My visits to Istanbul are quite limited; we take a few weeks off a year for a short vacation and we try to fit everything we want to do in those few weeks. Since we almost always go in the summer time, the days are long and the sun sets after 8…by that time, we’ve already been in the streets for a good 8 to 10 hours and we’re dead tired so we head back home…

We go to Sultanahmet square as a mission. It’s either to look for something, or buy something specific, but not site seeing. We don’t get to enjoy the beauty of the square…we just pass through it!

This year we went to Istanbul in January, the winter time…when the days were short and the sun set at 5 p.m. Being used to a previous routine of ‘coming back home before sunset’, we had to readjust everything. I decided that I was going to take it easy on this trip…no commitments, no running around to buy gifts…I would just relax and go with the flow. I had always want to go to Sultanahmet in the evenings…to experience the darkness of the night brightened up with city lights…to experience a different Istanbul than that I am used to seeing..

And so we set out, with my family, to have a night out at the historic and beautiful Sultanahmet…

We arrived there just as the sun had set…darkness hadn’t completely taken over the city. The blue skies still had some light in them…and the final rays of the set sun left a beautiful gradient over the horizon!

Sultanahmet Mosque..this view is from the street behind the mosque

Sultanahmet Mosque..this view is from the street behind the mosque

 

We headed towards the mosque, wanting to find a way in so we can perform our night prayer (Maghrib)…the way the sky looked took my breath away…

Market place at Sultanahmet

Market place at Sultanahmet

 

Sultanahmet Mosque and adjacent shops

Sultanahmet Mosque and adjacent shops

 

Side view of Sultanahmet mosque

Side view of Sultanahmet mosque

 

A minaret of Sultanahmet mosque

A minaret of Sultanahmet mosque

 

Sultanahmet mosque - view from front door

Sultanahmet mosque – view from front door

 

These faucets placed outside the mosque are mainly for worshippers to renew their ablution (wudhu), washing themselves before praying. Of course, given the cold temperatures, the water was ice cold

Water faucets at Sultanahmet mosqu

Water faucets at Sultanahmet mosque

 

My husband, Mohammed, taking pictures with his phone

My husband, Mohammed, taking pictures with his phone

 

Those little specks you see over the dome of the mosque are birds in the sky!!!

Sultanahmet Mosque and fountain

Sultanahmet Mosque and fountain

 

Heliopolis in Sultanahmet

Heliopolis in Sultanahmet

 

If it’s one thing i’ve noticed about the cats that live in this area, they’re clean and plump…and they don’t scare away from people that get close to them. Maybe it’s the cold weather and they want to warm up, but they actually get closer to you if you sit down..

Cat

 

 

The most famous meal one can have at Sultanahmet is Sultanahmet kofte. We went into this small restaurant…small but packed! All they have to order is Sultanahmet kofte and lamb chops. Although it might seem that these 5 small koftes won’t fill you up, we were full and satisfied!!

Sultanahmet koftesi

Sultanahmet koftesi

 

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

 

The streets of Istanbul and the metro line passing through

The streets of Istanbul and the metro line passing through

 

This girl, about 12 years of age, was walking around in the cold weather selling flower rings. My brothers and mom had a fun chat with her before we got some flower rings for my nieces.

Little girl selling flower rings

Little girl selling flower rings

 

Sultanahmet is beautiful…especially in the evening….it’s a pity that it took me this many years to experience this side of its beauty….

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