Rome to Istanbul – Day 9-10 (Istanbul)

Fifteen million inhabitants is a lot of people. We were told that the density here is second only to Shanghai. I don’t doubt that for a minute (but wikipedia differs). We arrrived early Saturday morning and left for the airport Sunday early (2:45 AM). I never saw a road that wasn’t clogged.

We sailed up the Bosphorous and docked on the European side. It is the only capital city spanning two continents (in this case Europe and Asia).

These shots are of Hagia Sophia and the Topakapi Palace at dawn.

Our excursion this morning was a sail up the Bosphorus to a Yali house. Yali houses are waterfront mansions lining the Bosphorus (mainly on the Asian side). They are traditionally built from wood, and were popular during the reign of the Ottoman Empire when rich owners used them as a second home. This one was purchased by Salih Efendi (chief surgeon/doctor to the Sultan) in the 1840s. It started as three rooms but was expanded over the years. What remains today is one third of the compound. His three daughters inherited it and two of the three sold off their portions. A fourth generation of Efendi live there today.

Not far away was Rumeli Fortress built by Mehmet the Conqueror in preparation for the attack on Constantinople (Istanbul today).

Finally after dinner we went for an evening tour of the city. It was certainly all lit up.

As you can see the Bosphorus was still abuzz with activity.

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