Back to the comedy of life, I woke up and looked at the iPad by the bed. It said 7 and I rejoiced because that meant I had slept better - in fact, so well that I must have missed the call to prayer that begins around 6am. I got up, turned on the light, and woke Kim up….just about the time that I realized my iPad had never connected to wifi and that meant it was 7PM in Memphis and 3am in Istanbul. Oops. Kim got back to sleep and I stayed up. At least I was able to get my cell phone to start working with Verizon.
Tried to sleep and couldn’t. Got up and did some yoga. Finally, we got breakfast around 8:30. I finally had real Turkish coffee and WOW. This stuff is amazing!!! It’s almost sweet without having sugar. It is so delicious. And the bottom is just a thick sludge of grounds. Yum. And very energizing, to say the least. LET’S GO!!!!
The first areas before one even enters the main HUGE chamber is still gigantic. The ceilings are tall and the doors are (about) 20 feet high. Everything is a beautiful marble with a few concrete fixes. The amount of money and time to make this place…I can’t even wrap my head around it. The age of this place is obvious. When you see the warp of the marble floors from the CENTURIES of people walking on them…it blows my mind. I have felt this in similar buildings that are icons of human existence and the feeling never lessens.
On this floor, there were more examples of beautiful Islamic pattern with hints of Christian secrets being uncovered. Turning the corner to the far wall and there it was. I remember being tested on this very mosaic in an Art History Survey I class my freshman or sophomore year. To see it in person was brilliant, especially the form that IS the mosaic tiles. Admittedly, I wasn’t overly fond of it or any Byzantine artwork before today, even after grad school research on the appropriation without full comprehension of Roman styles mixed with Eastern aesthetics. From this point forward after seeing it in context and in reality, my opinion has changed.
Finally, we decided to head to the Basilica Cistern which was pretty much RIGHT there. I had been told that it would take very little time to see, but to DEFINITELY see this place. On the way over, we saw this funny street sign. The top 2 directions were to Babylon and another lost city, so the mileage was in roman numerals. :) This seemingly unimportant stone and its explanation were here too, amongst the moving cars and modern life.
Soon we found the door to a small-looking building with this explanation. We purchased our tickets and headed downstairs. And herein begins my switch to the Clash of the Titans (circa 1981) set.