Last month I had the wonderful privilege of going to Turkey and Israel on an archaeological/historical/biblical study tour. It was the trip of a lifetime. I realize that this is a sewing site, but I hope you will indulge me in sharing a few insights and pictures in my next couple of blogs.
The first picture is of the Blue Mosque. I'm sure you have seen this in several movies... especially James Bond movies. It is said to be the most beautiful mosque in the world. Not only do the blue tiles stand out, but it has six minarets covered in gold, unlike any of the other mosques that have been built. Unfortunately, it's difficult to see all six in the picture below. (Most mosques have only two or four minarets.) It took seven years to build this mosque and was completed in 1616. Sultan Ahmet I, who was only 19 at the time, commissioned the building of the mosque and often worked on it himself as he was anxious to see it completed. He died shortly after the mosque was finished at the age of 27. He is buried nearby next to his wife and three children. The mosque is truly beautiful.
Here's a peek inside St. Sophia's mosque. It's too bad that you can't see just how exquisite it is. Such detail is beyond description.
We then took a ride along the Bosphorus River before we left Turkey. It is also known as the Istanbul strait. The shores of the strait are heavily populated... in excess of 11 million people! There are two bridges crossing the river that forms the Trans-European Motorway. The bridge shown in the picture below is the border between Asia and Europe. This River has great strategic importance and control over it has been an objective of a number of hostilities in modern history according to Wikipedia. Its importance to the oil industry is also a huge consideration by many nations.
It was very cold and windy while we were in Istanbul and I was not prepared for the cold... the week before we arrived it had snowed. I never thought of snow in Turkey.
I wanted to share this satellite view of the strait so that you can see why it is so important. It connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. (which is connected by the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea, and thereby to the Mediterranean Sea.) Very valuable indeed!