Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pope in Turkey

Well, I didn't see any news coverage as to what Pope Benedict ate during his recent trip through Turkey, but it was very interesting to me to follow his journeys to places I've both visited before and also written about in my novels.

First, Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of the modern Republic of Turkey's founder and first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatűrk -- is literally just a couple of blocks from where my husband grew up and I first lived in Turkey when we stayed with his parents. I haven't written about Anıtkabir in a story though...yet.

Then, near the Aegean Coast outside Ephesus, Meryem Ana Evi, or The House of the Virgin Mary -- I absolutely love Ephesus and this nearby site. If you ever go to Turkey, in my opinion, Ephesus is a must. Here's a link direct to Ephesus as well.

I have definitely used Meryem Ana in a story -- a story I started writing a few years ago. Now my fear is that it will seem I cashed in on the Pope's visit. Oh, well.

Although the Pope only briefly visited Haghia Sophia in Istanbul, it's a fabulous church/mosque/museum that I also highly recommend to anyone visiting Turkey. The history of this church, and its mosaics, are truly inspirational.

A couple of years ago, I visited the Met in New York City. Imagine my surprise when I turned around, and over the door in one of the rooms, found myself staring at a recreated mosaic from Haghia Sophia.

Haghia Sophia figures into the same story in which I used the House of the Virgin Mary. Across the street from Haghia Sophia is the Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet Camii, which the Pope also visited. I've used the Blue Mosque as a setting for another novel I've written.

Wonder if the Pope made it to the Covered Bazaar, and if he got invited to drink Turkish tea while examining a Turkish carpet? :-)

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