aya sofya & blue mosque

...continued from previous entry.

After freshening up, we headed out to the see the two most important landmarks in Istanbul: Aya Sofya (a.k.a. Hagia Sofia) and Sultanahmet Mosque (a.k.a. Blue Mosque). Both of them were hardly five minutes walk from our hotel. Really glad that I picked the right place to stay!

We went to Aya Sofya first because it was already near to its closing time. What is Aya Sofya? It is a historic building that was constructed as a church, then converted into a mosque during Ottoman Empire, then later became a museum until now. The mix of both Christian and Islamic architecture could clearly be seen - from the Quran verses at the mihrab to the image of Jesus Christ on the ceiling.

Aya Sofya, as seen from a garden across the street.

Plenty of people wanting to enter.

Inside the building, it was one big hall.

One of many gorgeous chandeliers dangling around.

It used to be a place of worship for both religions.

Amazing architecture.

Now let’s walk up to the upper floor.

A long hallway upstairs.

A full view from the balcony. The “floating flowers” were the chandeliers.

Golden mosaic panels. Flash photos weren’t allowed as the light would affect the mosaics.

Beautiful arches.

A view of nearby area from a window.

Pieces of the building excavated by archeologists. They stopped the excavation work after realising that it was disrupting the building’s foundation.

A former wudhu’ (ablution) area.

From Aya Sofya, we walked across the street towards the garden and headed to Sultanahmet Mosque. There were many people hanging around at the garden, watching the fountain or simply waiting to see the nearby buildings aglow at sunset.

Plenty of benches for visitors to sit, relax and admire the view.

The ever beautiful Blue Mosque at dusk.

Closed at prayer times.

Magnificent view of the prayer hall.

The signature dome from the inside.

Pillars and arches.

Wudhu’ area outside of the mosque, behind the pillars.

From the mosque, we continued walking around the nearby Sultanahmet Square. Saw the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, but it was closed at 5pm, so no luck there. So we went to check out the long rows of shops alongside the tram track and stopped for dinner.

One of several obelisks at Sultanahmet Square.

Smartly dressed peddlers selling cut watermelons...

...and grilled corns.

Endless rows of shops on both sides of the track. Can you see the tram coming?

Passed by a restaurant with a lady making bread at its entrance.

Flower shops like this felt truly European to me.

Had kebab for dinner. The one on the top drenched in tomato sauce was “Iskandar kebab”, a signature Turkish kebab.

Returned to the hotel. Day 1 - Done!


Hjh Noralenna Abbas said...

Hi dieya,
Right time to visit Istanbul,aunty ke Istanbul once upon a time but it was during November..So cold and gloomy. Nanti InsyaAllah ada rezki nak pergi sekali lagi lah.

~jeet~ said...

still did not see the 'we' though...hehehe..

they sellers on street memang semuanya kemas2 camtu ek? way to promote the tourism, image bagus ;)

dieya said...

aunty nora,
middle of the year is a good time to go. when i was there it was end of spring entering summer. weather was pleasant. bunga pun still kembang lagi. very nice.

keeping the we to me.. hehehe!
hmm.. come to think abt it, kat sana diorg mmg suka pakai smart2. and their good looks are bonuses ;-)

JaJa'Z said...

bila dieya cakap pasal 'hagia sofea'..akak teringat pasal salah satu episod dalam CSI:NY masa ada orang misteri dok ganggu MAC masa tu...salah satu barang misteri ialah serpihan batu dr Hagia Sofea..hehhehe

macam kagum dan pelik plak bila tgk blah dalam tu...islam dan kristian bersatu dalam satu bangunan..tapi pasal architecture bangunan kat sana memang tak bleh lawan ek..lawa giler...

ehem2..tak mengayat ke abang or pakcik2 yang tengah berjual tu? smart kemain dressingnya....kalau kat maaysia pun macam tu rasa2 macam mana ek? hehhehe

Nazimah said...

Wow, bestnyer jenjalan jauh ke turki. Aku pon dah pegithe blue mosque tp kat taman tamadun islam aje, T_T...

