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Turkey 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Flying from IAD to JFK for the first leg of our journey.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Standing in the forecourt at the Blue Mosque (or the Sultan Ahmed Mosque).

A line of ablution fountains at the Blue Mosque.

Before entering the Blue Mosque, you must remove your shoes, and women must cover their hair.

The beautiful interior of the main dome of the Blue Mosque.

Standing in front of one of the four 16-foot-diameter (5-meter diameter) columns holding up the dome of the Blue Mosque.

Standing inside the Blue Mosque.

Exterior shot of the Blue Mosque.

A multitude of lamps lined the ceiling of a place we ate lunch.

A row of vendors at the Grand Bazaar, a labyrinth of shops selling jewelry, leather jackets, clothes, rugs, ceramics, and more.

A tram car on Divan Yolu Caddesi, a main street through the old part of Istanbul.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The interior of the Hagia Sophia (or Aya Sofia), a former Orthodox basilica founded in 360 C.E., then a mosque, and now a museum.

One of many Ottomon Calligraphy Plates hanging inside the Hagia Sophia. Each is 24.6 feet (or 7.5 meters) in diameter.

A mimbar, which function as a pulpit does in a Christian chrurch.

The mihrab, a niche or chamber that indicates the direction of Mecca.

Stained glass windows and the ceiling mosaid of the Virgin mother and child from the 9th century.

A view of Jessica and I inside the Hagia Sophia.

A 12th century mosaic depicting Jesus Christ and John the Baptist.

Another 12th century mosaic featuring the Virgin mother and child flanked by Emperor Johannes Komnenos II, Empress Irene, and their son Alexios.

The interior of the dome of the Hagia Sophia. Four angels surround the dome, but only one has a face.

The exterior of the Hagia Sophia.

The Dolmabahçe Palace, which housed the rulers of the Ottoman Emprire between 1856 to 1922.

Jessica and I standing on the soil of Europe, just outside of the Dolmabahçe Palace. Asia can be seen across the Bosphorus Strait.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A better view of the Hagia Sophia on a sunny day.

Riding on a double-decker tour bus with an English audio-guide delivered through headphones.

A view of Galata Tower in the Galata neighborhood of Istanbul.

The Bosphorous Bridge, a 5000-feet (1500-meter) long suspension bridge that connects the European part of Istanbul to the Asian part.

Gazing at a rock relief from the Hittite Period (8th century B.C.E.) inside the Museum of the Ancient Orient, one of the Istanbul Archeology Museums.

The blue-tiled entrance to the Tiled Kiosk of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, another part of the Istanbul Archeology Museums.

A giant sarcophagus from the Roman period (3rd century C.E.).

Enjoying dinner at the Seven Hills, a rooftop restaurant with a view of the Hagia Sophia (which you can see in the upper left of the photo).

The traditional Turkish dustbusting of our dinner table.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The entrance to Topkapi Palace.

Interior of one of the rooms in the Harem of Topkapi Palace.

Detail of the beautiful tile seen at Topkapi Palace.

Jessica and I enjoying a break in the Harem of Topkapi Palace.

The Bosphorus Cruise boat we took for a cruise up and down the Bosphorus.

A view of an old fort along the Bosphorus.

The pedestrian street known as Istilkal Caddesi is quite crowded on Friday night.

Some of the many mostly wild cats seen roaming around the streets of Istanbul.

After dinner, we rode an underground funicular that opened in 1875 - the second oldest metro in the world after the London's Underground.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

After a one-hour flight to Izmir, we rode the bus to Kusadasi.

In Turkey, there is food and beverage service on intercity buses.

A view of the seaport Kusadasi from our hotel room balcony.

I'm starting to enjoy Turkish tea served in these little tulip-shaped glasses.

Enjoying late afternoon sun outside the fortess on Guvercin Island (Pigeon Island) connected to Kusadasi by a causeway.

Nothing says romance like watching the sunset while playing backgammon and drinking beer.

Apparently, the locals like to go to the cafes to play games.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Temple of Artemis, which is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was built with 127 tall columns. Only one remains in a field of grass in Selcuk, Turkey.

An olive tree.

An old Turkish man smoking a cigarette.

Here we are at Ephesus, the best-preserved classical city in the Mediterrean.

The Odeon, or theater, at Ephesus.

The large marble-lined street of Ephesus that was buried by as much as six meters of earth before archeologists uncovered it.

The library of Celsus once held 12,000 scrolls and was the third largest library in the ancient world after the ones at Alexandria and Pergamum.

A statue of Artemis, the goddess of fertility.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A large cruise ship on the right and the ferry we rode to Samos, Greece on the left.

The city of Varthi on the island of Samos, Greece.

After grabbing lunch in the city, we walked north along the coast to find a beach.

We found some beach chairs on a pebble-stoned beach near a resort that had closed for the winter season.

A local Greek man fishing.

The sun setting behind Samos as we rode the ferry back to Kusadasi.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

We saw a local farmer's market as we rode the mini-bus to the bus station.

The bus had individual music and video entertainment. Here I am blissing out to Enya.

At the end of this road, we found our hotel in Pamukkale.

The glistening calcite bluffs of Pamukkale.

Jessica enjoying the view by a calcium shelf of water.

I'm bringing sexy back.

Hot springs feed this swimming pool, which used to be a sacred pool in ancient Hierapolis.

Sunset in Pamukkale.

Jessica and I on the calcium cliff at night.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A sanctuary dedicated to the worship of Roman emperors in Afrodisias.

The theater in Afrodisias could seat 7,000 people.

Jessica and I inside the theater in Afrodisias.

The Portico of Tiberius, which bordered the south agora, or marketplace of Afrodisias.

The stadium of Afrodisias could seat 30,000 people. It is one of the largest and best preserved stadiums from classical times.

The tetrapylon, or monumental gateway, which once greeted pilgrims on their way to the Temple of Aphrodite.

The best preserved statue of Aphrodite inside the Afrodisias Museum.

Jessica and I enjoying lunch after touring Afrodisias.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We rode a bus like this one from Denizli to Izmir (about a three-and-a-half-hour ride).

Jessica and I at the waterfront in Izmir.

A clock tower and the Konak Camii, a small mosque dating from 1755, in the background.

The bazaar, or shopping district, of Izmir.

Hookas for sale.

A view inside the Kizlaragasi Han, a market inside a restored caravansarai.

Sunset in Turkey and on our honeymoon.

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