Travel to Iran

Day 11 Tehran - Istanbul

We left at 5 in the morning towards the international airport of Tehran. We arrive punctually at the airport, but our flight departs with a delay of one hour. We take off and when we fly over the border between Iran and Turkey we see from the airplane window the snowy peak of Mount Ararat, the highest in Turkey, with a height of 5165 meters above sea level. The Christian tradition interprets from the Book of Genesis that this mountain is the place where Noah's Ark rested after the Universal Flood described in this sacred book.

Mount Ararat

Mount Ararat

Istanbul: When we arrive in Istanbul, we take seven laps before being able to land, accumulating one more hour of delay. This means losing our connecting flight to Barcelona. After chaotic negotiations at the Ataturk airport, our flight company gave us a flight for the next day and take us to a hotel. We took advantage of the afternoon to take a walk through the historic center of Istanbul.We left the hotel and got on the tram until we reached the Sultanahmet stop. Just getting off we have the blue mosque on the right and on our left, Hagia Sophia. We take some pictures of both buildings just before sunset.

Istanbul - Hagia Sophia

Istanbul - Hagia Sophia

We continue along Alemdar Cd. Street until we reach the Golden Horn, which divides the European side of the city into two parts: the old city and the Galata part. From this point we see the Bosphorus and on the other side the Asian part of the city. We go to the Galata bridge with the aim of calming the hunger with the typical fish sandwiches, but we do not do it in the restaurants that are right under the bridge, we do it by buying the sandwiches in the boats that are just after passing underneath of the bridge.

Istanbul - Blue Mosque

Istanbul - Blue Mosque

We continue our walk doing some shopping in the bazaar of spices (Mısır Çarşısı). It was build between 1663 and 1664 by order of Sultan Turhan. The bazaar is part of the complex of the Yeni Cami mosque and has an "L" shape with the short side, which measures 120 meters, perpendicular to the mosque and the long side of 150 meters parallel to it. It has a total of 85 shops and it is all covered, as is the Grand Bazaar. The bazaar was (and still is) the center for spice trade in Istanbul, but in the last years more and more shops of other type are replacing the spice shops.

Istanbul - Fish sandwiches near Galata Bridge

Istanbul - Fish sandwiches near Galata Bridge

Dinner time comes and we go to The Terrace Restaurant Cafe. Located at the top of a building, it is accessed through a carpet shop. The best thing about the restaurant are the views it has over Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. After dinner we walked through Sultanahmet Meydanı Square, where the Hippodrome of Constantinople was located. To improve the image of his new capital, Constantine and his successors, especially Theodosius the Great, brought works of art from all corners of the empire to adorn him. Among them was the Tripod of Plataea from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, now known as the Serpent column, built in the fifth century BC. The upper part of the column was adorned with a golden bowl held by three serpent heads.

Istanbul - Spice Bazaar

Istanbul - Spice Bazaar

Theodosius the Great brought in 390 an obelisk from Egypt. Carved in pink granite, it was originally erected at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor in about 1490 BC during the reign of Thutmose III. To move the obelisk to Constantinople, Theodosius had to cut it into three pieces, of which only the upper part remains. The obelisk has survived almost 3500 years in surprisingly good conditions. In the tenth century, Emperor Constantine VII built another obelisk, that of Constantine, located at the other end of the racecourse. Before returning the hotel we enter the courtyard of the Blue Mosque, but the mosque was already closed to tourists.