Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Topkapi Palace

Fatih University

The Spice Market


Lunch Break

After the Basilica Cistern, we were in desperate need of refreshment. So we followed our tour guide to a restaurant where our tour organizer, Yousman, had designed a special menu of homemade soup and Turkish ravioli.

Basilica Cistern

Deep under the streets of the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, a vast underground cavern supported by seemingly endless rows of columns wait in the darkness. This stony vault was constructed by slaves to store the water supplies for the city in deep reservoirs in case of a siege. Now, the Basilica Cistern sits mostly empty but illuminated for tourists to pass through the cavern.

The Hagia Sofia

Right across the plaza from the Blue Mosque, stands the Hagia Sofia (here the Ayasofya). The name means "Holy Wisdom" and the structure was the largest cathedral for nearly a millennium.

After the fall of Constantinople, the cathedral was converted into a mosque. You can see the evidence of the conversion by the large discs of displayed Arabic script and the adjustment of the nave to be tilted slightly offset so that the innermost portion of Aya Sofya points toward Mecca.

The cavernous interior is decorated with ornate painting and mosaics such as the one shown here.

The Blue Mosque

From the Hippodrome we walked toward the sea and climbed the steps to one of the spectacular architectural achievements in the world: The Sultan Ahmed Mosque - also known as the "Blue Mosque" for its blue tiles.

The Hippodrome

To start the first full day of our Istanbul encounter, we journeyed from our hotel to the Hippodrome where chariots once raced for the favor of the sultan. Though the Hippodrome now lies beneath several layers of foundations as each new era built upward, we could imagine the festivities and competition around the Obelisk of Theodosius.

Believed to be about 2500 years old this serpantine column has some serious history!
Originally an offering to Apollo it contained a golden tripod and bowl accompanied with 3 snake heads.
Unfortunately the serpent heads are no longer attached to the column but one of three heads resides in the
Archology Museum of Istanbul.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

And We're Off!

Early this morning, we will fly out of Charlotte, NC off to discovery in Istanbul!

Now, just the little matter of a trans-Atlantic flight and we'll be off to adventure!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Turkish Practice

Whenever I travel overseas, I try to master a few simple phrases in the host nation's native tongue. I feel much better about walking around and interacting with others if I can demonstrate a good faith attempt to try the language - and usually the people I meet appreciate the effort!

If you would like to practice some Turkish phrases and words, I would recommend the website Memrise.  This is an interactive website designed to give you personalized language drills. The part I like best is that the lessons are user-created and customizable. If you are having trouble with a word, you can select from a list of pictures & mnemonic devices (or create your own) to help you remember the term.

Create an account and give it a try! From my experience, Memrise is a great game to play for a few minutes a day, and I'm surprised by how quickly I've been able to learn some basic Turkish.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

More Blogs, More Fun

We've got several more blogs up and linked together now. We've got a blog-community! (Bloggerhood?)

If you haven't created your blog yet and sent me the link: cazesmc@my.gvltec.edu yet, please do so as soon as possible!

Click here for the video for posting on your blog, if you need some help.

I'll be sending you the list of your Turkish blog-pals with more instructions later today. By doing so, we will be able to send invitations to those students to join in on your blog!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Student Blogs

Just wanted to point out that Robin has successfully created her blog and sent me her blog info.

Now you can see her blog's link on the right side of our main page.

If you'd like to see how she has set hers up, click the link on the right "Robin Goes to Istanbul"!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Adding Your Blogs


Hello GTC Study Abroad Participants!

I have sent out the invitations to participate in this blog. Many of you have accepted the invitation and that is great!

Remember that we would like you to create your own blog by selecting the "New Blog" option on your "landing page" when you go to blogger.com

When you have created the blog, send the web address to me: cazesmc@my.gvltec.edu

That way I can add your blog to this site and we can all link to each others' work!

Looking forward to seeing your work and pictures.

~Matt Cazessus

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

This is not where I am, but where I might be in a few weeks.