Istanbul a Mystifying Experience

This is the first time I have ever gone to Istanbul and what a mystical, exotic place it is with so many sights and sounds to see. Stepping back in time to the 6th century the underground dark remains of the Palace Cistern takes you back to the Byzantine and Roman eras. With artefacts that seem to be staring at you and a darkness that fills the palace with cold air this is a thrill seekers paradise.

Walking through the dark underground palace on old cobbled floors leading to rooms that look like large caves, we spotted descending stairs leading to beautiful roman architecture. Leading off from the architecture we came across the bases of two columns blocks carved with the face of Medusa, who was a Greek goddess and was from the family of Gorgons who were known for their power and being of monstrous form. Three hundred and thirty-six illuminated long rows of pillars which radiated red light down to a corridor were brought before us and we wondered where this cobbled paths would take us next.

We spotted the old cistern which the palace was originally used for to store huge amounts of water. At this point we encountered what seemed like an eerie shadow which illuminated light was it a ghost or just a reflection from our surroundings? We quickly moved ahead brisk walking to see the channels which were filled with water hosted an array of carp fish which were circulating inside the greeny blue pools of water. The classical background music played throughout our visit and added to the historical atmosphere. Nearing the end of our tour there was a chance to make a wish and throw a coin into the cistern as legend has it that if you throw a coin into the well your wish will come true. As I peered into the wells I saw lots of coins embedded onto the surface of the pools looks like many people have made their wish here.
Perhaps this wasn’t the best place to visit with my two kids who wanted to pull every artefact within reach, however they seemed to fall asleep by the end of the tour thank god! It is very dark inside this palace, not a place I would want to wander in alone so luckily I went with the family. Reaching the end of the underground palace a light shone before us yes it was the exit out and a nice burst of sunshine refreshing us from the darkness. As the palace is situated in the town of Sultanahmet we had many other sights we could venture out into such as the Topkapi Palace the breathtaking blue mosque. We thought to take a detour and look at the popular attraction of the Spice and Grand Bazaar. The bazaars resemble that of a colourful Moroccan souk. Inside the Spice bazaar it had rows and rows of mini outlets with hospitable shop owners asking us to taste Turkish delight and fresh apple tea. In each shop you get a chance to taste before you buy so with the sweet tooth that I have it was a place well worth visiting!

T Nazeer

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