My third day itinerary was highly recommended by Rick Steves. I took a public bus from the Eminonu station & asked around how to get to “Edirnekapi”. I asked the driver to drop me off at the Kariye Muzesi, and he did! Turkish people were truly helpful during my trip — there was always someone willing to help out!
Kariye Musezi, a small church built in 1100, during the Byzantine era. What ever it had lacked in size, it made up with the stunning mosaics plastered across its ceilings. ONE OF MY FAVORITE SIGHTS!
The mosaics were well preserved because when the Ottomans took over the then Byzantine church, instead of destroying the mosaics, they just covered it with paint, built a minaret, and successfully converted it to become a mosque. In the 1940s, it was rediscovered and restored to it’s present state. It’s highly recommended to have some form of literature to serve as a reference to the various stories depicted on the ceiling of this jewel of a museum. By the end of the tour, you would’ve had given your neck some major stretching.
After checking out the mosaics, I followed Steve’s recommendation of checking out the old walls of Constantinople. Although impressive and still intact, the walls are located in a sketchy part of Istanbul so visit this place with caution. I ventured into this by myself and got confronted with beggars & people who attempted to extort money from me. I didn’t finish the whole tour, and decided to just head back to my hostel.
My friend picked me up in the evening for an event in New Istanbul. I witnessed the biggest selection of mezes (appetizers) in one location, and I believed they broke a Guiness World Record then! There was also a concert that featured several famous Turkish entertainers. My friend, who worked for CNN then, got us VIP tickets. I found myself rubbing elbows with various Turkish celebrities. Such a beautiful populace!