Day 2 started out with a visit to Topkapi Palace, which was one of the major residences of the Ottoman sultans. It was easier to imagine people actually living here, in comparison to the other palaces I had visited.
Entering the inner court.
One of the libraries
The Harem Buildings. The sultan’s harem had their own private buildings and servants. No one else was allowed to enter.This courtyard was the courtyard of the Harem Eunuchs.
The Courtyard of the Queen Mother
The king’s bedroom
The prince’s room
The Archaeological Museum was nearby, so we headed there next. The museum is comprised of 4 buildings, each with a different theme (Egypt & Mesopotamia; Greek & Roman; Turkey; ceramics)
Throughout the museum there were art students drawing the sculptures. It was really neat to see.
One of my favourite bits of the museum was Alexander the Great’s tomb! The sculptures around it are based on his history, but he was never actually in the tomb.
Alexander the Great’s tomb. The sculptures are based on his history, but he was never actually in the tomb.
From there we headed to the Basilica Cistern, the largest of several hundred ancient cisterns beneath Istanbul. It was built in the 6th century. The pillars in the cistern all have different designs, so archaeologists figure the people used whatever pillars they had on hand. None of them were specifically built for this purpose. For example, there are two Medusa head pillars used: one with the head upside down (below), and one sideways.
By the time we came out of the cistern it was starting to get dark. Thankfully the city has lighted fountains to brighten up the night.
And so our day ended with the site that we would visit the next day: the blue mosque.