Turkey and the Old City

I visited the old part of the city today with a very knowledgeable guide. We went to Topkapi Palace first which was fascinating, it was one home to 25 of the country's Sultans and their families. The famous spoon maker diamond and the largest collection of emeralds were on show, plus some of the holy relics of Islam.

It's worth spending a few hours walking around the palace and gardens and going early is a must as there are thousands of visitors everyday. Next was the Aya Sophia, originally a church for 1000 years which then became a mosque when the Ottomans took power, and then a museum under Ataturk. They've removed plaster work which shows mosaics of Jesus and Mary dating 1000 years old. After this we visited an underground cistern, the Hippodome and the Blue Mosque. It's definitely worth while doing these sights on a tour as you avoid the queue.

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Written by Sarah Weaver at 10:00

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