Flight change! We were only supposed to have a 3 hour layover in Istanbul, but it we ended up staying 29 hours. We landed in the evening, still having time to go out and have a great dinner at a local steak house before going to bed at our hotel. The next day was jam-packed with activities, starting with visiting the Hagia Sophia Museum. The present building was the third edition of a church built by the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I. It was turned into a mosque soon after the Ottoman conquest of the area, and then into a museum when the Turkish republic came into being after World War I. While walking around the museum, we could see both the Christian and Muslim aspects throughout the structure. The Christian mosaics were covered after the church became a mosque, but in the 1930’s restoration began, so people today can see the worship artwork of both religions in one building, reflecting the ideal of two religions coexisting in peace.

After the museum, we went to carpet business, where we learned about carpet making. We started off by observing a master weaver in the process of making the famous Turkish styled carpet. What makes them special is the double knot technique used, which makes the carpets lasts longer. Their durability and aesthetic appeal makes them an investment asset. They warned us of a common scam of removing silk tassels and putting on cotton ones in order to trick a customers into spending more money. We learned how to outsmart the scammers because silk does not release dust if the carpet is rubbed with a coin. By comparison, other fabrics release particles into the air.