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Old September 28th, 2011, 01:28 PM   #461
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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:34 PM   #462
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Day 40-44: Istanbul, Turkey (part I)

The megacity between Europe and Asia is not only the largest and most important city of Turkey, but with a population of 13 million in the city and around 20 million with suburbs the 4th largest city in the world.
Already an important regional center in ancient Greek times as Byzantion, the city became a huge metropolis as emperor Constantine the Great chose to make it the new capital of the Roman empire in early 4th century. As Constantinople, it remained capital of the East Roman or Byzantine empire after the division of the Roman empire in 395 until 1453. In the middle ages, it was by far the largest and most splendid city of the Christian world. Under emperor Justinian I. in the 6th century, Constantinople reached a population of approximately 500,000-700,000 while the largest cities of western Europe were shabby villages with a few thousand inhabitants.
After it was conquered by the Osmans in 1453, the city rose again as the new capital of the Osman empire and again became a world metropolis especially in the 16th and 17th centuries - islamic architecture reached perhaps its highest peak in this time in Constantinople.
After long stagnation, Istanbul started booming again with faster and faster pace in the 20th century, becoming one of the most dynamic cities in the world. Today, Istanbul probably is the most cosmopolitan, open-minded, vivid and highest developed city in the islamic world.











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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:35 PM   #463
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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:37 PM   #464
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Hagia Sophia, 6th century (minarets 15th century), main church of the Byzantine empire and for around 1000 years the largest church of the world, later transformed into a mosque, now museum:







Sultanahmet mosque ("Blue mosque"), early 16th century, probably the most beautiful of the Osman monumental mosques in Istanbul:



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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:38 PM   #465
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Funeral monument of Osman princes, 15th century:









Sultanahmet mosque again:



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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:39 PM   #466
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Egyptian obelisk, brought into the new capital as a decoration for the giant hippodrome in 5th century:



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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:40 PM   #467
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Small mosque of the late 15th century:











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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:41 PM   #468
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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:42 PM   #469
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Beyazit mosque, built from 1501 to 1506:



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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:42 PM   #470
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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:43 PM   #471
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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:44 PM   #472
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Old September 29th, 2011, 03:44 PM   #473
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Old September 30th, 2011, 03:22 PM   #474
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Day 40-44: Istanbul, Turkey (part II)











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Old September 30th, 2011, 03:23 PM   #475
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Late Roman aqueduct, 5th century:









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Old September 30th, 2011, 03:23 PM   #476
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Old September 30th, 2011, 03:24 PM   #477
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Old September 30th, 2011, 03:25 PM   #478
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Old September 30th, 2011, 03:26 PM   #479
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New mosque, around 1600:





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Old September 30th, 2011, 03:27 PM   #480
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Bosporus bridge linking Europe (On the left) and Asia (On the right):

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