After being woken up by the 5:00AM call to prayer, I was up and ready to fully face the day a few hours later. The early morning singing and praying had startled me a little bit yesterday, but part of me was prepared for it today… not that it made it any easier to be woken up from a dead sleep at 5A. We started our morning with an early breakfast and then headed out to the Topkapi Palace by 930A. The Palace was the seat of the sultans for 400 of 600 years of their reign, and the place is a sight to be seen. Not only is it a massive site, it’s gorgeously domineering and the views are unbeatable. They definitely had prime Turkish real estate. The entry fee was 20 lira, but they had a discount for harems: 15 lira each. Not quite sure how they check identification on that…
We were able to wander around the palace grounds for about an hour, checking out the treasury and the mini museums inside. The treasury housed some ostentatious pieces – think lamps, jewelry and chairs made of gold and gems. The bling in this place was over the top. The museum is also home to Mohammed’s footprint (a cast of it), plus Moses’ rod from the 13th c. BC. We were trying to figure out how they ensured the legitimacy of these things… even if it was dated, how can anyone really know that that particular rod belonged to Moses? Seems like a stretch, but I’m gonna believe it for now.
Exploring the Grand Bazaar
After our visit to the Topkapi Palace, we headed to the Grand Bazaar for our second shopping experience! I am in love with everything about the bazaar. It’s an absolutely incredible place and its draw for visitors is undeniable. It’s a great place to find cool, authentic pieces as well as more kitschy souvenirs.
But really, how incredible is this place?
Have you been to Istanbul? What were your highlights?
Love from Turkey,