All posts filed under: Favourite Travel Stories

Kariye Müzesi

Kariye Müzesi, also known as The Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, is one of the oldest and most important religious landmarks of Byzantine Constantinople. What makes it so special is its mosaics and frescos which not only represent 14th century Byzantine art at it’s finest but also at its most experimental. Between 1315 and 1316 Kariye underwent major restoration and renovation work thanks to Theodore Metochites who was not only a statesman and a scholar but also a patron of the arts. He had Kariye decorated with brilliant mosaics and frescos that were part of a new type of artistic expression known as Paleologan Mannerism. There was a new appreciation for the purely decorative qualities of painting and meticulous attention was given to details. Byzantine artists were encouraged to include their own observations of the world in their artistic work and figures that we were once austere and stiff became more dynamic, depicting various types of movement. There was also a shift in the conventional use of perspective. What distinguishes Kariye from other …

Sultanahmet photographed by Martina Korkmaz for The Depth of Now, Istanbul

Istanbul: In & Around Sultanahmet


Galata, Istanbul photographed by Martina Korkmaz for The Depth of Now, Istanbul

A walk through Galata

Galata to me has a very European feel to it. It’s in the architecture and in the cobblestone streets as well in its cafes. Unlike other districts of Istanbul, Galata has worked hard to preserve its historic buildings. Most people come to Galata to visit one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks – the Galata Tower, built in the 14th century. About 9 stories high, from the top, you can take in Istanbul’s captivating beauty with panoramic views of the Golden Horn, the Blue Mosque and the Bosphorus. Close by Galata Tower is the Ashkenazi Synagogue. Yüksek Kaldırım Cad. (the steep street leading up from the Galata Tower) is famous for its music shops selling various types of instruments. The street changes to Galip Dede Cd. and if you follow this street all the way up you will get to the Galata Mevlevihanesi – a Sufi lodge of the Mevlevi order, named after the poet and religious figure Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi. It’s now a museum dedicated to the arts, rituals and teachings of the Sufi order. …

Hagia Sofia photographed by Martina Korkmaz for The Depth of Now, Istanbul

Inside the Hagia Sophia

There is a story to the Hagia Sofia that is laid out in history books and tourist guides but that is not the story that I remember it by. I think of it as the place that stopped me on my way in and took my breath away. The first place that ever humbled me in its presence and I have seen many beautiful places. My impressions of the Hagia Sofia is that it is like a mountain which contains a secret. If you have never been inside you are unprepared for what awaits you – a vast contained space decorated with rare marble and golden mosaics that glitter in the darkness drawing your eyes upwards to its amazing heights. Each time I visit I am taken in by the intricate patterns created by the slanted veining of the marble panelling used to decorate its walls. Marble in colours of deep yellow, emerald green and blood red. The beauty of the Hagia Sofia is the type that is indescribable. It has to be experienced to …

Black and white photograph of Olsany Cemetery in Prague.

Olšany Cemetery in Prague

There is a quieter side to Prague, far away from the tourist crowds – when in spring and summer they can become too much. Most of these places are just a 10min tram ride from the city centre and my favourites include the cafes tucked in the back parts of Karlin, Letna park with its expansive view over Prague (and its convenient beer garden) and Olšany Cemetery. Even if you don’t like cemeteries, this cemetery is worth exploring. Its tall trees and overgrown richness together with its historic tombs and gravestones give it a tranquil yet impressive atmosphere. At one point I had lived in Zizkov and the cemetery was close to my house. I would often go there in the early morning, grabbing a coffee and croissant at Flora Mall before making my way into the cemetery to wander through its various parts. I have a soft spot for the liminality of ruins and forgotten places. I was also teaching myself how to photograph and Olsany seemed like the perfect place to get lost …

The Grand Bazaar photographed by Martina Korkmaz for The Depth of Now, Istanbul

A visit to the Grand Bazaar

For me a visit to the Grand Bazaar is always exciting because there are so many textures and layers to it. You never know what you will find. Here are a set of photographs I took on my last visit.