Friday, July 16, 2010

Constantinople: The Patriarchate

After lingering a rather long time in Hagia Sophia, we then made our way across the street to the Basilica Cistern, where, unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to get good photos.

As they seem wont to do in these Byzantine monuments, the Turks were installing some kind of weird modern art exhibit in the cistern when we went. In the photo above, I was trying to capture one of the "artists" (forgive my skepticism) climbing out of the water after he hung some mobiles over the water. You can see the outline of one in the upper right corner of the photo, along with the scaffolding they erected for this purpose.

Here is one of the two famous--and enormous--Medusa heads that serve as column bases.

After the cool of the cistern, we headed back out into the rising heat of the day and took a quick walk through the Grand Bazaar. One of our all-male company (who shall remain anonymous) joked that if we had any women in our group, we'd never leave there.

Above and below--walking through the Grand Bazaar.

Here we are just outside the Grand Bazaar and in front of the one of Istanbul's famous mosques, but to be honest I can't say for sure which one it is.

Another view of the city from that point.

We then walked over the Galata Bridge to head back to our hotel. All along the bridge men stand and fish. There's also a walkway on the lower level with cafes.

Paris standing on the Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn.

We collected our things from the hotel and hopped in the mini-van to head to the Patriarchate on our way out of the city. Here, Paris and I are standing at the entrance, where Patriarch Gregory V was hanged by the Turks for encouraging the Greeks to revolt.

Inside the courtyard, looking at the front of the rather modest St. George's, which is the current seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch.

Fr. Panayiotis and Paris inside the church, venerating the relics of St. Euphemia, among others.

Me standing in front of the ornate iconostasis in St. George's.

After our quick visit there, since it was growing quite late and we had a long drive home ahead of us, we headed out. Unfortunately, we got caught again in the city's horrendous traffic and it probably took two hours for us to get 15 km outside the city. After that, it was smooth sailing. We made only one brief stop, where we caught the last moments of Spain's victory over Germany, which was loved by Greeks, who tended to side with one of their brethren PIGS countries against the despots of the EU, Germany.

We finally rolled into Thessaloniki after over 8 hours in the car around 1:30 AM, but it was a wonderful trip and well worth the effort to venerate the holy sites.

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