A visit to the Cemetery

Hello all! Natalia here-

Today marks a month in Istanbul. I have completely fallen in love with the city, its food, its people, and its sights. Everywhere I have explored feels so alive and makes me realize how much more I need to allow myself to travel in life. Its unbelievable how quickly the time is going by – and really how little we have left. This realization hit me early this morning so I decided to let it fuel an adventure.

Naturally, I started the day off with some morning Çay and people watching-

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After grabbing a cheese bagel from the baker next door (I get them so often that as soon as he sees me walking in, he has one ready in a bag), I hopped on a bus to Eminönü. My plan was to find my way to the Eyüp Mosque, my assigned site for our visual culture class. I got on a ferry that zig zags its way up the Golden Horn, and got off at Eyüp, the last stop of the ferry, and quite near the end of the Golden Horn.

The Eyüp Mosque is found quite near the shoreline so it was not difficult to find at all. It lays on a large white plaza, which was filled with children, residents, and visitors enjoying the space and weather today.

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The mosque was very populated not by tourists but entirely by worshipers. It was incredible to see such a community of people coming together to pray- there were rows of men, pairs of friends, and even children praying with their mothers. Men and women are split into separate spaces- Men are given the main floor, women are allowed the second level loft-like space (better view- yay!) I sat there for a while, it was a very peaceful and moving experience, all in an incredible space.

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I continued my walk around the corner of the mosque where the path turned uphill- it looked like a fun time so I started up it. Turns out the entire hill I was walking on was a cemetery! The tombstones and platforms give way to the typography and make for a beautifully odd landscape. What made it even better was the continuous uphill made for the most amazing view- I couldn’t decide what I liked more- the peaceful mosque, unusual graveyard, or the view of the length of the golden horn before me.

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The day was perfect for exploring ( a perfect 65 and sunny) and I think I may have found one of my favorite places in Istanbul thus far.

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