The Largest Mosque of Istanbul

Süleymaniye Mosque

I have a hard time taking photographs that capture the atmosphere of a Mosque or Cathedral.  There is a mystical atmosphere in the filtered light, the acoustics below a dome, and the believers mixed with the curious.  I am happy with these two pictures created from my iPad.  The first is a panorama shot from the base to the dome.  The second is a collage of kaleidoscope images.

Suleymaniye Mosque
Suleymaniye Mosque
Suleymaniye Mosque
Suleymaniye Mosque – Kaleidoscopic interior

Looking back I wish I would have tried other techniques when photographing the Church of St. Sava in Belgrade, Et’hem Bey Mosque in Tirana, and Holy Savior Church in Skopje.

Church of St. Sava, Belgrade
Church of St. Sava, Belgrade
Et'hem Bey Mosque, Tirana
Et’hem Bey Mosque, Tirana
Holy Savior Church, Skopje
Holy Savior Church, Skopje

Sarajevo: To and From

Between Belgrade, Serbia and Podgorica, Montenegro, we spent a week in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina. This seems to mark a point in our journey where current online information is not available or not reliable. We could not find any bus schedules leaving in the morning from Belgrade for Sarajevo. Furthermore, there did not appear to be any good connections from Sarajevo continuing down to Albania. With a little scouting around, we found all the information we needed.

First, GEA Tours provides minibus door-to-door service.  We contacted them by email and made arrangements before arriving in Belgrade.  As we had time, we visited them at their offices, a very active and dynamic organization.  They called our host before setting out and picked us up ten minutes later.  It was great that we were the second pick-up so we had a chance to see other Belgrade neighborhoods.  When we visited the offices a few days before, I only saw three names on the booking sheet.  I was surprised that we went all over the city and filled up the minibus with all eight seats.

We left the Balkan plains and headed into the mountains surrounding Sarajevo.  The mist and rain turned into snow, quite early for Sarajevo.  The driver had no problem.  I was hoping we would be the last off the minibus in Sarajevo so we could get a free tour.  After winding around some hills, he pulled up to our place in the old city first.  The locals were surprised that these two foreigners were jumping out right in a residential neighborhood.

GEA Tours Belgrade to Sarajevo
GEA Tours Belgrade to Sarajevo
Our street in Sarajevo
Our street in Sarajevo
Snow dusted Sarajevo towards our place.
Snow dusted Sarajevo towards our place.

We enjoyed wandering around Sarajevo. From research on Trip Advisor, we discovered there are two bus stations, one near the Train Station and one on the Serb section, called the East Bus Station.  That is where to catch a bus for the South.  The trolley bus 103 leaves from the Latinski Most (Latin Bridge where the Archduke of Austro-Hungary was assasinated in 1914) and stops about 100 meters north of the Autobuska Stanica Lukavica.

Sarajevo Train Station
Sarajevo Train Station
Sarajevo 1914 Archduke Assassination
Sarajevo 1914 Archduke Assassination

With some basic English and written notes, we purchased tickets to Podgorica, Montenegro for the following Wednesday.  The agents were amused as everybody buys their tickets just 30 minutes before the bus leaves.


The day before leaving Sarajevo treated us to a brilliant sunset.

Sarajevo Sunset
Sarajevo Sunset

It was a clear day as we headed out of Sarajevo for Montenegro with just four other passengers.  Along the way, we picked up and dropped off at various villages.  The route took us back through mountain gorges painted with autumn colors.  Photos cannot do justice.

Sarajevo to Podgorica
Sarajevo to Podgorica
Sarajevo to Podgorica
Sarajevo to Podgorica

The border crossing took about thirty minutes.  A number of cats kept tabs on the vehicles.  Our van successfully negotiated all the tight turns and narrow roads over the Balkan divides.

Bosnia / Montenegro Border Cats
Bosnia / Montenegro Border Cats
Glunex to Podgorica
Glunex to Podgorica

Reflections in Belgrade

I like to look at old photographs, not for the subject but for the artifacts in the background. In Belgrade I found my pictures more concerned with reflections from windows and glasses.

Zemun Old City Map
Zemun Old City Map
St. Mark's Cathedral Belgrade
St. Mark’s Cathedral Belgrade
Pectopah pronounced Restoran in Cyrillic.
Pectopah pronounced Restoran in Cyrillic.
Classic Citroen parked by National Assembly
Classic Citroen parked by National Assembly

In the downtown area we stumbled into a coffee shop in the courtyard between old run down buildings.  It is gaining new life among an artist community with galleries and studios.  We talked with several owners about their work.  One was from Barcelona, Spain developing projects under bARTcelona/Бартcелона.

 

Belgrade Design District
Belgrade Design District
My view from the coffee shop
My view from the coffee shop
Wife's view from the coffee shop
Wife’s view from the coffee shop

Down near the river from our place, there was a restaurant that was entered by going up a stairway by a bridge.  Halfway up, there was an entry into what seemed to be an abandoned building.  The offerings were not the traditional plates of meat that are typical of Serbian cuisine.  Up from our place walking toward the city center, the grey buildings crowding the streets.  Their reflection in the modern glass building emphasized these feelings of a drab, cold city, hiding the warmth and friendliness we found there.

Organic/Macrobiotic Restaurant in a no longer abandoned building
Organic/Macrobiotic Restaurant in a no longer abandoned building
Old reflected in New
Old reflected in New