Hi beautiful person,

How are you?

This is meant to be the most important selfie’ of our lives. Right in the middle of Hagia Sophia, with the dome in the background.

This ladder was used for centuries to change the chandeliers and reach heights in the building.

Background story…..

My mum invited my older sister, Jessica and I to Turkey with my Aunt. I was excited, finally I was going to visit this  beautiful country. Once we arrived in Instanbul I could not wait to start exploring. At first we were a bit reluctant to do much because of how unpredictable our world has become. But one cannot live life fearful of the unknown. All we can do is pray to be at the right place at the right time!

The beginning…..

On the third morning we finally met someone who could speak English. I gave him the whole ‘ l’m a blogger’ dialogue, ‘I need to explore the country blah blah blah….’ He got the gist and agreed to bring us to a tourist site. He introduced himself as Sanity and he became our first Turkish friend. I’ll leave the imagination of my mum’s reaction to you when I told her ‘I would be following a man I met down the road to a  tourist site’. Personally I was surprised he agreed to escort us on a sightseeing trip. He was such a gentle man!

*The Turkish made us feel like celebrities . Every time we were out on the streets, we were stopped for a picture. We even had a lady who got us to sing  ‘Happy Birthday’ to her brother on the phone. It got a bit uncomfortable after a while.

Hagia Sophia

Sanity recommended we visit the ‘ Hagia Sophia’ . When we steped into the grounds of this historical building , I was happy I made the decision to step out of my comfort zone. It was honestly awesome , I felt like I was in the scene of a movie! The weather was perfect and as you would expect there were people everywhere. The queue was riduclously long luckily Metin Koca the tour guide came along. I paid 50 dollars for a 40 minutes tour including the bonus of skipping the queue. Metin Koca smiled and said this is the most important museum in the entire world. The building itself is 1500 years old…

Some interesting facts

  • The ‘ Hagia Sophia’ itself has represented two major civilisations for centuries. The Byzantuim church and the Ottoman mosque are the most famous.
  • Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest and longest surving examples of the Byantine architecture, rich with mosaics and marble pillar.
  • Hagia Sophia was originally built as a church in the time of Constantine a great Christian Empire and remained a functioning church until May 1453.
  •  It was converted into a mosque by Sultan Mehment after 1453 and now serves as great examples for other mosques including the Blue Mosque .
  • There has been little changes to accomordate the Islamic faith. The mihrab (prayer niche), minbar (pulpit) and a wooden minaret have been added into the building .
  • The images that represented the Christian Faith e.g the Last Supper, the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus have been plastered due to the Islamic prohibition of figurative imagery.

I found it interesting that the East End of the building was the main focus. Traditionally the Christians prayed towards the East while Muslims pray facing Mecca which is the southeast of Instanbul. By the time we finished the tour and made our way towards the Blue Mosque ( right across the Hagia Sophia). It was time for the Islamic prayer which meant we had to wait for 20 minutes before entering the building. We would also need scarves to cover our hair. In the mean time, a man invited us to his shop to see the exhibition of his work. A family business that had been running for 40 years. By the time we were done at this exhibition, we called it a day.

I could continue sharing about the ‘Hagia Sophia’ but that would be Metin Koca’s job . If you are on your holidays in Turkey I’ll recommend you visit ‘Hagia Sophia’ , you can thank me afterwards! I asked curiously why people were so eager to get a picture with us. Metin Koca said it was because there wasn’t a lot of Africans in Turkey. We drew a lot of attention to ourselves especially seeming as we were tourists plus we were beautiful girls!  His answer was good enough for me, especially the last part.

Hagia Sophia İstanbul
How magical does this place look at night? Photo Credits: fusion-of-horizons, Pedro Szekely

Thank you so much for staying till the end.

See you soon

Florence.

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