Wanderlust: Istanbul

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ositioned at the crossroads of the East and the West, Istanbul is made up of an enchanting mix of the Middle East both culturally and religiously, with heavy influences from the European and Asian continents. I have never visited a city with such diverse social and artistic pursuits as Istanbul.  Although geography has a great deal to do with this juxtaposition, religion may have had an even greater impact.


 Imagine wandering down the small alleyways of The Grand Bizarre – straight out of The Arabian Nights – with Islamic prayer calls in the background and the smell of Arabic, slightly Buddhist temple like incense filling the air. An Arabian souq (souk) filled with vibrantly colored spices and foods in all directions, haggling shopkeepers wooing you to look at their goods, beautiful fabrics and silk rugs hang from the ceiling. Mix in the liberalness of a modern European market and you’ve arrived. I know I wouldn’t be the first to call Istanbul magical or enchanting, but these are essential words when describing the city.


 One of the most beautiful parts of visiting Istanbul was having the opportunity to experience Islam first hand in a country that supports the truly inclusive and progressive nature of the religion, in light of Islamic extremism making front page news the world over.


As a Jew, it was really lovely to find myself lost in the beauty and mysticism of both The Ayasofia (formerly a Roman Orthodox Church converted into a Mosque during the Ottoman Empire) and The Blue Mosque. This was my first experience exploring an operational Mosque in a predominately  Islamic nation.  More than anything, it opened my eyes to the ironic yet endless similarities between Islam and Judaism.





Photo Captions (from left, down)

The Spice Market | Rick, Linda & Me At Topkapi Palace | A Jew Entering The Blue Mosque
Steps Found On My Morning Run | Fresh Pomegranate Juice-Delish | A Window View From The Ayasofya
Wall Of Arabic Letters At Topkapi Palace | Ceiling At The Dolmabahce Palace-Cameras Prohibited
Dear Turkish Friend Natali & Me Outside The Grand Bizarre | Server at Cahide Supper Club-Not To Be Missed
The Blue Mosque | Ayasofya-Church Converted To A Mosque

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