Recently I traveled on vacation to Turkey for the first time. Wow, the picturesque country exceeded all my expectations. Istanbul is a modern, hip metropolis with amazing ancient history. The beach resort towns are beautiful with friendly people. And the foods certainly did NOT disappoint.
There were so many highlights, but one that I really appreciated was Ayasofya. Usually, I’m much more about immersing myself into a local culture than visiting tourist sites. Nonetheless, the story of Ayasofya mesmerized me so much with its tales of the many critical moments between Christian and Muslim history that still remain relevant today. I sat in the ancient building thinking about the tremendous effort to build such a structure with just manual labor. Twenty percent of the workers (2,000) died building the church/temple. I considered how Ayasofya changed hands between empires and religions. I thought about how fluid the changes were in its 2,000-year history — and how we aren’t really all that different from each other.
It truly is a country where East meets West, and the modern juxtaposes the ancient.