Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Monday, 28 June 2010
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
I was quite chuffed to discover that the entrance to the Inner Court at the Topkapi Palace (the residence of the Ottoman Sultans from 1465 to 1856) is known as the Gate of Felicity. It was probably constructed in the 15th century under Mehmed II, and was redecorated in the rococo style in 1774 under Sultan Mustafa III. Qur'anic verses are inscribed above the entrance.
I didn't know it was called the Gate of Felicity until I got back to London and looked it up, but I took quite a few pictures of it because I thought it was beautiful, and because I was surprised by the style of it; it seemed quite French / European.
Friday, 18 June 2010
Here are some pictures of Istanbul's most spectacular mosque, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles inside.
It was built between 1606 and 1611, with a combination of Byzantine and traditional Islamic elements. The inside is lined with more than 20,000 hand-made ceramic tiles, using traditional designs at the lower levels, and at gallery level using more flamboyant designs of flowers, fruit and cypresses.
There are low chandeliers which hang all the way from the ceiling, giving quite an intimate feel despite the huge space.
We took a private speedboat tour around Lake Como. The last picture is Richard Branson's villa (only accessible by water), and the 3rd, 4th and 5th pictures are of Villa del Balbianello, the villa featured in Casino Royale. It used to be privately owned, but was bequeathed to the National Trust of Italy in the late 80s.