Thursday, 31 December 2015

Turkey: Istanbul

At the end of October I was in Istanbul.

Istanbul was founded in the 7th century BC. It was the capital of the Roman, the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empire. The city is located on both sides of the Bosporus in European Thrace and Asian Anatolia. Istanbul is the largest city of Turkey and the 23rd largest of the World. It is also one of the ten most visited cities in the World. In 2010 was Istanbul the European Capital of Culture. Since 1985 are the Historic Areas of Istanbul on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

When I was there I sent two cards to myself, but until I only got one of them. Actually I wanted to wait to show both cards at once, but now I think that second one will never arrive.

The one that arrived shows the Hagia Sophia. The Hagia Sophia was built between 532 and 537. It is considered to be the last grand building of the late antiquity and was used as main church of the Byzantine Empire. It was used as coronation church of the Byzantine emperors and was a centre of the Orthodoxy. After the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul it became the main mosque of the Ottomans. Many mosques later reproduced the style of the Hagia Sophia. It is used as museum since 1931.

With matching stamps:
Istanbul UNESCO (two from set of four) (issued 21-05-2015)

At the museum shop of the Hagia Sophia I also bought three cards showing the interior. The cards show a selection of the mosaics, a view of the nave as seen from the gallery and the apse mosaic showing Virgin Mary with Child Christ.

In Istanbul I also bought many other Turkish cards.
The first shows the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616. It is also known as Blue Mosque, as there are many blue tiles inside.

The second shows the Süleymaniye Mosque. The Süleymaniye Mosque was built between 1550 and 1557. It is the most famous work of Mimar Sinan and is the product of his qualification stage. Today it is the largest mosque of Istanbul.

The third shows the Ortaköy Mosque. The Ortaköy Mosque was built between 1854 and 1856.

In Istanbul I also visited the Topkapı Palace. The construction of the Topkapı Palace started shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul and between 1465 and 1856 it was the mayor residence of the Ottoman sultans. It has four courtyards and contains important holy relics of the Muslim World. Since 1924 it is a museum.
One card of the palace I bought in the city. It shows the Ceremonial Gate of the palace, a diamond from the palace's collection, an Ottoman military band and the Topkapı Dagger. Also in the official museum shop I bought some cards showing an aerial view of the palace, the Prophet's Sword, the Topkapı Dagger, a portrait of Sultan Mehmed II, the armour of Sultan Mustafa III and the enthronement ceremony of Sultan Selim III.

I also bought a card of the Basilica Cistern. The Basilica Cistern was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian I.

Another card I bought shows the Bosporus Bridge and the Maiden's Tower.
The Bosporus Bridge is one of two bridges connecting Europe and Asia. It was opened in 1973 and is today the 22nd-longest suspension bridge span in the World.
The Maiden's Tower is a lighthouse built in the 18th century. It is located on a small island in the Bosporus.

I also bought postcards of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and the Galata Bridge.
The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge is the second bridge in Istanbul connecting Asia and Europe. It was opened in 1988 and is also known as Second Bosporus Bridge.
The Galata Bridge spans the Golden Horn. The current bridge was opened in 1994 and contains a market.

I also visited the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The Istanbul Archaeology Museum opened in 1891 as main archaeology museum of the Ottoman Empire and is today still the largest in Turkey. It consists of three buildings and houses exhibits from nearly all of the eras and civilisations in World history.
There I bought two cards. One shows the Kadesh Treaty and the other shows the Alexander Sarcophagus.

I also bought two cards showing İznik tiles. İznik pottery was produced in the Anatolian town İznik between the 15th and 17th century. The production was supported by the Ottoman court. İznik tiles are used in many buildings in Istanbul as decoration.

Another card I found shows the Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi Order. The Mevlevi Order was founded in 1273 and is today known for its whirling dances, which are today a popular tourist attraction. Actually the dancers needed a long training, which also included the ethics, codes of behaviour and beliefs of the order, to learn the dance, which can last for several hours, but today it is mainly shortened and focused on the dance and music. Since 2008 is the Mevlevi Sema ceremony an Intangible Heritage of the UNESCO.

Four card I bought in Istanbul show Atatürk. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was born in 1881. During World War I he was commander during the Defence of the Gallipoli peninsula. In 1923 he founded the modern Republic of Turkey and was until 1938 its first president. Since 1934 he is officially called Atatürk, Father of the Turks, and until today he is a symbolic figure. He died in 1938.

I also found postcards showing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey.
One of the cards I found shows the Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia. The Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia contains spectacular landscapes shaped by erosion and sanctuaries that provide unique evidence of Byzantine art. It is a mixed UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.
Another card is from the Archaeological Site of Troy, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1998.
On a multiview I bought there is also a picture of Ephesus (lower left corner). Ephesus was a Roman port city. The Temple of the Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was located there. Ephesus was also a home to the Virgin Mary. Since 2015 is Ephesus on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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