First the Topkapi Palace was where the Sultans lived for like four hundred years (thanks Wikipedia) and was built around the 1460's. The building were very ornate and many of the walls were covered in the same blueish tiles that are in the Blue Mosque. There is a section that holds every type of object that had been covered in jewels. There was the section that had Moses Staff and Joseph turnic and Muhammad's foot print. There is also a section called the Harem. It is where the sultan's mother would live, along with all the sultan's concubines. It had over 400 rooms of it's own, and they were also covered in the blue tiles.
After the Topkapi Palace, we made our way to the Hagia Sophia. It was the biggest Christian church for several hundred years and it was built in 360. It had burned down twice and had been rebuilt, so the latest one was finished in in 537. It was a Christian church until 1453 when Constantinople was taken over by the Ottoman Turks, after this it was converted to a Mosque. Then in the 1935 it was turned into a Museum. The original relics of the Christian church had just been plastered over, so many of them have been restored since it became a museum. The Muslim relics as still there as well, it was very interesting to see them right next to each other.
Then after seeing the Palace and the Hagia Sophia we grabbed a doner kebab and headed to the Grand Bazaar. We looked around for about an hour and talked to a lot of vendors all trying to sell us stuff we didn't need. After browsing we bought a few things and headed back home for a dinner reservation our hotel clerk had set up for us. The Grand Bazaar was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, and dinner was delicious.
After dinner we went to a restaurant that had a Whirling Dervish. We ordered some apple teas, asked for a Backgammon board and had a great little evening out. It was a bit chilly since we were outside so they even brought us some blankets. We drank our teas and watching the Whirling Dervish. Then after beating Mikey soundly in backgammon we made our way home.
The last day we had in Istanbul, we went for a morning boat ride on the Bosphorous. The boat took us to a Mosque that is outside the touristy part of town, the Beylerbeyi Palace, and the Rumeli Fortress. The Mosque was small and we were the only ones there. The Beylerbeyi Palace was a huge mansion that the Sultan would spend summers at, and it had all the original furniture and decorations and was very pretty, but we couldn't take any pictures inside. And then the Rumeli Fortress was what they called an open air museum, but it seemed more like a poorly run park that should have had some signs and rails along the stairways.
After our boating adventure we finally made it back to town and hit up the Spice Bazaar. It is smaller than the Grand Bazaar, obviously, but it was packed. The vendors were mostly selling every kind of tea, spices, and Turkish Delight you could imagine. It was a pretty cool place to look around in. We bought some tea and some spices and pushed our way out to the open street. We ended up in the street that connected the Spice Bazaar to the Grand Bazaar and it was a madhouse. We started walking in the direction of the Blue Mosque and some man told us to keep going straight and we would walk over the Grand Bazaar and show up right by the Blue Mosque. We walked for about ten minutes and the road had barely anyone on it, it was very strange after being swarmed by all those people in the bazaar, and then we were back to the main street of the Blue Mosque! The people really were helpful and friendly in Istanbul, well as long as they were trying to sell you something!