Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Last days in Turkey

We have returned to Jerusalem! It's back to classes and hanging out in the city. We flew overnight and got back past 5:00 in the morning on Sunday.

Here's the sites from the last two days of our vacation within a vacation:

Sardis

We saw an ancient pagan temple:



An ancient synagogue:


And an ancient gymnasium:


Those were our last ruins of the trip! Then we headed to Bursa, which is the fourth biggest city in Turkey. We went to the Grand Mosque there, and then the Silk Bazaar. More shopping :) Bursa is famous for silk and other textiles. I added a bit to my growing scarf collection.

The next day, our last in Turkey, was mostly spent driving back to Istanbul. On the way back we stopped at Nicaea, where the Nicene Creed was written. There are no remains of the palace where it was written, but we went to the spot where it happened.

Back in the beautiful city of Istanbul, we finally got to go inside the Hagia Sophia, which I would definitely consider to be one of the most amazing places in the entire world. Here's a picture of the outside, which I actually took on our first day in Turkey. I obviously wouldn't repeat outfits that soon :)


The original Hagia Sophia was built by Emperor Constantine in 360. The current building was built by Emperor Justinian starting in 532. That's pretty old. More than 500 years older than Notre Dame, for example. The Hagia Sophia was the largest Christian church for 1,000 years. These pictures don't really do it justice.


Notice that combination of the Mary and Jesus mosaic in the dome with the big Arabic calligraphy. After the Hagia Sophia was a church for 1500 years, it became a mosque after the Muslim conquest. The Muslims covered up the Christian mosaics, but didn't get rid of them. When the Hagia Sophia was converted from a mosque into a museum in the 1920s, they uncovered the mosaics. Here's a close-up of the main one. I think it's really cool!


Look, I was there too!


We had a little more free time in the Grand Bazaar (just enough to buy awesome Turkish shoes), and had dinner at a restaurant before driving to the airport and heading back to Israel. At the restaurant they served fish- whole fish. With heads, eyeballs, scales, and fins. Obviously that did not happen for me. I ate a lot of bread in Turkey.

If you can't tell from the pictures, this was a great trip!!! I'm planning on eventually writing a post with some more random things and pictures from Turkey, so that's coming. Yesterday we went to Jericho, today we saw Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Every day is filled with adventures! And homework, unfortunately.




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