04
Jan2014
0

Istanbul, we were fascinated to learn, is both part of European and Asian continents. The city spans across the Bosphorus strait which separates the 2 continents. How cool!

During the time of the Ottoman Empire, dozens of palaces were built by Sultans and other richy poos all along the waterway banks. Our friends recommended we go on a cruise to see them and since the weather was so nice, we did. Looking back on the city, I loved all the minarets of the mosques!

Istanbul - Bosphorus cruise

Istanbul - Bosphorus cruise

The palaces along the banks are just excessive but during the peak of the Ottoman era. Huge buildings, though only half of them were actually occupied. Some of them have their roofs caved in and no windows, like the palace on the left. The one on the right seems to be maintained, but empty of furnishings. A time gone past.

Istanbul - Bosphorus cruise

Istanbul - Bosphorus cruise Istanbul - Bosphorus cruise

Istanbul - Bosphorus cruise

This majestic fort is Rumeli Husari, built by Mehmet the Conquerer in only 4 months in 1452 in preparation for his planned siege of Constantinople. There also used to be a fortress on the opposite side of the strait, so Mehmet controlled all the traffic going through. Mehmet became the first Ottoman Sultan of the Ottoman Empire in 1453 after overthrowing the last Byzantine Emperor.

Istanbul - Bosphorus cruise

This palace is in a grassy, shady delta, which the Ottoman elite thought just perfect for picnics. Foreign residents would often join them. If the weather was good, the sultan joined the party – and did so in style. Sultan Abdul Mecit’s version of a picnic blanket was the rococo Kucuksu Kasri below constructed from 1856 to 1857. Excessive.

Istanbul - Bosphorus cruise

The cruise was beautiful, the day warm and palaces amazing.

Istanbul - Bosphorus cruise

Istanbul is a stunning city, and we saw no upsets or difficulties like they show on the news. We met wonderful people, enjoyed lovely weather, learnt fascinating histories and saw splendid sights.¬†They all know New Zealanders and Australians too because of all the Gallipoli tours over the years (They all know ‘Kia ora’ – So cool!)

Istanbul - Bosphorus cruise

Istanbul was a perfect finish to our 2 week trip around Europe with Rob’s family. Let’s do it again sometime!

Next though, we were off to our home country, New Zealand.

Until next time…

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