Thursday, February 2, 2012

Surviving Istanbul's worst winter in 30+ years

Dressed in three layers of tights, two woolen hats and one winter coat, yesterday I ventured into Sultanahmet with my camera.

I wanted to take some photos of Istanbul's most-visited historical buildings covered in a white veil of snow. This was the quietest I have ever seen Sultanahmet!
The Ayasofya covered in snow!
Apparently, I still looked like a tourist and was stopped by several Turkish men while I treaded carefully on the snowy roads. No, I don't want to buy a carpet. I live in Istanbul, and I want to take pictures of the snow. Yes, the view is çok güzel.

The snow fell quickly. Then, it stopped, and the sun came out for awhile. But the snow would start up again and the wind would start blowing. In between, the snow coming down like dollops of  fluffy meringue, I snapped as many photos as I could.

Over by the Küçük Ayasofya Camii (Little Hagia Sophia Mosque), five young, local kids recruited me for a friendly snowball fight, and I built a small snowman for them. The oldest gal, about 12 years-old or so, spoke a little English and she told me they've never had so much snow to play in Istanbul.
These were some of playmates in the snow yesterday in Sultanahmet.
I enjoyed the snow and walking through the eerily quiet Sultanahmet, but I'd like the sun to come back please!
The quiet Hippodrome and the Blue Mosque in the background.
I loved the way the sun came out when I was on this colorful street.

Turkish pride by the Küçük Ayasofya Camii in Sultanahmet. 
Abandoned in Sultanahmet
Taking a break from the snowstorm at Sokollu Mehmet Paşa Camii. 
These kids were quite the hams for my camera.
Then, the sun came out again by the Blue Mosque.
Some local street workers put the finishing touch on this snowman near
the Sultanahmet tramvay.

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Sheryl Sparks said...

Something I noticed -- no ice sickles-- it seems when we have snow in the US we always have ice sickles. Very beautiful, thanks for sharing!

Bazaar Bayar said...

Great photos of our neighborhood - thanks for enduring the cold to take them! Love how we've gone from snow to sun to snow, often in the same half hour, for several days now. And yes Sheryl, we did have icicles hanging from our roof, but they were small.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i want snow so bad! i can't believe turkey has snow and we don't. we had 62 degrees and sun yesterday. i live right in the city and that is one reason i love snow. it makes the city so quiet and peaceful!

Joy said...

@Sheryl, @Bazaar Bayar: I saw some gigantic icicles on a building uphill the hill from the Blue Mosque. I took 150+ photos but didn't post them all.

Kim, Living to Seas the Moment said...

this is my 3rd winter with NO SNOW! and I have to say, I don't miss it one bit. I so enjoyed looking at your photos...and seeing a bit of the city covered in white beauty. Much different from the hot July days I spent in Istanbul. Great photos!

jasna varcakovic said...

Lovely photos..I spent 3 days in Istanbul, in April last year - loved the city!

jasna varcakovic said...

Lovely photos..I spent 3 days in Istanbul, in April last year - loved the city!

Joy said...

@jaz and @Kim, I'm happy to share some of our snow with you. =) Although, I'm with you Kim, I grew up in the cold Midwest, so I've lived through my fair share of snow. I'm ready for the sun!

@Jasna, thank you! There's still more to see in Istanbul and so many other places in Turkey if you have time to return.

Sara Louise said...

It's freezing, isn't it??!!
The first photo of the Blue Mosque is really beautiful, the light is just gorgeous :-)

Anonymous said...

Great, now we are soon back to the "normal" rainy winter Istanbul, cheers, Bodil

Andrew Graeme Gould said...

What a beautiful series of images, Joy! And how nice to have you take us with you on this little journey!

Joy said...

@Andrew, thanks for your kind comments. Looks like we may be in for a bit more snow tomorrow. Yuck!

Becca Ramspott said...

These pictures are fantastic. I love the vivid red of the Turkey flag against the white snow, seeing snow on mosques, and especially the pics of the kids playing in the snow. All wonderful. Altogether, a lovely post that makes me want to go back. You wouldn't believe it, Joy, we have had the warmest winter ever here. Can't believe I'm saying this but sort of wishing for a snow day so I could stay home from work and try out some of your recipes! ; )

Tina Maxima said...

great photo moments in unusually frozen lovely Istanbul...I'll planned to visit Istanbul next month:)

Joy said...

@Becca, well, now it looks like we finally may getting a hint of spring. You are welcome to have the snow. ;-)

@Tina, I hope the weather cooperates for your trip here in Istanbul!

Mrs Ergül said...

Wow. Imagine seeing Sultanahmet all covered in snow! That photo made my heart skip a beat. Breathtaking!

Joy said...

@Mrs. Ergul, I know can you imagine how much snow we've had this year in Istanbul? It's been crazy! Although I'm happy I got these snowy shots in Sultanahmet.