Istanbul serves us as a gentle introduction to the Middle East, after all, this city still has one foot in Europe. A fantastic backdrop of domes, minarets and water, but also a vibrant nightlife, hardly any headscarves…

Hagia Sofia (6th century) is also a good historical introduction, as it is the architectural model for many mosques. Here, for the first time in history, a dome was placed on four points. The whole thing was completed in only 5 years. Inside, there is currently a huge scaffolding, which takes away the impression of the weightlessly floating dome, but adds an interesting perspective. The Ottoman mosques were built almost 1000 years later, but are no less fascinating.

We take a ferry along the Bosporus, two suspension bridges stretch across it, linking Asia with Europe. At the northernmost point, we climb to a ruined castle, with a good view of the sea lane where large ships constantly pass by. The green landscape is dotted with red Turkish flags, probably so that no one forgets where they are.

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Backpacking trip Middle East and Caucasus 2008
Turkish Black Sea Coast
Museums in Ankara and Antakya