It was our last day in Istanbul. Grace and I were up early. This happens when you’ve had a peaceful night’s sleep. After getting dressed and breakfast, we agreed to meet up at the lobby to check out. I was kinda sad that I’m giving up my room key. I will miss the bed that I have been sleeping on for the past two nights. LOLS
Next up was a historical tour of Istanbul. This really makes me happy because I have been waiting for this since the day I learned that I will be a part of this trip!
The heart of the historical peninsula, The Hippodrome or what is called today, the Sultanahmet Square. Every historical tour starts with the Hippodrome which was built in the late 2nd Century (thank you Istanbul Guidebook!). This was where horse carriages races were held during the Byzantine era. There’s so much history in this place!
In the Hippodrome you will find the Egyptian Obelisk erected by the pharaoh Tutmosis III in honor of the god Horus. It was brought to Istanbul in the 4th Century during the reign of Constantine the Great. The hieroglyphics carved on pink granite highlights the works of the pharaoh and his successes and prayers to the god Horus.
The Obelisk is the oldest of the ancient works in Istanbul.
The once predominantly blue interior is now redesigned with hints of red and green. It no longer makes sense to call it Blue Mosque. Right? Sultanahmet Mosque is still a place of worship, therefore all visitors need to dress appropriately. Women have to cover their head and arms.
Just a walking distance from Sultanahmet Mosque is the Topkapi Palace. It served as the residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman Empire.
I was really excited to be here not just because of its historical background but because this was one of the highlights of Dan Brown’s novel – Inferno. In my mind, I kept picturing Robert Langdon and Sienna Miller running about. I know, I’m having a geek moment.
We decided not to go inside the palace buildings as most of them doesn’t allow taking photos.
Instead, we roamed around the palace grounds …
… and found this sweet spot. Overlooking the breathtaking Bosphorus.
I can not get enough of this view. You have no idea how many selfies were shot here. LOLS!
We had a short lunch break then we went inside Hagia Sophia.
Here’s a picture of me as proof that I was really there. LOLS!
Here’s our guide giving one last instruction before ushering us inside. You can see everyone is having so much “fun”.
My only regret is that we did not have time to explore Hagia Sophia. When I go back to Istanbul, I will make sure to see everything. *you hear that Istanbul? I will be back!* LOLS
We were almost at the end of our trip where we have to catch our flight back to Dubai. We had to leave Hagia Sophia in a rush so we can go to the Spice Souk which was about 15 minutes away by foot.
Although I was really tired by this time and my feet was ready to give up on me, I forged ahead and enjoyed the sights.
We reached the spice souk. It was difficult to go in lest we get lost in the mob of tourists inside. Besides, our bus was waiting for everyone to come on board. We just couldn’t let go of the view:
This was my last day in Istanbul. With the Hagia Sophia in the background.