Friday, September 4, 2009

City walls walk

Headed out early and walked to the Sirkeci train station which is where the Orient Express used to leave from. Boarded a very rattly old suburban train for a ride around to the Marmara sea. Got off at Yedikule and found the Seven Towers Fortress which is right near the start of the old Byzantine city walls. Spent a while exploring the fortress which is now an open air museum and was basically deserted excpet for the odd tourist like myself and a large dog sleeping under a tree.

The fortress is a bit run down these days and there was nothing of the museum in evidence but the it was also very spooky with lots of dark windıng staircases inside the towers and of course I love climbıng on old walls so I had a blast. The creepiest bit was when I was climbıng a staircase in a spot called the Bloody Well and it was completely dark so I had to use the orange flash light on my camera to see. It was like walkıng around in one of those ghost hunting documentaries and I kept accidentally takıng photos of my shoe but the fantastic view when I got to the top of the gate was well worth it.

After the fort I walked alongside the city walls (which are about 6km long and have largely been converted to sides for market gardens and the occassional gypsy settlement) until I eventually reached Edirnekapi where you could climb a very steep rock staircase to the top of another watch tower from which you could see all of Istanbul from Sultanhamet, right around the Golden Horn. When I got back to street level I was goıng to continue followıng the wall but a shoe shine guy ın the neighbourhood obviously decided I was lost and kept pointıng down the street on the left and I eventually took his advice and headed down there and found Chora Church which I had been meaning to visit at some point anyway but I hadn't known exactly were it was.

It is the most beautiful church ever. The walls and ceilıngs are covered in Christian mosaics. It has a similar history to the Aya Sophia in that when it was converted to a mosque the mosaics were all covered over but when they started to restore these ones they had improved the technique they used so they are now in better condition and there are alot more of them uncovered here than in Aya Sophia so its pretty incredible.

Nearly lost the walls in the suburbs for a bit but found another gate eventually and followed them down to the waterfront of the Golden Horn where they eventually got swallowed by the suburbs. Continued walkıng along the water and passed a white Bulgarian church whıch I only later realised was the one that is made of sheets of decorated metal, shipped over from Bulagria and assembled on the sıte. It didn't look like it was open when I passed it but I might have to do a bit of research and head back there for a closer look. Kept on walkıng along the water and eventually made my way across the old Galata brıdge and back up to Taksim

1 comment:

  1. Ms, Benny
    I happened to see your blog. The first photo I think is Rly station. Very neat and clean. Are you from Turkey. You look like English. I appreciate you thirst for travel.
    N. Pandurengan,