Mecidiye Mosque Mosque through the windows of the Ortakoy ferry terminal Early morning scene Mosque interior Door Fishing boat frenzy Rumeli Castle 1 Rumeli Castle 2 Rumeli Castle 3 Rumeli castle 4 Martin sketches at Rumeli Castle Dam We leave dock Bridge from our boat Mecidiye Mosque and Bosphorus Bridge from boat The journey ends Bread on the dock Cob boiler by Haghia Sophia Haghia Sophia through fountains Haghia Sophia
Day starts with a visit to Mecidiye Mosque on the waterfront, at the foot of the Bosphorus Bridge – delightfully feminine. Other treats include Rumeli Castle, built by Mehmet the Conqueror as a first step in the conquest of Constantinople. With different viziers responsible for building different towers and the sultan in charge of the walls, the structure went up in an unbelievable four months. The fortress was soon nicknamed ‘Throat-cutter’, as it rapidly strangled the flow of ships through the Bosphorus.
We also see a dam which supplies water through a viaduct system to the city, where I found a profusion of lizards and a froglet: extraordinary feeling to have such a tiny, complex life-form in the palm of one’s hand, as Mehmet eventually held fate of Constantinople in his. Then a Bosphorus boat trip, seeing many of the mosques, castles and palaces we have visited from the water.
In the evening, Elaine and I head back to Haghia Sophia, walking in the calm of the evening – and absorbing the magic of this 1,400-year-old structure that has held such an important place in millions of hearts as it transitioned from church to cathedral to mosque to museum.