That time I visited Istanbul…and it was under renovation!

Istanbul!  A city which evokes exotic images of East meets West, a city which spans two continents…

And a city which seemed to be completely under renovation when we visited!

Yes, it felt like every landmark and monument that I visited on my whistlestop tour of the city in September had something going on.

The Hagia Sophia Museum

Scaffolding reaching up to the ceiling obscuring one side of the mosque… CHECK!

The magnificent Hagia Sophia Museum…with an extra addition!
Once a church, then a mosque, now a museum, the Hagia Sophia was one of my favourite buildings in Istanbul! The scale of it is impressive, it also houses amazing mosaics and it is worth spending time exploring!

Sultan Ahmed Mosque (The Blue Mosque)

One of the minarets dismantled and covered in scaffolding…CHECK!

The view from our hotel balcony! Not bad at all!

The inside also covered in hoarding and the ceiling shrouded in cloth…CHECK!

Inside the Blue Mosque, a bit of renovation work going on here!

I look forward to returning one day to see this in all its glory!

The Basilica Cisterns

No water…CHECK!

The Basilica Cisterns, built in the 6th century and under renovation in the 21st! It was still spectacular, but I can imagine it looks even more so when full of water!
The Head of Medusa

The Istanbul Archaeological Museums

The main museum building completely closed…CHECK!

The Archaeological Museum main building under total renovation – luckily other buildings were still open! I still loved this building though, it is so very grand!
This was one of the other buildings (which was open!), magnificent in its own right! It is the Tile Kiosk Museum and houses some spectacular examples of Turkish tiles and ceramics.

It became a running joke! What would we find at the next place we visited?!!

But it was all fine, there was so much to see anyway.  Of course it was disappointing in some circumstances, such as the cisterns having no water in them, but mainly the Blue Mosque. It was interesting to go inside, but was very disappointing to find the whole place covered up!  I just couldn’t get a sense of what it should look like at all.

But, I totally understand that these buildings need care and attention and it’s good that they are getting it. And it certainly didn’t make our visit any less enjoyable…it just gave us an excuse to go back again once it’s all finished…as if I’d need the excuse anyway!

There is SO much to Istanbul (not just these wonders, but also the colourful and lively Grand and Spice bazaars!) and I feel that we only just scratched the surface on our visit!

What a great introduction to the city we had!

17 thoughts on “That time I visited Istanbul…and it was under renovation!

  1. How disappointing! Although all these buildings require renovation, they shouldn’t do it at the same time. Those scaffolding is really an eyesore. I intend to visit Istanbul this year. But now I have reconsider my decision 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a bit to begin with, but we still enjoyed our time there. I’ve tried to find out what was going on but I haven’t really found any information. It must be part of some big program of renovation. This was in September last year, so I don’t know how long it will go on for. I hope if you do go, you have a great time!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my, you really were unlucky. I remember being very disappointed about scaffolding on a beautiful temple in Bangkok. Despite the renovations, I was still drawn to your photos of these gorgeous places. My hubby and I honeymooned in Istanbul/Turkey many years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, did you?? It must hold very special memories for you. It was my first time to the country and I loved it. There is so much to see there, I already have a list of other destinations I want to explore! We were a bit unlucky but we were still able to appreciate how beautiful these buildings are. It reminds me of our experiences with Angkor Wat. The first few times my partner and I visited Angkor Wat together it was always covered in green tarpaulin and scaffolding, when we returned last year, my partner finally got to see it in all its glory! I had been lucky enough to visit many years ago so had already had this pleasure, so it was lovely for my partner to finally see it too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. One of my all-time favourite cities. So sorry about the scaffolding but it’s everywhere with old buildings, best just to get on with enjoying the surroundings. Your photographs are marvellous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I totally agree, it was disappointing to begin with, but we just had to accept it. We could still appreciate the fantastic buildings and will hopefully one day return again to see them without the scaffolding! It is an amazing city isn’t it, there is so much to see, we really did only scratch the surface so a return visit is a must to explore further.


  4. What luck!! Well, thank fully there is so much to see in Istanbul, even if you have to make do with the outside of a building 🙂 I thought it to be a wonderful place and the food was so good too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, that’s true! Although not great with heights to that could have been problematic in itself 🙂 Was a bit disappointing in some respects, but it didn’t stop us enjoying the trip and being completely amazed and impressed with Istanbul. Can’t wait to return one day!

      Liked by 1 person

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