Welcome to Istanbul, the secular land of religious architecture. In the photo above, you can see not only the breathtaking Blue Mosque but also an obelisk in the center of a hippodrome. Looking back on my travels, I feel very privileged to have seen the inside of this building. Despite the fact that mosaic art has been banned by Islamic Law, the entire inside of the mosque is covered wall-to-wall by beautiful delicate and colorful tiles. However, as much as I enjoyed being inside the Blue Mosque, the adjacent church Anaya Sophia is more spectacular on the inside. The funny thing about man of these buildings in Istanbul is the ostrich eggs hanging from the ceiling to ward off spiders (the decaying smell undetectable to humans AND keeps spiders out).
The other really amazing thing about Istanbul and her architecture is the Cistern. Across the street from Anaya Sophia, there is a small bus stop / office building. Go inside the building and purchase your ticket to go venture down into the depths below the roaring city. Once you walk down a few flights of narrow stairs, which are very dimly lit, you open up your eyes to an underground water cistern that was built in the 4th Century (aka over 1700 years old) to protect the city from invasion. This giant source of water allowed the city to still clean, cook, and generally function while under siege. Extremely useful, since the city has been invaded many times.The cistern has 220 columns that are at least 20 feet high. Each column is 20 meters apart in all directions, making for a very large water cistern underneath the city. Awesome.
The tiered architecture of the buildings and the style of churches constructing hippodromes on top of each other, makes for unimaginable views and a fantastic place to visit. Today, we drive cars through arches that used to carry water from the mountains far away into the city. This view of automobiles driving under each archway holding up the aqueducts is surreal. Each archway is big enough for one lane of cars. Too funny is my mind. It is one of the top 5 things/places to see in the world on my list. To be quite honest, I find it more majestic than the pyramids of Giza.
I have explored 76 countries, no hand holding, no tour guides just a drive to see, smell, taste, experience, and enjoy the earth. I have been on Reality Television and spend much of my time giving back to the community. From a unique perspective of sports, adventure and travel.