We woke up late our first day in Istanbul due to some wicked jet lag and immediately set out to see the major sites in the old part of the city.
The Hagia Sophia was definitely a highlight. It was a church, later a mosque and is now a museum open to the public. This building is over 900 years old.
We wandered around the neighborhoods surrounding the Hagia Sophia and found other mosques that are currently in use for religious services. They are much smaller and newer but no less beautiful.
Another highlight was Topkapi Palace. This enormous compound was the jewel of the Ottoman Empire. We walked around for hours and hours and I'm convinced that there are still parts that we did not see.
The decorative tile work is beautiful and can be found in nearly every single structure on the palace grounds.
We take our sightseeing very seriously.
After a few days in Istanbul we made arrangements to travel to Cappadocia, the beautiful countryside located in central Turkey. Jon and I both were anticipating something special but we had no idea how amazing the next few days woud turn out to be.