Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Hidden Nook of Istanbul

Şehzade Cihangir Camii (Jihangir Mosque) despite its small size and apparent insignificance amidst the monuments of Istanbul has a commanding view of the Bosphorus. It was built in 1559 but renovated by Abdulhamit II in 1889.

Most tourists who made the journey up towards the Black Sea would have noticed this sentinel watching the passing shipping traffic but probably would not have found it in their guide books. It's perched on the steep slopes over looking the Bosphorus in a historic and bohemian part of the city.

The minarets and dome of the mosque sever the horizon so that as one passes down from the north one sees a silhouette that beautifully frames the distance spires of the city. It can be reached by walking up a network of old stairways that start from busy road that takes the traffic down the European side of the Bosphorus. As one climbs the steep stairway which rises up between modern office buildings, residential flats and mysterious old ruins one comes to the commanding view that the mosque enjoys. 

Those that seem to have discovered this hidden delight of the city are modest lovers quietly holding hands peacefully looking across the waterway. Young boys also kick a football around in the street outside and cats lie sleepily amidst the trees and graves stones surrounding the mosque.

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