Chuck Hillig's Travel Blog

Well, I'm going to be doing a lot of traveling over the next 6-7 months so I thought that I'd better re-activate my travel blog. The last time I posted anything here was way back in 2006 when I was traveling through SE Asia. Feel free to read my entries back then about my earlier adventures through India,Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines and Hong Kong. This time (at least for the next six weeks), I'll be traveling through Greece and Turkey.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Golden Horn....

On Wednesday, I moved to a hotel that was on the Golden Horn and only a few blocks west of the Straits of Istanbul better known as the Bosphorus.  Since this is the meeting place between Europe to the west and Asia to the east, it's the world's narrowest strait used for international navigation.   The Bosporus, about 18 miles in length, connects the Black Sea to the north with the Sea of Marmara which, in turn, is connected by the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea and, thereby, to the Mediterranean Sea.  This part of the world has seen much dramatic history, many battles and high commerce, mostly due to its obvious strategic advantage.  All of the sites that I had seen before (the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar and Topkapi Palace) are all within an easy walk from my new hotel, and I delighted to stroll around this new commercial area to savour, once again, the richness of Istanbul's mystique.    I wanted to check out the historic Basilica Cistern near the Hagia Sophia and so, after paying my 10 Lira, I descended into its depths.  The cistern had been completed in the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Justinian.  It has over 105,000 square feet in area with a capacity of almost three million cubic feet of water.  The ceiling is supported by 336 columns each about 30 feet in length.  The cistern's interiors have been used for scenes in several movies including James Bond's "From Russia With Love."   On Thursday morning, I experienced my first rainfall in almost six weeks, so I decided to check out Istanbul's famous Archeological Museum located next to Tokapi Palace.   I was VERY impressed by the in-depth displays and would strongly urge anyone coming to Istanbul to put a visit to this museum on their "must-do" list.   Incredible carvings and historical treasures dating back thousands of years. Well worth seeing for only 10 Lira.


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