Almost as hard as choosing best trip is choosing best place. There were so many spots I visited in the course of the year. So many cosy cafes, interesting streets, perilously high view points, to pick just one is a tall order. But if I have to, then my “place of 2009” is the Haghia Sofia. My whole visit to Istanbul was full of a lot of very vivid sights and sounds, and though I am used to travelling on my own, stretched my coping reserves somewhat.
So it was a pleasure to visit the Haghia Sofia on my last morning, in the company of a new friend who immediately removed all the hassles that otherwise confront a solo female traveller. Haghia Sofia itself is a rather surreal experience. Completed in AD 537, it was the greatest church in Eastern Christendom for nearly a thousand years until the Ottoman Turk armies took the city in 1453. This creates a foundation of familiar Roman architecture with the Islamic elements superimposed on the top. In one building it sums up the different historical eras of Istanbul’s past.
( This post is part of the Best of 2009 series inspired by Gwen Bell’s post here )