Wednesday, July 14, 2010
July 13 – Going Underground in Istanbul
After the fall of Constantinople, the cistern fell into disuse under the Ottomans, and it became a huge underground rubbish dump – thousands of tons of centuries-old garbage had to be removed in the 1970s, when they decided to see what was down there. There were hardly any other visitors in this dank and eerie underground cavern, and although there wasn't really much to see other than soaking up the historic subterranean atmosphere, we stayed down there for a while just to get out of the searing heat above ground.
Having cooled down nicely, we went on a walking tour of Sultanahmet, passing the huge dome of the magnificent Aya Sofya, past the soaring minarets of the Blue Mosque and through the crowded Grand Bazaar, before returning to the ship. We've loved our time in Istanbul – this is definitely one of the world's great cities.