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Category:Europe

Translating History At The Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum wasn’t as cool (literally) as I thought it would be, but the beautiful Tiled Kiosk made up for it.

 

The Tiled Kiosk at The Archaeological Museum in #Istanbul, #Turkey.

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

I love the frigid relief of an air conditioned museum on a hot summer day. I was hoping for the same kind of relief at the Archaeological Museum, but the air conditioning there was lukewarm. The air was still and stuffy inside, but it was better than baking in the sun.

The Archaeological Museum, located near Gulhane Park and the Topkapi Palace, consists of three buildings. One of which is the Tiled Kiosk. It contains a huge collection of beautiful and vibrant turquoise and dark blue tiles, which are thousands of years old, that contrasts perfectly with the plain white walls it’s mounted on.

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Escaping The Heat In The Basilica Cistern

Stay cool below ground with a visit to the Basilica Cistern and stick around for a nice cup of Turkish coffee in the underground cafe.

 

A Medusa found in the Basilica Cistern to ward off evil spirits. #Istanbul #Turkey #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

The Basilica Cistern is a cool place to hide out from Istanbul’s blazing afternoon sun. The entrance often gets bottlenecked since the flight of stairs begins inches away from the ticket booth. It quickly descend into the cistern and everyone clutters at the foot to take pictures of the dome ceilings and the Corinthian columns.

The Basilica Cistern lies beneath the Sultanahmet Square, also known as the Hippodrome, near The Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque. It served as a water reservoir for the Great Palace of Constantinople and the Topkapi Palace during the Ottoman Empire.

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Sultanahmet Square Comes To Life

If the obelisks in Sultanahmet Square could talk, they’d have plenty to say about the area’s history over the centuries.

 

Sultanahmet Square, also known as the Hippodrome, in #Istanbul, #Turkey. #Travel

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

During the Byzantine period, the Hippodrome was the center of Constantinople’s largest social gatherings. This was the arena where their passion for horse and chariot racing took place. It was the only place where the emperor and the masses came together in one venue. And at times, it was also a place for political debates.

The Hippodrome, now known as the Sultanahmet Square, is still a major social scene. It’s like New York City’s Times Square, but without all the lights, especially during Ramadan. Families of three generations gather together, plop their behinds on the grassy courtyard to mark their spot for the next few hours before the sun sets. They sit and chat as they await for the first meal of the day.

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