You’ll see Whirling Dervish performances advertised throughout Istanbul, offering an evening of entertainment. But for an authentic experience, I chose to attend a true Mevlevi religious ritual at the Galata Dervish Monastery.
Not all of the mosques in Istanbul are open to non Muslim visitors. But fortunately, the most beautiful ones in and around the historic core of the Sultanahmet area can be visited by tourists during the non prayer times of the day.
There is no doubt that the city of Istanbul is steeped in thousands of years of history – history that can still be touched today. Sitting beneath modern city streets that are teeming with pedestrian, automobile and tram traffic, a walk through the underground space of the Basilica Cistern is an opportunity to physically experience a world that existed 1500 years ago.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, or Blue Mosque as it is more commonly known, was completed in 1617. Legend tells that its architect misread the Sultan’s instructions and mistakenly interpreted “six minarets” instead of “gold minarets”. This was a problem because at that time, only the Great Mosque of Mecca had six minarets. To allay criticism, the Sultan then ordered that a seventh minaret be added to the Great Mosque in Mecca.
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Miyajima, Japan is most famous for the photos of its floating torii gate. But this lovely little island offers up lots of gorgeous scenery, both man made and natural. Read on to find out about my experiences as I spent a day in Miyajima.
As a teenager, I learned about the devastating effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. As an adult many years later, I visited the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park, and encountered present day Japanese teenagers learning their history in this living classroom for peace.
The graceful curves of a Geisha wearing a kimono. The rotund shape of a groaning sumo wrestler. The stately orange beams of a torii gate. An artistic plate of freshly caught sushi. The large eyes of a manga cartoon charter. The serenity of a perfectly raked gravel rock garden. I don’t know if there is another country that has so many single identifiable images associated with its culture. All of these images speak the word Japan as clearly as if it were yelled from the mountain tops. But if there is one iconic image that stands high above the rest when it comes to symbolizing the soul of Japan, it is Mt. Fuji.
The shrines and temples of Nikko, one of Japan’s 21 UNESCO listed sites, are an easy day trip from Tokyo. You can do a day in Nikko either as a tour from Tokyo, or you can go there independently. Either option has its pros and cons. Read my recommendations for a complete Nikko trip experience.
The centerpiece and most visited attraction of the Nikko UNESCO World Heritage site is the Toshogu shrine. This final resting place for Tokugawa Ieyasu is like a peacock among the pigeons, an extravagant and elaborately colorful showpiece dedicated to the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan for almost 300 years.
The setting sun glows off the gold leaf on Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto, aptly named the Golden Pavilion. Continue reading “PhotoPOSTcard: Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion – Kinkaku-Ji Temple”