While researching a brief trip to Istanbul, I learned that the underground Basilica Cistern, an archeological attraction built by the emperor Justinian I in the 6th century, was full of carp. I stuffed an old 5wt and some proven patterns from my brother into my bag and prepared to thwart the Turkish polis in an attempt to land a carp in one of the most unique settings imaginable.
Sadly, the hoards of tourists and antiquities employees thwarted me instead. There were many more people than I anticipated willing to descend underground to see the engineering marvel that is the cistern. There were probably very few who were looking at the carp as hungrily as I was.
The cistern was abandoned when the city changed hands over the years, and not rediscovered until the 1950's, when archaeologists learned of residents catching fish by lowering baskets through holes in their floors, into the water stores below.
Hundreds of native golden ghosts cruise the darkness, feeding on who knows what. Most were less than 10lbs, but we observed the Hog Johnson of the cistern, and estimated it as probably pushing 30lbs. They were all mirrors, and very pale due to generations spent in near perpetual darkness.
The ghosts of the cistern may be untouchable to fly anglers, but actually seeing carp within their native range was something I felt very fortunate to experience, indeed.
Hagia Sofia - good luck doing that justice with a camera.
An actual whirling dervish...
The Blue Mosque
Hagia Sofia at night
Blue Mosque indoors. Again, good luck.
Enigmatic Medusa-headed column.