Saturday, July 21, 2012

Constantinople’s 6th Century Basilica Cistern

Amid the teem­ing bus­tle of Istan­bul's over­all pop­u­la­tion of 13 mil­lion peo­ple there is yet a dark­ly quiet place to find seren­i­ty. 

Much of the time you must turn your head side­ways to view Istan­bul's impres­sive archi­tec­ture in entire­ty if close; around the thor­ough­fares you strain your eyes to find the end of traf­fic over­flow­ing with count­less vehi­cles; you cover your ears from the unpleas­ant horns of impa­tient dri­vers; and you try hard not to curse the motor­bikes abrupt­ly appear­ing behind you on the side­walks. 

On the other hand, you enjoyathan, a pow­er­ful and melod­ic call to prayer, ema­nat­ing from impos­ing mosques with end­less domes and minarets. You hear street sell­ers shout­ing "sıcak simit" (hot simit) at the top of their lungs. You enjoy the smell of simit - a coiled sesame bread ring like a bagel (and maybe its inspi­ra­tion – and a pletho­ra of other foods sold all around this great city.