Monday, July 04, 2011

SULEYMANIYE MOSQUE & THE BASILICA CISTERN-ISTANBUL

This picture is not from me of course, it's only to show the whole mosque.

After our arrival in Istanbul we didn't loose any time and visited the Suleymaniye Mosque. This mosque is the second largest but by far the finest and most magnificiant of the imperial mosque complexes in the city. Suleymaniye Mosque is an architectural masterpiece. It dates from 1590. You can read everything about it in the above link.

There were no guided visits and no tourists at all, because the mosque is being renovated completely and you can't see everything. But what we saw was beautiful enough to imagine the rest.

Here are bassins and running water to wash the feet before entering the mosque

From the outside. As you can see there are metal supports to keep the colons straight.

The inside made me speachless ! It was another world

Gorgeous ceiling decorations and the beautiful cristal lustre

in a corner the prayer carpets were stacked. There were not many people in there so we had enough time (and space) to walk around.

When we left the mosque it started to rain ! Buckets of water were falling down and although we seeked refuge under a thick tree, we became wet. Fortunately the shower didn't last long and we quickly crossed the street and entered the Basilica Cistern.

The Basilica Cistern (Underground Cistern) was built in 532, probably as an enlargement of an earlier cistern. It was used as a reservoir for water storage for the Great Palace and other buildings. During the Ottoman Period, the water was used for Topkapi Palace and watering the gardens of it.

The interior of Underground Cistern is excellent. It is 138 m, 452 ft long by 65m, 213 ft wide. There are 336 columns in the cistern in 12 rows.

At the entrance

A snack and souvenir shop

and we still wet fitting in this special atmosphere. There were water running between the colons and fat fishes swimming in it, fed by the tourists of course.

It was a magical world

Two columns reuse blocks were carved with the visage of Medusa. A legend says that Medusa, with her hair of snakes, could turn anyone who looked at her into stone. I looked and even dared to take pictures, and I am still not a stone. Probably I am not normal. They were terrifying not really a decoration for your house entrance.

Doesn't it look magical ?

Between 1985-1988, the Municipality of Istanbul cleaned and restored it thoroughly and built a wooden walkway between the columns. In addition to that there are special effects presented by a light and sound show.

Because of its magic atmosphere and great acoustics, this cistern is now hosting many Classical Music Concerts.

The cistern was also used as a location for the 1963 James Bond film "From Russia with Love".

More participantshere

12 comments:

EG Wow said...

It's wonderful that these national treasures are being renovated for us to enjoy today!

Sylvia K said...

What a gorgeous, incredible place, Gattina! Your photos are superb as always and the next best thing to visiting there myself! So much wonderful history! Hope you have a great week!

Sylvia

Tes said...

Such a beautiful structure. The architecture is simply gorgeous. The lines are intricate. You are so fortunate to enjoy such a place, Gattina! Thank you for sharing! :)

Linens and Royals said...

What a magic place to visit, I am lucky to be able to see it through your eyes.

Lifecruiser Travel Blog said...

What a fabulous architecture!!!! REally fantastic that human beings has built that beautiful building... Truly amazing.

Maribeth said...

Amazing, isn't it! This makes me want to return to Turkey on another trip!

jabblog said...

Extraordinarily beautiful. The domed ceilings are magnificent.

Gracie said...

Magnificent! Stunning place and beautiful photos. Thanks.

Mar said...

Fantastic shots of a wonderful place!! makes me want to go there again...!!

Loree said...

Fascinating. That cistern looks like a magical place and the mosque it arcitecturally perfect.

Kay L. Davies said...

Amazing places, and wonderful photos, my friend. You certainly seem to have seen, and photographed, all the best Istanbul had to offer! I'm impressed.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Haddock said...

Wow.... 1590...thats a long time.
And it is really huge.
There must be a lot of history attached to it.

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels)/Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against other European countries.

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