Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofya
We had a long day planned, and thankfully we cut it short. Somehow this one-day tour, with the top 5 things we "must see" in Istanbul turned into:
- seeing 2 of the most spectacular sites in the world (Topkapi Palace and the Aya Sofya Museum),
- a much-needed lunch,
- an "oops it's Friday prayer time" (when we went to the Blue Mosque),
- and an end-of-the-day, students dropping out from exhaustion (or stomach aches), let's go to the Grand Bazaar on our way back to the hotel kind-of-a-day.
So, we saw great things; we need to see much more; but we just got here and we'll get to these other great places over the next two weeks. And students are out exploring tonight as well - our hotel location is in the Sultan Ahmet area, very close to the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar.
Saturday our academic orientation begins with Dr. Itir Toksoz (NU alumna, PhD in political science). And we'll orient students to the transportation system - trams, trolleys, subways, buses, and of course water ferries - that is the best mode of transport in this city of 13 million!
Pictured are the door frame / opening to the Topkapi Palace plus the inside of the Aya Sofya (aka, Haggia Sophia) - former Cathedral, former Mosque, now museum.