Greece/Turkey Study Tour 2006

Trip Information for the Greece Turkey Trip Summer 2006 sponsored by Lee University. See Frequently Asked Questions Below for dates, places, prices, etc

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Greetings from Istanbul Day 2


Everyone is fine and doing well!. We had a full day today. We were on a walking tour of the old city of Istanbul. To the left is a group photo we took today.

We began the day with a tour of Roman/Byzantine Hippodrome which seated 40,000 fans. Today the central part of the Hippodrome is preserved in a park. We saw an obelisk from Egypt during the reign of Thutmosis III. It was brought to the spina of the Hippodrome by the Romans. We also saw the remains of the bronze tripod which once stood before the Temple to Apollo in Delphi. We will visit Delphi later in the trip.

Then we visited the famous Blue Mosque, which was built in the 17th century. Its name comes from the blue tiles which decorate the interior. After we stopped for a group photo, we crossed the street to visit the Hagia Sophia or St. Wisdom. This church was built by Justinian in the 6th century A.D. It had the largest dome in the ancient world and it was the largest church building too. This record remained until the construction of St. Peter Basilica in Rome. It is decorated with beautiful mosaics and frescos.

We stopped for lunch near the Hippodrome, some of the group ate in the Pudding Cafe.

After lunch we visited the Byzantine Cistern which held 80,000 cubic meters of water. It is famous for appearing in the James Bond Movie "To Russia with Love" where they ran speed boats through the cistern. It was constructed during the reign of Justinian.

We then walked to the National Archaeological Museum. There we saw the famous Siloam inscription and Gezer Calendar. We also saw the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. In the Near Eastern Building we saw several of the baked glazed tile animals and figures which once lined the entrance way to the Ishtar gate from ancient Babylon. We also saw the earliest international peace treaty between the Hittites and Egyptians.

Then we walked back to the bus and returned to our hotel. We are looking forward to tomorrow when we will visit the Chora Church and Topkapi Palace. We also take a boat ride on the Bosphorus.

John Wineland
Istanbul, Turkey


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