. The Christian mosaics that were once plastered over when the Hagia Sophia was converted to a mosque were painstakingly restored by archaeologists. For me, this building was truly the highlight of my trip as it most evidently showcases the collision of multiple religions in this city
Then we visited The Blue Mosque – Sultanahmet Camii – the largest mosque in Istanbul
Istanbul at night is not the photogenic – most of the river banks are dark or dotted by neon signs of restaurants, but they do light up all the major historical buildings so I took this picture of a mosque with an intentional blur
We also spent one day on the largest of the Princes’ Islands – Buyukada. The best way to see the island if you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to bike all day is to take an hour-long horse-drawn carriage ride
(the driver won’t say much since most of them don’t speak English)
A look out from the ferry to another of the Princes Islands
Of course, a visit to Turkey would not be complete if I don’t tell you about the food! The food was definitely really flavorful in Turkey. After having suffered through over-cooked / bland / expensive food in Greece two years I was a little hesitant about Turkish food since it was so close to Greece, but the food did not disappoint here, and it was largely affordable
Row 1: Turkish tea, shish kebab, spicy grilled chicken
Row 2: Fresh fish, a cat staring at my dad’s meal, meze (their cold platters, mostly yogurt and other marinated veggies and fish)
Row 3: Lamb chops, grilled sea bass, cold appetizer fish
Shang Chen Photography has rebranded to Saavedra Photography
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