December 2012

The old city is the peninsula in the center left. Many of the walls that fortified the ancient city
on all sides are still standing.

View of the Bosporus from the roof of my hotel in the old city.  The Bosporus
is one of the most crowded straights in the world with cargo ships
from all over the world moving between the Black Sea,
 the Sea of Marmara, and finally south to the Aegean Sea.

The old city viewed from Galata Tower, across the Golden Horn on foot
over Galata Bridge (at the left), full of Mosques and Minarets. The hotel
of the photo above would be on the left out of the picture looking south
over the Bosporus and the Sea of Marmara.  The Golden Horn is an arm of the sea,
like a short river, that makes the old city of Byzantium (Constantinople, Istanbul)
into a peninsula surrounded by water and ancient city walls.

From the shoreline boardwalk in the evening, with the many ships waiting
their turn to enter the Bosporus on the way to the Black Sea.

Again, evening on the boardwalk of the old city.

From the old city. Beautiful minarets grace the skyline in
every direction, calling the faithful to prayer five times a day.

The historic Hagia Sophia graces the center of the old city, across the square from
 the beautiful Blue Mosque.  It was dedicated in 360 CE as an Eastern Orthodox
cathedral and the seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In the 13th century
it was a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire 57 years before
being restored to Eastern Orthodoxy.  In 1453 Constantinople was captured
by the Ottoman Turks and became a Mosque until 1931 when it was
secularized.  It became a museum in 1935.

Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom)

Hagia Sophia

The interior of Hagia Sophia.  Since human images are prohibited in mosques,
the Christian figures in mosaics were covered over during the Ottoman period.
Today, some of them have been uncovered revealing the immense Christian as
well as the tremendous Moslem past of the building.

Another photo of the interior.

The elegant walkway from Hagia Sophia to Topkapi Palace that occupies
a huge area overlooking the waterfront of the Golden Horn and Bosphorus.
The palace served as the primary residence of Ottoman Sultans for some 400 years
of their 624 year reign (1465-1856).  The palace was constructed shortly after
the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in the 15th century.

Constantine's Tower, commemorating Constantine the Great who founded Byzantium as
the capital of the Byzantine Empire.  The entire city (the old city of today) was surrounded by
walls during the fifth century protecting it from conquest from both land and water.

This was the largest of many cisterns built beneath Constantinople, built in the 6th
century not far from Hagia Sophia, during the reign of Justinian. It is nearly 10,000 square
meters, capable of holding 80,000 cubic meters of water.

My friend Ahmet Akcan (right) is a lawyer in Istanbul and director of a foundation
for preserving and promoting the arts.  He is here with an artist who does the beautiful
work in silver and other mediums as seen on the walls of this room.

Here Ahmet has brought me to meet one of the world's master book binders who
restores old books for museums all over the world (pictured on the right). With
us are two women who work with him in his workshop where we are standing.

Esra Alan Akcan (left, wife of Ahmet Akcan). To the right of me (weaking the

IKU hat they gave me) is Dr. Omer Kormaz.  They kindly organized a seminar

for me with themselves and several doctoral law students to speak about the

Earth Constitution and the need for effective world law.

Haji Syed Salman Chishty    Ridade Fidan    Murid of Rifai Shyakh Tayyar,  Sufi master Shyakh Tayyar Baba


Sufi Whirling Dervishes.  A work of art, not a photo taken by me.

The Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque), on the square opposite the Hagia Sophia, so named
for the light shed by the many blue tiles that make its interior very beautiful.

Another view of the Blue Mosque, built between 1609 and 1616, an immense
architectural and aesthetic accomplishment.

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