Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, Thursday, June 12, Friday, June 13 Site Presentations and Project Discussions and Up the Golden Horn

--Wednesday, June 11, 2008--

Today Clayton and I did our site presentation. We took the tram from Karakoy to Aksaray and then got on dolmuses (this time we didn't have to squeeze) to get to our church converted to mosque converted to museum.

Clayton and I did our presentation on Kariye Camii, a truly wonderful mosque, much like the Aya Sofya--it used to be a church, and a relatively important one at that, and after the conquest of Istanbul by Mehmed the Conqueror it was turned into a mosque. It contains the second largest collection of mosaics, coming only after Aya Sofya.

It's a very interesting building architecturally as well because it's very unsymmetrical--usually churches are made in the cross shape but this one is different. You walk into the church from the side and that takes you into the Parakklesion. From the Parakklesion (if you want to walk around the church in an order that makes sense with the mosaics) you go through to the exonarthex. Most of the mosaics of the church are contained in here and they depict the things that happened before Jesus was born along with some of his miracles. Afte walking around the exonarthex you go into the esonarthex where the mosaics are more genealogy related. From the esonarthex you walk into the narthex, the main body of the church and in the naos there are three mosaics: the dormition of the Virgin, Jesus, and Theodokos, the man who endowed the church with the mosaics. Here's a plan of the church, it's an easier way to explain the non-symmetry of the church...

I think I was so stressed over our presentation that I don't actually have any pictures of the mosaics, but if you look on the other blogs you'll find many beautiful pictures of our church/mosque/museum.

After we talked about our church, we walked over to Kalenderhane Camii, where Kelly and Zoe did their site presentation. Kalenderhane Camii is also a church turned mosque. It's also the mosque that Zoe, Kevin, and I found on the day of the scavenger hunt. It's a really nice mosque, still in use. The acoustics inside are amazing, just as we were leaving on the scavenger hunt day someone started to read the Qur'an and honestly I was spell-bound.

Kelly and Zoe did their site presentation, then we had lunch, and then we went over to the Grand Bazaar and walked around for a while, then I went home. Fun times.

--Thursday, June 12, 2008--

Today was the day for our project discussions with Prof. Shields. I decided I would do my project on the implications and consequences of the AK Party closing, and I want to interview people and see what they think will happen and compare their view with what the law books say will happen.

After discussing the details of my project, I left and went over to Ortakoy to meet up with some friends that I hadn't seen in a really long time. I spent the afternoon and evening basically with them and then I went home. This was a pretty low-key day for me :D

--Friday, June 13, 2008--

This was our walk around the Golden Horn day and believe me, we walked a lot today. First we went to Rustempasa Camii, which is a really nice mosque, very similar to the Blue Mosque in decoration although it is different in one aspect--there's red on the tiles for this mosque. Blue Mosque doesn't have that, and the red here is really nice because it's a very clear and strong red. This one was also really nice because it had a lot of light coming in. Another thing that's interesting was also the fact that most mosques in Istanbul, the old ones especially, are surrounded by markets in order to finance the building, and then the maintenance of the mosque. Rustempasa is located in such close quarters that the mosque was actually built on top of the markets that are required to help out with the up-keep of the mosque. Here are a couple pictures of the outside and interior of the mosque...

This is the niche that points in the direction of Mecca for people to orient themselves while praying. Sometimes it gets crowded in the mosque, especially during Friday prayers, so people have to pray outside. It helps to have something additional like this niche helping out with the direction. The domes and designs... The bottom of where the sultan would have come to pray. I liked the tulip design...This was seriously a very interesting mosque as well because it was the first place where I saw more than one type of Arabic writing style adorning the walls. Here's what I mean: there are two or three major writing styles, and usually only one is used in mosques, called divani. In this mosque, over the doorway to the entrance, I saw both divani and kufic script. Both look very beautiful. Here's what I'm talking about:

This is the divani style...
And this is the kufic style...You don't see this type much in mosques, it's usually just the divani style.
After walking around Rustempasa Camii, we got out and went to a Greek neighborhood where they had this nice church that was really old. We weren't allowed to go into that one because they were cleaning apparently, so we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood and see if there was anything else we could check out, and lo and behold, first we found a school, and then when Clayton, Zoe, Kevin and I continued walking up the street we found a Sufi dervish lodge called Mesnevihane. It was really interesting to be able to find a mosque, a church, and a lodge so close to each other, but I think it pretty much defines how Istanbul is. Everything contained in one place.

Here's the entrance to the school with the school in the background...
And here's what I mean about everything being contained in one place...
After walking around the neighborhood, we decided to walk down and check out this Bulgarian (I think) church on the main road that's made from iron. It's rusting. But the inside was pretty nice with all the decorations and stuff. I don't have a lot of good pictures from this place, but here's a decent one that's not very blurry...
We took pictures and looked around there, and then finding that we were really, really hungry, we decided to go to a restaurant and eat. We went and sat at the top floor of the restaurant in the terrace with a really nice view. Prof Shields came up to check on us, and when she came there was another table next to ours full of random Turkish people, and they told her that her English was kind of bad. We were all like, what...are you guys talking about?... but then we decided to ignore them although I'm still kind of fuming at them for that comment. How can they comment on her English when there's is way worse? Anyways...

After lunch we went back to the church in the Greek neighborhood to check it out. After that, we took a ferry up to Eyup and walked around there. To get up to the top, we took a flying gondola type thing, like a cable car up in the air, kind of like a ski lift (just fyi: it's called teleferik in Turkish if you want to look it up and get a better definiton for your own enjoyment) and went to Pierre Lotti cafe. We sat around there for a while and drank tea/soda/Sprite/Turkish coffee/etc. and then went to Eyup Sultan Mosque and visited his tomb and looked around the mosque. Eyup Sultan was the standard-bearer for Prophet Muhammad, and he came all the way up to Istanbul from the Arabian Peninsula. Eyup Sultan Camii is also a popular place for the families of boys who are to be circumsized to go and pray. We saw many little boys there walking around in the traditional circumsition garb of a little sultan. The guys in our group were a tad...worried...and...awkward...and thus, funny :D

After Eyup, we took the ferry back down to home and I left the peeps there and went to Bolulu Hasan Usta to get a dessert. After that, I went home.

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