Selen had classes today, so Roby joined us for our second day in the city. While we woke to pouring rain, it abated around 10:00 and held with only short bursts for most of the day.
Our first stop was the Topkapi Palace, subject of Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio and home, at one point, to Selim the Sot, who drowned in the bath after drinking too much champagne. Work on the palace began in 1453, shortly after the Conquest and sultans continued to inhabit it until the 19th century. The Palace is comprised of 4 courts; the first court was open to all, the second only to people on imperial business, the third only to the imperial family, VIP’s and palace staff while the fourth was “family quarters.” A huge palace, we spent a couple hours poking through the buildings and enjoying the riches in the treasury. We even found a gruesome relic in the treasures; St. John’s head and arm.
Lunch was followed by a trip to the Grand Bazaar. This covered world is, in truth, the precursor to the modern shopping mall, with shop after shop selling everything under the sun but with particular attention paid to carpets, scarves, jewelry, instruments, shoes, leather and belly dancing costumes. (Dan got a spectacular one!)
As we headed home, the rain began again in earnest encouraging us to choose a quiet night in and out of the cold..