Am I in Italy or somewhere in Greece?
The Greco-Roman architecture may suggest so, but I’m still here in Turkey.
Ephesus is an ancient Greek city considered as one of the great cities of the Greeks in Asia Minor. The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is found here alongside other significant archaeological ruins and artifacts. It is estimated that 15 % of the city has been excavated. Ephesus was once a flourishing city which was once home to about 60,000 people, I reckon that the city must have been massive.
I mentioned last post that there was a terrible snowstorm that blanketed Istanbul in heavy snow. It was my first time to see snow and ironically, I experienced it in a place I never expected. I did not see snow in Europe when I visited even though it was still winter.
When my friend went back to her university, I transferred to a hostel located near Karakoy. The location gave me closer access to Istiklal Avenue and the alleys close to Galata. Despite this perk, I only managed to take a stroll in this area once. Dubbed as the “Paris of the East”, Istiklal Avenue is home to many shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. One can also take the tram here that will go all the way to Taksim Square though the distance can be covered by foot in 20 minutes (depends on your pace).
While planning for my Istanbul itinerary, the first destination I had in mind was the Hagia Sophia. Ever since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to see it. I remembered being interested in history back then. I loved reading about conquests, monarchy and wars. However, I have found most customs and political decisions back then to be questionable. While facts and dates may be a bit blurry from my memory, my interest in history has never wavered.
It was the opportunity to see the mosaics that I was looking forward to. True enough, it didn’t disappoint. It was remarkable seeing them.
Topkapi Palace is one of the most visited sites in Istanbul. I know I’ve been using the word “grandeur” a lot but I can’t help it. I often wonder why there was such a need for past rulers to outdo one another in terms of riches. Although these places are pleasing to one’s eye, I often cringe when thinking about their origin and history. Mankind’s past is marred with unfortunate memories of war, slavery and struggles. Yes, palaces are mostly beautiful but how many people struggled just so these few, privileged individuals can indulge?
Ah, the glorious crowds…one can consider the Spice Bazaar to be a tourist trap because of how popular it is. However, a visit to the market is a must when you’re in Istanbul. Despite the crowds, I was enthralled with all the products I saw. Stalls that sell tea, nuts, spices, coffee and Turkish sweets abound the area. It was heaven as I smell the sharp fragrance of the spices, more especially when I stumbled upon some good quality tea.