Fun Photo Friday — 54 Days at Sea; Istanbul Images


Blue Skies above the Blue Mosque

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54 Days at Sea — Istanbul; Basilica Cistern


Basilica Cistern

In the classic James Bond film  From Russia With Love (second entry in the franchise series, United Artists, 1963), there is a scene in which the head of Station T (Ali Kerim Bey played by Pedro Armendáriz) and Bond take a boat ride along underground aqueducts beneath Istanbul. What you may not realize is that this waterway actually exists, and that it is indeed beneath the streets of Istanbul. Welcome to the eerie yet fascinating Basilica Cistern.

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern is a mere 500 feet/150 meters west of the Hagia Sophia, and it’s well worth the visit. This amazing cistern measures 453 feet/138 meters by 213 feet/65 meters. It has a capacity of 2,825,000 cubic feet/80,000 cubic meters, or about 21,130,000 gallons!

Basilica Cistern

Many of the 336 columns supporting the cistern roof were re-purposed from other structures. These columns average 30 feet/9 meters in height. Some of the columns also come with a surprise or two, including base support from the snake-haired Gorgon Medusa. But the two busts of Medusa you’ll find here are not in the expected orientation. One lies sideways, the other is inverted.

Basilica Cistern — Sideways Medusa

Basilica Cistern — Inverted Medusa

Now for a few more images from the Basilica Cistern:

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54 Days at Sea — Istanbul; Inside Hagia Sophia


Hagia Sophia

Last Wednesday I introduced you to the incredible Hagia Sophia and gave you a little on its history. This church-turned-mosque-turned museum is a blend of both Christianity and Islam, as you’ll see in the photo gallery/slide show below. Click on any image enlarge and scroll through the tour:

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