Unfortunately, the internet conked out at my hotel last night, so I wasn’t able to update then. I’m in a bit of a rush to go out and start my day now, so I have to make this post pretty brief. To make a long story short, I spent a good part of the day at the Topkapi Palace, where highlights included the harem, a large glass box full of huge emeralds (and some other jewels), and the Spoonmaker Diamond. Afterwards, I left the European (Thracian) side of Istanbul, and took a ferry over to to the Asian (Anatolian) side on a sort of pilgrimage to a restaurant about which I read an article in the New Yorker several years ago. I timed my return trip to coincide with sunset.
Without further ado, here are the pictures (click to enlarge):
Within the Topkapi Palace's outer fortified walls is this old Romanesque church.
No, this is not a teleporter. It's a fireplace in the harem.
The main courtyard of the harem, this was the realm of the eunuchs.
The light is filtered through a skylight with stone tracery onto this brilliant green wall.
Several layers of detail
I'm not sure why Mehmet the Conquerer didn't choose a more picturesque spot for his palace. This is in the inner court of the palace, back outside of the harem.
There's always a cool breeze under these arcades.
This passageway surrounds a building that houses some ancient Muslim relics, including Mohammed's sword.
The view from an overlook on the Palace grounds. Over towards the right, you can see the Galata Tower, and on the left, you can see the Suleymaniye.
From overlooks around this tea room, the Sultans had a view all the way up the Bosphorous, and out across the Sea of Marmara.
The individual buildings read like pavilions in a park. I always thought that I would build something like the Louvre for myself, but now I think the Sultans may have been onto something. I'll have to consider this.
This tower stands over an important meeting room. Around the other side of it is the unassuming entrance to the harem.
The owners of this house really need to take better care of it. It's all overgrown.
I got a good seat on the ferry going to Kadikoy. This is a view towards the Galata Tower that I climbed yesterday.
Kadikoy has a much more quaint fishing village feel to it. Up on the hill, there are narrow alleys with markets spilling out, or packed with tables for al fresco dining.
This was the first time I had seen a real fish market this whole trip. I know these sardines were fresh because they were still jumping around.
This is another type of fish that I saw on the end of the fishermen's lines. I don't know what it is.
Finally, I can easily eat the fresh fruit!
I ordered a sampling of vegetable dishes at Ciya Sofrasi, the famous restaurant that I had been excited to try. Clockwise from the top, there was a Kale dish with peppers, another dish with what looked like kale, but was called something else, a bean dish, and some bulgar pillows with tomato and basil. In the middle is yogurt. The bulgar was the best part.
My meat course: I think that I could best describe this as stuffed peppers, but that doesn't really do the trick.
A view back to where I ate. This was supposedly the best Turkish food around. I haven't had much Turkish food in my life, so I'm not a good judge, but it was pretty darn good food.
I'm at a loss for words on this one. This was the most popular attraction on the docks in Kadikoy.
A view from Kadikoy back towards Thracian Istanbul. To the left of the little lighthouse, you can just make out the Topkapi tower, the Hagia Sophia, and the Blue Mosque. To the right, you can barely see the Galata tower in the distance.
The sun setting over the Galata Tower. I had actually tried to plan this trip to get some good light on the shores, but I waited too long, so I caught the sunset instead.
The bounty from the Kadikoy market: a kilo of cherries, and one enormous peach.