On our second day in the Old City, we explored Topkapi Palace and the surrounding grounds. We could have spent all day in this gorgeous park – it was so green and lush and clean. One of the things we miss out on in Nairobi is beautiful, safe green spaces. We ate our morning baklava and did some people watching before walking up the hill to the Palace.
It’s always funny to reflect on the things you remember about a holiday. One of my clearest memories of this particular day was standing in line with Will to get our tickets, and him spotting a fellow tourist who he suspected to be a Mongolian street fighter. So then he told me some hilarious (and scary) stories from his time in UB, and shared a bit on the current relationship between Turkey and Mongolia. There is so much about this world of ours that I am yet to learn!
But back to the Palace. Topkapi Palace was home to the Ottoman sultans for over 400 years. It was constructed in 1459, survived an earthquake in 1509 and a fire in 1665 and in 1985 the Palace, along with a number of other historic sights in Istanbul, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are displays throughout the grounds of various historical items, however for the most part, we weren’t allowed to take photos. But the real reason I wanted to visit was the see the gorgeous ceramic tile work.
Our favourite section was the Baghdad Pavilion, which was used as a library. The ceiling was exquisite.
The palace is set up high above the water, with beautiful views of parts of the city. We asked a stranger to take our photo – we never have enough photos of us together! (P.S. Can you tell who was taking most of the photos today? The photos of me:Will was basically 1000:1!)
After exploring the gardens further, and saying a quick hello the police horses, we jumped on the light rail and headed to the Grand Bazaar. It’s one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world and was teeming with people. We felt the TV screens and funny lightening kind of dampened the historic effect a little. We’re collecting globes and so we wandered around to see if one could be found, but alas all we discovered was a dinky Made in China option that wasn’t so inspiring. It got really hot inside so we headed back to the train station, stopping for fresh orange juice on the way.
And then that evening, we headed to Nardis Jazz Club to hear an 84 year old Turkish trumpet player. The club was just around the corner from where we were staying in Galata and it was a definite holiday highlight.
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