Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia

Blue Mosque, Turkey
Credit: Anders Blomqvist, Custom Prints
Source: http://www.posters.co.uk

My friend, Husam Azhar, commented on the beauty of Turkey, to which my friend, Neil Remington Abramson, responded. Neil comments further, as follows (e-mail correspondence reproduced with permission):

The Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia are both very special. The latter was originally a Christian cathedral, built by Emperor Justinian. When the Turks took Constantinople in 1453, it was converted to a mosque, but is now a museum, and the original Christian frescoes are being exhumed from under the paint that covered their human images during its mosque period.

Hagia Sophia
Frescoe of Justinian
Source: http://www.tripadvisor.com

The Topkapi Palace Museum contained the bones of John the Baptist, a holy relic from the Christian period. Oddly, they are not pictured in the museum catalogue, nor is one allowed to take their picture. I tried; the guard knocked my camera down; it turned out later I got the picture. I wonder why such a holy relic would be retained by the museum and not returned to Christendom.

Mohammed’s sword was also in the Topkapi. It was very impressive.

I loved Istanbul. I would go back without hesitation and with enthusiasm.

Hagia Sophia
Credit: http://www.catholic.com.au

Addendum, January 25, 2015:

Lorne Anderson has today published a detailed account of his visit to the Blue Mosque.

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