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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Istanbul odds and ends.....

Had a great chance to go and visit the Chora church.  Like every church in Istanbul...accept Hagia Irene...this little church was turned into a mosque and it's late Byzantine frescos where plastered over as to not offend.  Thankfully it is now a museum and the plaster actually had the unintended effect of preserving many of the churches amazing marble frescos from the 1300's.   It is a breathtakingly beautiful gem.  Had to hike to find it, off the beaten path, just inside the old walls that guarded the city.

Speaking of walls, took a hike along the city walls that were built to defend Constantinople from intruders.  One of the best fortified cities in the world.  All in all the walls stretch some 13 miles around the old city and were only breached twice...sadly by the fourth crusade thieves and thugs that looted their fellow Christians as they decided not to go all the way to the Holy Land, and they wanted something for their trouble 1204 AD and teh Ottoman invastion in 1453 which spelled the end of Constantinople hello Istanbul!  The gates pictured where the ones that Sultan Mehmet the conquerer rode through after taking the city.

Marble Fresco in the dome of the Chora Church
Christ king of the Universe


The humble outsides of the Chora Church. It's all
about Mary inside.Chora means house of the
uncontainable...eg Mary with Chirst within

Here are the steps going up, no guard rail, and no
railing up top. If you are stupid enough
to fall you only can blame yourself.  Can you
imagine this in America?  It would be all
sanitized and declared unsafe...yet somehow folks
manage?

view from the top of the wall


Here is a section of the wall from
the 5th century.  This was the main
Imperial gate into the city

Fresco of Madonna and Child in the Chora church..stunning.


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