Mamamya said...

kat dalam aya sofya ni lah kmdo b'gambar kat depan nama 'ali'...bangga sungguh nama dia ada kat situ...:D

dyanna said...

nice pictures.
I always find that places like these where muslim and christian architecture 'merges' together gives a 'mystic' vibe and sometimes eerie. Right now, the two stands together side by side in a quiet hall, but back in the days, I bet there was a lot of tension and heated discussions. IDK. History is such an interesting subject.

eB ezrin said...

subhanallah, cantiknyer :)
kalo la rezki...

dieya said...

k jaja,
i remember that episode! masa tu mac dpt serpihan batu dr byk tempat seluruh dunia kan? then last2 mac ended up kat kg dia (chicago, i think). hahaha nampak sgt kita gila CSI.. or gila mac taylor :-D
yeah, dlm bangunan tu sgt impressive. cantik. org2 yg suka admire architecture mmg kena pegi istanbul.
hahaha.. kalau ayat karang kena bawa balik pulak.. kan dah susah.. angkut ngan tembikai2 sekali :-D
kalau kat mesia suruh abg2 ramli burger berniaga pakai baju melayu ngan samping!

best apa kat tmn tamadun islam, rasa mcm gergasi gi blue mosque kan. dun worry, tak lama lagi sure sampai kat yg bebetul punya :-)

k lieya,
hahaha kalu tau dieya gi carikan nama "lieya" pulak for u. ehh chup, "ali" kalu tunggang terbalikkan jadi "lia", so kiranya ur name was there too.. silalah tumpang bangga :-D

thanks babe! that's a huge complement for my red baby, coming from a DSLR photo buff like yourself :-)
i would think so too. maybe that was the reason it's neither a church nor a mosque, just a museum. so we can all reflect on it.

mmg cantik sgt! inshaAllah tak lama lagi tu.. eB pulak pegi yea :-)

lucky said...

lovely pictures dieya! feels like im watching Jejak Rasul :D cant wait to read the rest of your turkey posts :D

dieya said...

thanks! wow, that's HUGE compliment *blush*
there will be more soon. sorry if they're a bit later than always, thanks for waiting!

MyaAthirah said...

Wah Kaklong snyap je rupanya sibuk bjalan lagi eyh. Jeles2!

lawanya tmpat nie. =)

JaJa'Z said...

Ya betul!!! episod yang tu lah..hehhe nampak sangat kita hantu MAc Taylor..tapi akak dah chop dulu dah MAc Taylor tu..kalau dieya nak..bleh amik Adam..heheh

Maya Marisa said...

waweeeee...somebody is backkkkkk!!!
cepat finish up ur entry. gosh! wendu nyer kat istanbul. u make me wanna go there again la dear.

Messy Mummy said...

Sedap mata memandang abang2 yang segak itu. :p

Yang penting, gambar menarik.. I like!
kretip betul architect mereka yer... cantik sungguh! i extra like the 'floating flowers'. AAAAaaaamaziingggg!

Next please....:D

Syazwan said...


dieya said...

jgn laa jeles, u had a great time as an exchange student dikelilingi suku sakat rain apa :-p
it's a lovely place. u should go too!

k jaja,
takpe2.. amik laa mac taylor tu, dieya sedekah.. i'll take don flack :-D

me is back yo! u so should go again. lovely place.
sikit2 ya entry nyer.. ada bz juga di sini..

kan? kan? kan? terus rasa nak makan tembikai :-D
owh the floating flowers were gorgeous!
next one? sabar ya.. sedang diusahakan..

your turn to go next mr. pilot!

wahida said...

seni ukiran yg sgt cantik!!


Sha@Mama Tina said...

Dieya ..allahuakbar..cantik nya kat dalam dia..wordless to comment..how i wish one day rezeki Allah will bring me there!

dieya said...

k wahida,
mmg cantik sangat! nnt k wahida pegi gak k :-)

k sha,
inshaAllah tak lama lagi k sha sampai laa sana :-)

PatinPasta said...

The museum looks amazing tau! Selalunya tak buleh amik gambo dalam masjid or church, untung dah convert into a museum. Dapat tumpang tengok its beauty :)

ps: Is it me or ada orang tu senyum ayu sikit? :D

dieya said...

yeah, a very intriguing site it is.
ehhh.. org ni mmg sentiasa ayu sepanjang masa :-D

Anonymous said...

Salam aleikum sister,
masallah, you have nice blog, I love your photos from Istanbul. Remind me of the place I love most in the world )) thank you very much

dieya said...

Wa alaikum salam,
Thank you for the compliments. Istanbul is indeed a very beautiful place.
Do drop by again :-)