We’ve been here three days and today was the worst. We don’t think it quit once even. Raining that is!
Today was a great day to spend at the Spice Market, along the way however, we managed to buy a Turkish carpet. We started just looking yesterday, but didn’t see one we loved. Well, today we did. Bigger than we thought yesterday, but will be a lovely addition to our home. Buying a carpet here is almost mandatory, they make thousands every year from all silk to silk on cotton, wool on cotton and wool on wool, in more patterns than you can imagine. They know the names of the patterns and whether it is an old carpet (more valuable often) or a new one from the colours used. We could go on at length, but will stop here by saying don’t visit Turkey unless you want to buy a carpet!
So that done, we returned to our hotel to drop this tidy little package off, and then set out again for the Spice Market. This time we were sidetracked with a visit to the Basilica Cistern. Tom Brosnahan writes the following:
Beneath Istanbul lie hundreds of gloomy Byzantine cisterns. They’re left from the days when Istanbul was Constantinople. The grandest of all is the Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarniç), so called because it lay beneath the Stoa Basilica, a grand Byzantine public square. It’s also called the Sunken Palace Cistern (Yerebatan Saray Sarniçi) because that’s what it looks like. Whatever you call it, it’s impressive because of its size, measuring 138 meters long and 64.6 meters wide, covering nearly 1000 square meters (2.4 acres); its capacity (80,000 cubic meters—over 21 million US gallons) and its 336 marble columns. Built by Justinian after 532, the Basilica Cistern stored water for the Great Palace and nearby buildings. Lost to memory, it was rediscovered by Petrus Gyllius, who came to Constantinople in search of Byzantine monuments. Gyllius, who noticed that local people got their water by lowering buckets through holes in the floors of their houses, found an entrance and thus put it back on the map.”
We were very impressed and enjoyed our time underground.
Then we were off to the Spice Market, which by the way is actually called the Egyptian Market … though why we can’t say. This time we only stopped for photos and a couple map checks.
We never did buy any spices, but we did find some Turkish Delight and some hazelnuts too. It was teeming with people today as it is Saturday, so we called it quits fairly soon with plans to return midweek.
Had our best meal here at a hole in the wall, and very good price too! Then off through the rain to our hotel with only a couple more stops for photos.