Although Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, many shops are closed on Sundays. We had planned to visit the Grand Bazaar on Sunday, since I had incorrectly thought that most of the bazaar would be closed on Friday instead. And that’s how we found ourselves standing in front of a closed gate on a Sunday morning in front of the bazaar.
This minor snag in our plans didn’t throw us off by too much though, since I simply switched the next day’s activities with the current one. The bazaar was on the way to the Istanbul Archaeology Museum anyway, and a few tram stops later we were at our destination.
The museum actually houses three museums within the entire complex: the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, and the Museum of Islamic Art.
Originally part of the Topkapi Palace outer gardens in Gulhane Park, this incredibly rich museum has seen its fair share of battle, as evidenced by uh, these lovely statues with their heads lopped off:
Indoors, the museum houses over one million pieces. With so much to see, we were in need of some caffiene afterwards. We walked a few blocks to Mado, a two-story cafe housing a beautiful view of Sultanahmet and the strongest, thickest Turkish coffee ever.
Now this is what I call strong coffee.
After we finished our drinks, we returned to our neighborhood in Aksaray to do some shopping for dinner. By now it was feeling like our own community away from home – the baker, the butcher, the pharmacist, and the produce sellers all recognized us and we would exchange merhabas and salaams whenever we stopped by.