19.12.2011 - 19.12.2011
There are a lot of seagulls in Istanbul, or at least the area we are staying in. It sounds like we are at a sea dock sometimes. Not sure if they are a slightly different species of seagull than we have, but when they start calling, their initial sounds sometimes make me think a girl nearby is getting mugged.
We spent most of the day in the Topkapı Palace, which is the palace of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire. Including in our sights was the harem, which was beautifully decorated, and the treasury.
This is one of the gates into the palace, though I'm not exactly sure as things were a little muddled getting there.
Afterwards we went to the Basilica Cistern, which is an underground cistern for supplying water to the city during a siege. Stone walkways have been built to allow people to walk around the columns. There is some water still in there with fish inside.
Amongst the columns are some Medusa's heads. I'm guessing a temples and/or other ruins were cannibalised to construct the cistern, rather than being decoration, since the Medusa's heads are either upside down or on their side and not all the columns in the cistern are the same shape.
Unfortunately we fly out tomorrow, but it is an evening flight so hopefully we will see some of the mosques tomorrow before leaving.