I was flying in my spaceship over Turkey and I thought I saw some other aliens as there was a parked OVNI near Bosphorus. I then decided to go down to make some friends. Turns out it wasn’t a spaceship but a religious center, a place called Mosque.
The lights and form the Mosque got me all confused but I totally realized I was wrong when I started hearing a strange voice coming out of the place. I was scared by the voice, but then a Human woman with some clothing over her head approached me and told me the voice was a call for Muslims to pray. She saw I was still nervous and invited me to join her inside.
She explained to me everything to do, before coming in, I shall clean my head, arms, hands, and feet to purify my body for Allah, her diety. After that,t we had to take off our shoes at the entrance of the mosque. The place was full of the most beautiful and soft carpets and the walls were all covered by tiles and marvelous chandeliers. The people inside were tourists who were asked to be quiet while Muslims were praying and a guy was singing beautifully.
I really enjoyed the experience and the woman´s company. She was really shy, covering all her face but the eyes. I had never met someone like her before, that´s what I love about Humans, they are all so different.
After the Salah I decided to stay a couple of days at Istanbul.
There was so much to see as this city is the limit between Europe and Asia so it´s full of contrasts and good food.
Top tips for an Istanbul visit
Take a walking tour
I took a free walking tour with VIAURBIS Travel. I always recommend taking a free walking tour no matter where you are. They are so convenient and for a good tip, your guide can show you city directions and suggestions for cheap options to take lunch.
My guide took me first to where Haghia Sophia and Blue Mosque find each other face to face. Here he explained to me how this city is like an interactive History book.
The super shot history version is that first, the Greeks conquered the city to name it Byzantium and after many years the Roman Empire came to conquer it and named it Augusta Antonia, then New Rome and after Constantinople. Many names for one city, but the point is as the Bosporus strait divides Europe and Asia, everyone wanted to be benefited by commercial treaties here.
After the Latin Regin, the Ottoman Empire arrived and conquered it once again to name it Istanbul and overthrow the Catholic Church to establish Islam, the main religion in Turkey until today.
This humongous religious center was built as a Catholic Church full of mosaics representing Saints, Virgin Mary, and Jesus Christ. After many Human years, The Ottoman Empire conquered the city and covered with plaster the Catholic images to then place caligraphy discs with prayers to Allah.
Centuries passed and after the Revolution led by Ataturk (1935 ), Humans removed the plaster to then discover that this same material had worked as a conservation cover. Nowadays, Hagia Sophia is an incredible museum that reflects both religious symbols together in one place.
I know that Humans don’t mix their religious beliefs commonly so watching this cultural clash left me speechless.
When the Ottoman empire arrived many centuries ago to what then was Constantinople, they saw Hagia Sophia and were really impressed by its magnificence. Being really competitive, they decided to build something even “more” beautiful. That´s how Sultanahmet was created. Everyone knows it as the Blue Mosque, due to the blue tiles on the inside.
This mosque is still a religious center, so if you wish to come in, you need to be respectful and follow some clothing rules, as Muslims Humans are not OK with the idea of a Human showing too much skin.
Chandeliers, blue tiles, carpets and a feeling of peacefulness embraces you while sitting on the carpet in this mosque.
Whether you like this Mosque better than Hagia Sophia is your own decision. Until today, I can´t make a choice.
Top Kapi Palace
Backward to Haghia Sophia, there´s one of the prettiest palaces I had ever seen.
After the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople, they then named it Istanbul and built a palace for the Sultan to live and govern the city. The power of the Empire is definitely shown by the luxurious decorations on every room and facade of the place.
In every room, you can find marble, gold, tiles, carpets, and inscriptions with caligraphy dedicated to Allah´s prayers.
There are beautiful gardens everywhere and the most amazing view from a balcony: Bosporus Strait getting continents Europe and Asia together.
Top Kapi Palace is all about luxury, but Sultan Abdülmecid had a quite subjective way of not agreeing with that.
He went to Versailles and after his visit decided Top Kapi was just too humble for a Sultan to live at. So he ordered to build the most presumptuous palace in the World.
This place is drenched in the most luxurious and expensive decoratives articles. From carpets, symmetric rooms with the same furniture on both sides of each room, the second biggest chandelier on the World and a Marble bathroom covered every inch of this material.
The facade of the place and its gardens are incredible. They have some animals at the place. Even turkeys. I mean, isn´t it cool? turkeys in Turkey.
Pictures are not allowed in the inside to Humans, there are some benefits to be an alien now and then.
The Basilica Cistern
The largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul. Humans storage water here and according to the people in the place they are not sure how it started. The Cistern is a mysterious tour to take. It feels like if the place wants to share its history with you but everything is silent and she (the Cistern) needs to keep the secret of how was she created.
Many marble columns are on the site and one of the most emblematic is one with a Medusa head. The strange thing is that the head is turned upside down. People believed it has to do with the Greek empire conquering the Roman one and trying to make fun of or demonstrate their power over Greek beliefs.
The great Baazar
Istanbul is sincerely one of the cities I have enjoyed the most on this planet, watching how the continents and cultures meet will live on my extraterrestrial heart forever.