Karakoy tram stop, Istanbul
The Golden Horn, Istanbul
Outside the New Mosque (Yeni Cami), Istanbul
Inside the Blue Mosque, Istanbul
View of the Blue Mosque from Aya Sofya, Istanbul
Inside the Kariye Museum (Chora Museum), Istanbul
Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
On the streets of Kars
At the ruins of Ani, Kars
Rose Valley, Cappadocia
On a hot-air balloon, Cappadocia
Aya Sofya, Istanbul
Sumela Monastery, Trabzon
Church of St Gregory (Abughamrentz), Ani, Kars
Inside the Church of St Gregory (Tigran Honentz), Ani, Kars
Galata bridge, Istanbul
I am finding it difficult to describe my trip to Turkey. From the touristic point of view, its charms are obvious - spectacular geography, stunning Byzantine monuments, a rich and varied cuisine, Armenian ruins in the east, Greek and Roman ruins in the west, and Ottoman and Seljuk architecture scattered throughout the country. And then there's modern Istanbul - chic cafes and art galleries hidden in its elegant, winding streets, a city perched by the sea, laidback and dynamic at the same time.
Piecing together everything I saw together is another story - the history buff in me wants to understand everything in chronological order, actions and consequences, the clash of invading cultures and their influence on each other. Turkey is such a complex confluence of cultures and even its recent history (to say nothing of its modern politics) is difficult to grasp. I was glad I didn't cram too much in two weeks - I needed lots of room to digest what I saw.
More posts to come, on some of the places I visited, I promise.