People write prayers on tissues to Mary
Then with the expansion of the Roman Empire, this little port city became the gateway between the west (Europe by Sea) and Asia. It was huge – 14000 people could sit there and enjoy theatre and music – all with no need for amplification.
We have not got over to the Asia side yet but had a ball on the Europe side today. We have felt that in the last 3 days we have seen in the ‘centre’ of Christianity and Islam. This is a massive old church built in the 5th Century after Constantine moved the centre of the Roman Empire and Christianity to Istanbul. So it is a confused place – mix of Islam and Orthodox Christianity – beautiful art, mosaics – mixed with huge Islamic reminders of Allah, Mohammed and his 4 disciples. The big difference between the Churches and Mosques we have seen is that in Mosques there is no Art – no idols or icons or statues – everything is focused on the prayers.
There are the hawkers trying to sell you things, Restaurants selling their bright and yummy food, music, cars, laughter. It is a big city – 13 million people, split into 3 areas and 2 continents – Old City, New City, Asia City.