Sketches from Istanbul
This city at the crossroads of Europe and Asia became the cultural capital of Europe 2010. So now every self-respecting traveler would have to go to Istanbul the Heart of Istanbul — Taksim For COGAT Istanbul — chto_to like a huge bustling market Kapali Charshi, where day and night full of life, for COGAT — a place of inspiration and sadness on the shores of the Bosphorus, for COGAT — unique historicocultural centre, the heir of Byzantium; but all admirers of Istanbul have one thing in common: they agree that this city is impossible to forget… The first thing that surprises in Istanbul is a huge metropolis, in which, unlike other such megacities, you do not feel your helplessness and insignificance. Comfortable here, even not knowing the language, to stroll along the main street, Istiklal Caddesi, to find a pretty decent and inexpensive restaurants with delicious Turkish cuisine, photo taken near the hotel where Agatha Christie wrote her famous “Murder on the Orient Express”. Thanks to the warm and bright atmosphere you can not leave the feeling that you have already been here. Perhaps it is not for nothing that Istanbul became a city of mass immigration of all Russian intellectuals after the 1917 revolution. And now you can see a lot of cafes in the Central part of the city, on Taksim, which preserved the atmosphere and interior of the tsarist era. Rumor has it that in one of these elite cafes often visited himself “father of the Turks” Ataturk. In General, Taksim is a magical center of attraction, here you can see everything from fashionable restaurants and clothing stores of world brands to the narrow streets where street musicians play and young people have fun. On one of these streets you may be lucky to get to the unusual bar “Leb_iderya” on the roof of the house, which offers an amazing view of the whole of Istanbul and, of course, the Bosphorus. The only drawback can be considered that to find a place in the bar even on a weekday is very difficult, so take care in advance of booking a table. It is in such narrow streets that you can learn your fate by drinking delicious Turkish coffee – and then you will be told fortunes on the coffee grounds. In Turkey, even the saying is: “With you — coffee, with us — divination.” Even if you do not believe in this kind of divination, the atmosphere of the fortunetelling salon is incomparable with anything, you should even just go to drink a Cup of fragrant Turkish coffee, which is brewed here perfectly. Another fun event here in the Central square takes place when the rain starts. Crowds of people begin to rush, trying to quickly hide under the roofs of buildings. At the same time as isod of the earth, rise the sellers of small transparent umbrellas. Since their price is quite earthly (about $ 2), after a few moments the whole street turns into a bright field of yellow, pink, blue, and sometimes red oilcloth umbrellas, which are surprisingly suited to the dozens of Turkish flags hung everywhere. Sultanahmet — the origins of history Two of the most famous buildings in Istanbul, which are all seen on posters and postcards — the Blue mosque of Sultan Ahmet (Sultanahmet) and Hagia Sophia (Hagia Sophia) — are on the same square. Here there is a special atmosphere of all historical epochs, harmoniously coexist millennial Egyptian obelisk, Byzantine column, the most majestic Orthodox Church and a beautiful Blue mosque. Another interesting fact is that the traditional fountain near the mosque was presented by the German Kaiser Wilhelm II to the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II. During his first visit to the city, Kaiser was so impressed with his hospitality that after returning home he personally developed the fountain project. All elements of the construction were made in Germany and sent to Istanbul by train. In 1898, during the second visit of the Kaiser to the city, the fountain has already taken its place in the square. This octagonal fountain was created in the neo-Byzantine style and decorated with Golden mosaics inside. On the inner side of the dome, supported by elegant columns, you can see the monogram of Sultan Abdulhamid II and the initials of Kaiser Wilhelm II. A special mood of the whole area is given by sellers of fragrant roasted chestnuts and, of course, flocks of pigeons, which you can feed by buying pieces of bread. About the beauty and grandeur of Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet mosque can write a lot, but really feel the spirit of their greatness can only see the temples firsthand. Perfectly preserved, magnetically attracting Christian mosaics of Hagia Sophia and Islamic tiles of the names of Allah have merged here. Do not forget to make a wish near the column of desires, it will come true! The blue mosque is considered one of the largest and, of course, the most beautiful mosques in the world. Its construction began when Sultan Ahmet was only 19 years old, and the name she received thanks to the ceramic patterns of the walls, which are made in the color “Turkuaz”, that is blue. Next to the majestic temples is the “underground Palace” (Yerebatan). It is a huge reservoir built by Justinian, it is a Palace with Byzantine columns, stucco decorations and carved arched vaults. This unique store supplied water to the Grand Palace and the Sultan’s Topkapi Palace, and the sculptures of Medusa, the lighting of the columns, the Shine of coins in the water, quiet mystical music — all this will give an incomparable mood. The real masterpiece of Istanbul were the fortresses and palaces of sultans and their nobles. Behind Hagia Sophia is Topkapi Palace. The Palace was built by order of the Sultan and remained the residence of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire for four hundred years, until Mahmoud II moved the center of the Empire on the shore of the Bosphorus, in another Palace, already built in a typical European style – Dolmabahce. In the Treasury of the Palace is one of the world’s largest collections of jewelry. It exhibits 4_килограммовый emerald and the famous “Diamond lijecnika” 86 carats! In the halls of the Museum there is a collection of candlesticks and chandeliers made of gold, hookahs, table sets made of silver and gold, music boxes made of ivory Indian work, as well as ceremonial robes of sultans and weapons decorated with precious stones. Here are stored both Christian and Muslim relics — a tin pan of Abraham, part of the skull and hand of John the Baptist, hair, arrows, one of the letters of the prophet Muhammad, the swords of his four caliphs, and even the staff, which Moses divided the sea into two parts. It also demonstrates a rare collection of porcelain, which occupies 3_e place in the world. Particular interest in visiting the Palace cause the chambers of the harem, amazing luxury and beauty. Here is the Sultan’s library, in the collection of which there were up to 24 thousand books and manuscripts. In 1924, with the establishment of the Republic, the Palace was declared a Museum, and now it is one of the most visited museums in Istanbul and one of the most unique museums in the world. By the way, for hundreds of years in a separate room Top Kappa Mullah continuously reads Suras from the Koran. If we talk about the historical part of Istanbul, it is impossible not to mention the palaces of Dolmabahce, Beylerbeyi, chiragan Palace (by the way, now it is one of the VIP’s “Kempinski”), Galata tower with a chic restaurant at the top, the maiden tower of Kyz Kulesi on the island, Suleymaniye mosque (where the tomb of our compatriot Roksolana), Fatih and, of course, the Church of St. Irina.