March 30: Kandilli Observatory, Istanbul, Blue Mosque, and Basilica Cistern

The flight from Antalya to Istanbul.

The Taurus Mountains from above.

Arrival at the new Sabiha Gokcen Airport in Istanbul.

Over the Marble Sea, final approach to Istanbul takes us over the Princess Islands.

The Kandilli Observatory, founded in 1907. This was the headquarters for solar eclipse observing in Istanbul. They did not reach totality here, but were still able to make many scientific observations. The main telescope is housed in the dome seen on top of the building. Other shots show our group touring the interior of the facility.

The morning of our arrival in Istanbul proved to be the worst we experienced as far as weather is concerned. And this was just the day following the perfect skies we had for the total eclipse itself! Istanbul was pouring rain as we toured the observatory and worked our way to the European side of the city for additional sightseeing.

Greeters at the entrance to the Richmond Hotel in downtown Istanbul.

After a wet slog from the bus to the hotel, we take a rest in the lobby.

Onward as tourists. our next stop was the Blue Mosque. While in the mosque, the rain stopped and the weather started to improve.

Directly opposite the Blue Mosque is Aya Sofia.

Our now drying group departs the Blue Mosque.

The Basilica Cistern is one of my all time favorite spots in Istanbul. Not on our original itinerary, I suggested we stop in and everyone enjoyed it immensely.

Aya Sofia.

An underground maze of passages dating to 532 AD.

Many fish make their home in the cistern.

The brick work of the ceiling.

The upside down and sideways Medusa heads.

Just outside the cistern was a shop that creates Turkish tiles and ceramics. We received a demonstration of the art and then toured the shop. Although beautiful and tempting, after our large purchases of Turkish carpets, there was not much left for this shop.

Pat and Jim shopping for ceramics.

The tram that runs along the street outside our hotel.

One of the fabulous restaurants.

The Rio Bravo. Several of us had dinner in this American western-motifed restaurant on our first evening in Istanbul.

Ladybug desserts!

The slightly foggy night view from the window of our room at the Richmond Hotel.