Sunday, March 08, 2009

Hagia Yorgi in Prinkipo, Istanbul, Turkey

Dear Colleagues,

Hagia Yorgi peak is the highest point in Prinkipo island, 202 meters above sea level. It is on the second hill. The monastery is built in 19th century on top of remains a holy ruin back from 10th century. It is a holy place for all religions.

There is a ritual to climb and you should strictly follow the centuries old rules. It is 970 meters from the starting point in lower end, the merry-go-round square. Once there was a merry-go-round fun place in the 19th century, which was demolished long ago but the name still stays.

You should start with a certain pace, slow but non-stop. You should not speak, nor talk to anyone. You will pray all the time while walking, for whoever/ whatever you believe in. Orthodox believers climb barefoot.

It is 1700 steps for me from the starting point till the main gate of the monastery. It takes 15-17 minutes to climb. When you reach the upper point, take your time, change your t-shirt, bring towel and bottled water with you.

Enjoy the view, Sea of Marmara, sunrise in the morning or sunset in the evening. Light a candle in the monastery and pray to realize all your wishes. In the end you will feel relieved, comfortable, free from all your worries, family matters, global warming, financial crunch etc.

Have some time, ask tea or Turkish coffee in the nearby cafe. You may also have country lunch, green salad and kebab with young red dry local wine, or local beer. While going back, you will feel refreshed and wish to come back.

It is daily routine for me when I stay in Prinkipo close to Hristos Monastery from early May to mid- November.

Almost every morning, at the town center you will see your humble blog writer with undercover local fisherman appearence with some thick beard in High Café (Yuksek Kahve) reading his daily local newspaper Cumhuriyet while sipping Turkish coffee with no sugar... Occasionally he may be seen as trying to type a few lines for this blog on his laptop PC.

There are so many hidden and not-so hidden gems in and around Istanbul, away from the usual path.

And the pureness, innocence, and beauty of the Prince Islands is definitely a gem for all Istanbulians and tourists to enjoy...

Your comments are always welcome