We saw a few Orthodox churches during our tour. The population of this religion makes up a very small percent of the Turkish people, but the Patriarch of the Church (the Pope of this religion, if you will) resides in Istanbul, and the tour group the week before us ran into him at the Church of St. George and had their photo taken with him. This is from the Rick Steves Turkey Tours Facebook page.
When our group went to the church, we saw him, too, but he was on his way out the door to the waiting black Mercedes, so all we could do was try not to blink. We did enjoy the interior of the building.
This didn’t seem to want to fit into any of the other blog posts, but we did have a spice-tasting in the famous Spice Bazaar.
The Narnia Connection
Did you know that Aslan means lion in Turkish? Remember that Edmund was lured by the White Witch with her Turkish Delight? Prince Caspian shares a name with the Caspian Sea, an area from which Turkic peoples migrated. Look at the drawings of the Calormen in The Horse and His Boy and see Turkish helmets such as these. For more information about the role of Turkey in the Narnia books, read here.
On our last day we spent a few hours at the Istanbul Archeological Museums, a group of three museums in the same complex. Here are some of the treasures we saw.
However, the trinket of knowledge I took away, which I am embarrassed to admit is that I finally figured out where the legendary city of Troy is. I have known the story of the Trojan War since elementary school when a teacher read us a children’s version of the Iliad and the Odyssey. However, it never occurred to me to think about where Troy was. Hint: it’s in Turkey.
This trip ranks up there with one of our favorite ones this year. I would consider returning to Turkey someday and I would recommend it as an informative and fun vacation. Here is an article written by someone else who took a Rick Steves Best of Turkey Tour just a week or two before us. It’s worth a read.