Byzantium. Constantinople. Istanbul. Welcome to the most envied spot on this planet for over two millennia.
A place that has been lusted after, besieged, conquered, and glorified by everyone from Ottoman sultans to German chancellors. The haunting calls to prayer, the sweet smoke of nargile pipes, the glow of lamps and dark, seductive eyes, the blue of the Evil Eye, and the sea that sparkles all around—it’s impossible not to feel a bit more sphinxy and a touch more sensual just by breathing the air of this ancient city of cities. And what a city! Centuries and religions play political bumper cars in the countless church-turned-mosque-turned-museums, with Mothers and Childs and names of the prophets benevolently glittering side by side in some of the most gorgeous spaces constructed by man. From multiple-orgasmic rounds of kebabs to kilograms of cherries, anyone can dine like a king on gloriously good, awesomely affordable Turkish food (a bountiful repertoire that encompasses Anatolian, Mediterranean, and traditional Ottoman cuisine). Here, the burning needs of shopaholics, walkaholics, and those with chronic and severe museum guilt shall all be met. Istanbul is the sexy child of so many marriages: between East and West; between the thrumming, pounding heart of a modern metropolis and the most ancient of fortresses; between the obscene opulence of Rococo palaces and the pure, simple pleasure of a hot glass of çay.
Despite its status as the fourth most sacred Muslim site in the world, you’ll see almost no tourists at the Eyüp Sultan Mosque.
This subterranean sight full of murky water, dripping, eerie music, sensual lighting, and fish as big as your thigh makes for an otherworldly respite from the baking heat and sun.
Religions and centuries overlap here: Archangel Gabriel watches over the shimmering Mary, baby Jesus, and the mihrab, the niche in the wall that points towards Mecca.
The views are luxurious, the buildings overwhelmingly crafted, and the treasures outrageous.
Chora Church requires some serious ceiling-gazing, cramp-in-the-neck-calming skills.
Istanbul was last modified: June 26th, 2015 by