Monochromes from Constantinople

7 to 8 October 2018, Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey.

Links go to colour posts (with more information and historical context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

Click on any image to see it larger (if on a PC at least).

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Hagia Sophia.

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Passageway to Mezzanine Floor, Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia.

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Looking down on the main hall and up to the main dome.

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Closeup of Christ Pantocrator (or the all-powerful) from the Deesis Mosaic.

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The Comnenus mosaic, dating from 1122, shows John II Comnenus (Emperor 1118 to 1143), Virgin Mary and Christ Child, and Empress Irene (from Hungary).

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The Empress Zoe mosaic, from the 11th century, shows Constantine IX Monomarchus (Emperor 1042 to 1055), Christ Pantocrator and Empress Zoe. .

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Mysterious inscription just below a marble hand rail.

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Remarkable marble panelling.

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Graffiti on a marble hand rail.

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Heading down to the ground level again.

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Evidence of differing building projects in different eras.

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Looking up at the main dome.

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Mihrab, Mingar and Apse.

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Looking up at old Christian and later Islamic decorations..

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The Vestibule Mosaic.

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Central part of bronze door from Hellenistic Temple of Tarsus.

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Altar of the Hagia Irene.

Topkapi Palace.

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Inside Hagia Irene.

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The gateway to the Topkapi Palace.

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Views of the Bosphorous.

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Kara Mustafa Pasha Pavilion.

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Mother of pearl inlay wall decorations.

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Mother of pearl inlay wall decorations.

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A small viewing platform..

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Baghdad Kiosk.

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Looking south, beyond the Bosphorous at the Sea of Marmara.

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Palmyran funerary reliefs.

(Istanbul Archaeology Museum).

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Aphrodite removing her sandal.

(Istanbul Archaeology Museum).

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Ring-necked parakeet.

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A surviving fragment of Roman-era construction.

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Night shopping.

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Hagia Sophia at night.

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Looking up at one of the side domes.

Blue Mosque.

Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern.

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Looking up at one of the side domes.

Blue Mosque.

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Looking out of Blue Mosque towards Hagia Sophia.

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Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern

Istanbul, 8 October 2018.

(Click on any image to see it in a larger size, if you are on a PC at least.)

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Architecture, Art, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Constantinople, History, Istanbul, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Looking up at one of the side domes.

In the morning of our second day in Istanbul, we visited the Blue Mosque, constructed between 1609 and 1616.

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A wider view.

The Blue Mosque was built on the foundations of the Great Palace of the East Roman Empire, though the palace was massive, much larger than the mosque.

. Architecture, Art, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Constantinople, History, Istanbul, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Travel

Recent structure inside the mosque.

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I actually found the Blue Mosque disappointing, as I was expecting much more and was expecting it to be more spectacular than Hagia Sophia and as impressive as the mosques and mausolea in Uzbekistan.  I had earlier seen a spectacular photograph from inside it but I did not see anything like that.  I suspect it was taken from he second level, which was closed.  While it is a working mosque, I suspect the main shortcomings were due to the extensive renovations scheduled from 2016 to 2020.  Probably they are now finished and the experience inside may be now quite different.

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Centre of a sub-dome.

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Looking up a wall and sub-dome.

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Visitors to the Blue Mosque.

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Looking up at one of the minor domes.

This shows how spectacular the fully restored mosque could potentially be.  The main dome is off to the right but there was no view available from directly underneath it.

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The area available for viewing was quite restrictive.

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The carpet is obviously recent.  I wonder what the original floor coverings were.

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It might have been a seventeenth century statue of a worker with a vaccuum cleaner, but since it was moving it is likely it was a real person. 

This shows how extensive the next floor is and how recent, presumably from the last fifty years.  Previously the space was probably open below the central dome.  I don’t know whether this is a measure to provide more space for worshippers or a temporary part of the renovations, but the view from above it is likely to be much more impressive than the view from below.

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At the entrance to the Blue Mosque, looking towards the Hagia Sophia.

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Basilica Cistern.

Next we visited the Basilica Cistern, a vast underground water storage, 140 by 70 metres, and contains 336 marble columns (each 9 metres high), not far from Hagia Sophia. Its name comes because it was below the square for the basilica.  A basilica is a large Roman administrative building, associated with the forum.  The water came from a forest 19 kilometres away.

It was built by Constantine and later rebuilt by Justinian following damage during the Nika Riots.  It was also restored several times in the Ottoman period.

. Architecture, Art, Basilica Cistern, Blue Mosque, Constantinople, History, Istanbul, Landscape, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

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Medusa head.

Two of the columns have Medusa heads at their base. They are said to be sideways or upside down to neutralise their power.  Where they came from is unknown.

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Medusa head the “right” way up.

So what do they look like the “right” way up?  Here you see it.  I’ve tested it out and after looking at the image, as far as I can tell, I haven’t turned to stone.  If you have a different experience, I take no responsibility (and you’re unlikely to complain anyway).

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The other Medusa head, this one is inverted.

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… And here it is, the “right” way up.

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