Day 7. 8 April 2010.
Last day in Istanbul, unfortunately. For two hours early morning after Fajr prayer, I walked through Istanbul, traced back previous route for another photo shots, and visited landmarks have not been previously visited. After breakfast, we spent the day by visiting Miniaturk and then last minute shopping.
My plan in this early morning was to trace back some routes to obtain another photo shots. But opportunity seems not repeatable. That morning the sky was very cloudy, very contrast to one during my first day.
From Ebusuud Cad (Hotel Erboy), I walked to Blue Mosque, Arasta Bazaar then to Kucuk Ayasofia Camii. This camii (mosque) was formerlythe Church of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus later converted into a mosque during the Ottoman Empire. This Byzantine building with a central dome plan was erected in the 6th century and was a model for the Hagia Sophia, the main church of the Byzantine Empire.
From this camii, I headed to Beyazit Camii and Istanbul University via Hippodrome and Divan Yolu Street.
The Beyazidye Camii was commissioned by Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II, and was the second large imperial mosque complex to be erected in Istanbul after the Conquest. Stones for construction were brought from the famous Church of the Life-giving Spring destroyed by the Turks.
The camii is located next to Istanbul University gate, and west of Kapali Carsi (Grand Bazaar).
Istanbul University was founded as an institution of higher education named the Darülfünûn (‘House of Multiple Sciences’) on 23 July 1846; but the Medrese (‘School of theological and environmental sciences’), which was founded immediately after Mehmed II conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, is regarded as the precursor to the Darülfünûn which evolved into Istanbul University
From the front gate of the University, I walked along University westside perimeter streets that takes me to Sulaymaniye Camii. It was about 600m walk. Sulaymaniye Camii is the second largest mosque in the city, and one of the best-known sights of Istanbul. The Mosque was built on the order of Sultan Süleyman (Süleyman the Magnificent); and designed by the architectural genius of Sinan Pasha (1489-1588). The construction work began in 1550 and the mosque was finished in 1558.
When I visited that morning, the mosque has been undergone major renovation to bring it back to its glory.
From here, I decided to go back to hotel for breakfast and preparation to go to Miniaturk.
Miniatürk is a miniature park situated at the north-eastern shore of Golden Horn in Istanbul. Covers a total area of 60,000 m2 (650,000 sq ft), it is the world’s largest miniature park with its 15,000 m2 model area. The park contains 105 models done in 1/25th scale from Istanbul, Anatolia and Ottoman territories.
Miniaturk is best visited by taxi. It costs between 15-20 TL from Sultanahmet.
In addition to miniatures, Miniaturk has a large space area of playground and go-kart area.
Finished with Miniaturk, I escorted my wife to Sirkeci Station for taking a suburban train to Olivium Outlet Center. Meanwhile I spent the rest of the day to – again – Spice Bazaar and Sirkeci Train Museum. This free museum (located at the left side of the station near international counters) features nostalgic displays of Sirkeci of being terminus of Orient Express. The Orient Express is the name of a long-distance passenger train. The two city names most prominently associated with the Orient Express are Paris and Istanbul, the original endpoints of the timetabled service. In 1977, the Orient Express stopped serving Istanbul, and on 14 December 2009, the Orient Express ceased to operate and the route disappeared from European railway timetables, reportedly a “victim of high-speed trains and cut-rate airlines.
To end the day, we tasted Turkish delights and mouthwatering grills and food of Istanbul.