A Mosque, a Church and a Museum: All in one!

So May 19 was off for the CAP team just as it was for the rest of Turkey to commemorate Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) the founder of the Republic of Turkey, and a date regarded as the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence.

After a quick tour of the spice bazaar, our next stop was the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Popularly known as the blue mosque). One of those buildings where we could just marvel at the architecture. However, while the mosque was impressive for its beauty, the history of the building across the road was even more impressive.

The Hagia Sophia, built over 1400 years ago, is a building that puts the complete history of Turkish evolution into one. Built as a church to support Christianity over the pagans, converted to a mosque to show the 600 year Islamic rule and currently converted to a museum to represent the secularism in the country. One of the most fascinating bits was how there was the name of God and the Prophet Mohammed of Islam written on the either sides of the main wall, with a picture virgin Mary and Jesus Christ in between them!

We ended the day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world.

A mixture of architecture, religion, culture, history and a heavily bargain-able shopping spree to top it all… Perfect.

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The Basilica Cistern originally used to store water near the Hagia Sophia

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Inside the Blue Mosque

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The Hagia Sophia interior with Islamic Scriptures and Virgin Mary in the center

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Group lunch in front of the Sophia Hagia

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