FROM JERUSALEM TO ISTANBUL

Tuesday, March 20, Reported by Jeff Kubly

Jerusalem Skyline

On the morning of March 20th, some of us took the elevator to the top of the tower of the YMCA, for a final look at the Jerusalem skyline. Then we drove through the city down to the airport near Tel Aviv. We said good bye to Mony our guide and Husam our driver, sat in the airport for about three hours, then boarded our plane. Next stop Istanbul, the city that joins two continents.

Haggia Sophia We met our new guide Elif. We then drove to see Haggia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the Hippodrome.

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The Haggia Sophia was built by the Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Some of its giant columns were brought from the temple of Artemis in Ephesus, others may have come all the way from Baalbek in Syria. It was Istanbul's cathedral for 900 years, then became a mosque. Finally, in the 20th century, it became a museum.

The Blue Mosque

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Across the street is the Mosque of the Sultan Ahmet I, commonly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles used inside. It is the only mosque with six minarets. (There are many mosques in Istanbul, few have only one minaret.) We took of our shoes and walked through the mosque.

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Next to these two great structures was the Hippodrome that was built in the third century by the Roman emperor Septimius Severus.

Hippodrome obelisk

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Today the Hippodrome is a park containing an obelisk brought from Egypt by Theodosius the Great in A.D. 390, and a bronze serpentine column brought from the temple of Apollo at Delphi.

After that we went to the Hotel Romance where we had a very nice dinner. Later some of us took taxicabs to the Taksun area to walk around. We noticed the prices were very cheap. Because of Turkey's economic problems, a dollar equaled a million Turkish Lira. So suits that were priced at 25,000,000 Lira were only $25, shirts that were 3,000,000 Lira were only three dollars.

Jeff and his Dad

Elif said she had just became a Christian a year ago and she said that it has been hard because of her past Muslim life. So please pray for her and her family and all of the Muslims in the country.

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I had a great time on this trip and I learned a lot.

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