Chora church Istanbul

Feb 13th, 2004, 01:39 AM
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Chora church Istanbul

How long should I set aside for this place. Also any suggestions for timing in the Spice markets and Grand Bazaar/?
Marko is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 02:01 AM
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Can I suggest that almost nowhere - except possibly the basilica at Assisi and the better mosaic churches at Ravenna - is it more difficult to answer this question.

If you're relatively uninterested in mosaics and frescoes, you can do it in 20 minutes absolute max (which is more than most people spend). If you're reasonably, but not professionally, interested you could spend several hours. Mrs F (who sort of had a professional interest)would have spent the day there, but didn't want to miss lunch (which always takes precedence, especially in one of the world's great eating cities).

Personally I'd give the bazaars five minutes, but others will doubtless differ
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 03:17 AM
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Hi F. thanks for the candid reply. I am not professionally interested but all that I have read about Chora intrigues me. I love the humanity of bazaars whether they are in europe or asia .
Marko is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 03:46 AM
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Chora is wonderful. There are self employed guides who will offer their tour services there. My friends and I hired one - he gave us a wonderful explanation of the mosaics and frescos - probably about 45 minutes to an hour for the tour, total time spent in church - about 2 hours. There is a great restaurant right next to the church which serves ottoman cuisine. Take a cab.
marktynernyc is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 05:34 AM
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I receommed you go to CHORA CHURCH, because you can not see the same church anywhere in the world. Mosaic and stories are so beatiful.

Church little bit far from Sultanahmet if you tell your guide in Istanbul he or she may take you there, DO NOT MISS.

COVERED BAZAAR is really big (5000 small shops) and takes a long time to see. Some tourists I know lost themself inside. Spice market is small only takes 30 or 45 minutes. BUT Grand Bazaar and Spice MArket are different place if you want to go one place to another by taxi or your tour bus it takes 45 minutes (Depend on Traffic)

Sinan Akdeniz
sinan is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 06:02 AM
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There is a guide in Chora church. Take him, and you will get a lot out of your visit. I didn't because I trusted my guidebook. But I should have, my neck twisted when I tried to find particular details from the ceiling. I don't recall how long we were there, but I lingered a long time also in the main room even when it had no frescoes and mosaics left. I loved the beautiful light and the serene feeling the whole place has.

Spice market you can skip, it is not purely a spice market any more. Grand Bazaar ? alltogether I must have been there a whole days worth. I don't remember how many times we got lost, and in how many shops we haggled. But Grand Bazaar is a lot more "civilized" place than most bazaars of this world. No aggressive haggling there.
elina is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 06:10 AM
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We went there (from Sultanahmet) by tram and metro. But that was not a good idea, there was still quite a walk from metro. Back we came by bus. A lot better idea. You can take a bus from in front of the Grand Bazaar. Or if you want to keep it simple, just take a taxi. They are cheap and there are plenty of them.
elina is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 07:18 AM
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We spent more time than necessary at the church because we hired a Turkish guide who gave us EVERY historical/artistic detail on every mosaic and fresco!
We told her a "Cliff Notes" version would be preferrable, since we were short on time. She was very aggrieved, but understood.

In any event, please try the Pistachio ice cream at the Grand Bazaar - I recall heavenly flavor.
mistik321 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 07:24 AM
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Dear Marko,
I found an hour at the church was plenty for me; I got the sense of it, and didn't need to know the entire story of every mosaic. We had a guide with us, and I found it helpful, but I really wasn't interested in the story of every mosaic. In fact, it was probably less than an hour -- the place is small. It's definitely worth a visit, though; the mosaics are stunning.

I disagree with Elina about the Spice Market. I loved the place, in some ways more than the Grand Bazaar. It's very much a market used by locals, so it has a different feeling than entering the Grand Bazaar, which is geared much more to a tourist market. I liked both, but would not have missed the Spice Market.
How much time to give them really depends upon your interests. The Grand Bazaar is a small city of stalls, and if you are seriously shopping-- or even seriously window shopping-- you could easily lose a half day (or more!) there. If you are going just to get the sense of it, figure on maybe 2 hours and not seeing every area of the place. Forget about seeing every stall-- it's not reasonable to expect! It's overwhelming, but after a while, you realize you don't have to experience the whole place.
I can't wait for you to go, Marko! I've been enjoying your planning and I get to relive my own trip when I read about your plans.
progol is online now  
Feb 13th, 2004, 07:35 AM
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Sounds like you and I had the same guide! My husband and I said (in essence) the same thing. I felt like we were hearing a presentation which she had memorized by rote.

Interesting, though-- I think that the guides who receive official tourist licenses are given lessons which they are to present to us. The better guides absorb the information and understand how to relay it in an appropriate fashion. The one we had hired tried very hard but it seemed to be all memorization and not much real understanding of the material that we were looking at. We met others who we thought were much more grounded in the history.
progol is online now  
Feb 13th, 2004, 10:29 PM
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Thanks people ! Getting closer !
My smattering of Turkish is getting better and even the kids know the basics !
Marko is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 05:23 AM
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Marko, it depends on your personal interests what you find fascinating in the grand bazaar. I for example spent a lot of time in shops that sell gorgeus antique watches. Another interesting ones were those that sold stuff from Turkmenistan and Kirgistan.
elina is offline  
Feb 19th, 2004, 07:49 AM
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Dear Marko
This church a museum now has a lot of fmurals and þt really depends to you and to your interest.
the museum opens at 09.00 am and usuallt there is crowded.
go as early as possible.
please note museum is closed wednesdays.
Nejat Ýncedogan
[email protected]
nincedogan is offline  
Feb 19th, 2004, 09:35 AM
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I was in Istanbul in 1992, I still remember the Chora church as the highlight of my stay.It is a bit difficult to fit into other sights, because it is not in the centre of town. So personally, I would factor in quite a bit of time.We kept on leaving the church and going back in because the mosaics and frescos were stunning. I like the idea of having a meal in the area while you are there. The particular restaurant mentioned did not exist when I travelled there, and would have been appreciated. Have a great time!
sirod is offline  

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