Rumeli Hisarı

Right after I got to Istanbul on this most recent trip, I took a taxi from my hotel down to the Bosphorus, to check out the Rumeli Hisarı, a fort complex built in 1452 by Sultan Mehmet the II in anticipation of the following year’s siege of Constantinople. It’s constructed at the narrowest point on the Bosphorus (660 m wide), with the aim of controlling boat traffic coming from the Black Sea. This narrow spot is today where they have the second of two bridges spanning the Bosphorus. It looks like this:


It’s in Europe; that’s Asia on the far right of the photo. A few more shots of the fortress’s pattern of towers and interconnecting walls:




Inside, I was pleased to note the variety of building stones. Here’s a nice porphyritic andesite which was a common constituent of the walls:

And a folded limestone:


Here are some yellowish blocks that are weathering away faster than the mortar which holds them in place. There is a Turkish 1-lira coin in front of the dark block near the center, to provide a sense of scale:


Here’s a similar phenomenon playing out with some bricks used to make an archway, except here the mortar is the more rapidly weathering component:


Check out this slab of brick… it’s got a curious adornment:


Zoomed in to show this detail:


Dog prints! Sometime a long time ago, maybe more than 500 years ago, a brick maker put out slabs of clay to dry, and some long-dead dog walked across it. The dog’s footprints are a kind of “historical trace fossil” that was then incorporated into this ancient structure.

Visiting the Rumeli Hisarı was a pleasant experience. I walked down along the Bosphorus next, peering into its surprisingly clear waters and counting jellyfish, then got a pide at a cafe. I caught another cab back to the hotel, and eventually fell asleep, a victim of jet lag…



Turkey update

Hey there folks,

Long tıme no blog. I am enjoyıng Turkey. We spent several cool days ın Istanbul, checkıng out the awesome buıldıngs and twısty streets and great food there. Took a boat tour up the Bosphorus, walked across the Golden Horn. The Haghıa Sophıa ıs amazıng… a Chrıstıan cathedral datıng to Emporer Justınıan, then retrofıtted to be a Muslım mosque after the fall of Constantınople ın 1453 to Sultan Mehmet II, and now a museum as decreed by the man who made Turkey a modern, semı-secular natıon, Attaturk. Pretty amazıng stuff, and lots of cool buıldıng stones employed ın ıts hıstory-soaked foundatıons. I also really enjoyed walkıng through the Tokapı Palace and eatıng fısh sandwıches on the docks of the Golden Horn. We checked out the Roman ruıns at Ephesus, and then journeyed to Pammukkale, a travertıne-deposıtıng hot sprıngs where I am wrıtıng thıs brıef blog post. Tonıght we take an overnıght bus to Cappadoccıa, a trıppy landscape of eroded tuff deposıts. More later (wıth pıctures! I’ve been takıng so many pıctures!) when I get the chance to download them from the camera and upload them to the blog.

Hope all ıs well; dıd I mıss anythıng whıle I’ve been unplugged?


Lola and the maps

My cat Lola has a thing for big sheets of paper, particularly maps. Here she is this morning, “helping” me plan a summer trip to Turkey: