Nuffnang Ads

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Istanbul, Part I

Inside the blue mosque
Allahuakbar!That's the only word that popped up from my mouth as I entered the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Really enchanted by the beauty, colourful and glimmering of this mosque. Definitely I adore to the people who built this mosque - their spirit, willingness, resilience and passion to achieve such a great masterpiece. Located near the Marmara sea, this mosque is not the first mosque built by the Ottomans after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The first mosque built by the Ottomans was the Fatih Mosque - yeah, after the name of its conqueror - Sultan Mehmed II Fatih (Sultan Muhammad II). Fatih/Fath means 'open' in Arabic. Oh, I'm not good in Arabic - but the pronounciation sounds something like that. Hagia Sophia, the Byzantine Great Cathedral had been converted into a mosque just after the fall of Constantinople. This post is just the beginning of my Turkey travelogue. I will explain more about the sultanate and its empire, their leaders, their growth and declination in the next few posts. Istanbul is the modern name of the city. I really like this city. It is an unique city. It is located near the Bosphorus strait, a meeting point of two seas; the Black sea and the Marmara sea.

On the northern part of the Bosphorus is European Istanbul, while the south part is Asian Istanbul. See? Why I say this city is an unique city. During the Byzantine era, this city was known as Constantinople, a name from the famous Eastern Roman Empire - Emperor Constantine I. This city had been the capital for this Eastern Roman Empire for hundred of years. Once Sultan Mehmed II occupied this city, he named it as 'Islambol' which means 'All Islam' or 'lots of Islam'. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk change the name to Istanbul when he took over the country and changed it to the nowadays modern Republic of Turkey. Though there are many mosques, the are also Christian churches as well as Jewish Synagogues. In fact, not all the churches had been converted into the mosque. During my visit, the Turkish government was restoring the Hagia Sophia into its original form - the Cathedral. At this moment, this place is only a museum but I am not sure in the future. Meanwhile, its neighbour the Blue Mosque is still a mosque where muslims can perform the solat. Of course I took the opportunity to pray here - and its feeling....Ahhh. I cannot tell you by words. Peace, tranquility, calm and I don't know. Until this day, Istanbul receives thousand of visitors per month (from my eye calculation). I believe that the Ataturk International airport has the same par with UK's Heathrow airport in term of the flight frequency. These visitors are not only from majority muslim country but also from every corner of the world. I visited Istanbul in the middle of June, so it was quite hot but a little bit chill at night. As it located near the sea, hence it is quite humid here relatively compared to Ankara. About Turkish people, some of them might look like Persian, some of them look like Greeks and some of them look like Eastern Europe with typical blonde hair. Yupp, Turkey was also a place for Trojans, Hitties, Greeks, ancient Armenians, Persians and many more. Of course, I will come again to Istanbul.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque a.k.a Blue Mosque from the rooftop of my hotel

Ottoman helmet for sale - symbol of the great empire

Marmara sea: witness to the glory and sorrow of Istanbul

Sultan Suleymaniye Mosque (Sulaiman)

Janissary in modern Turkey? Pic. taken in the Topkapi Palace garden.

No comments:

Post a Comment