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Istanbul Holidays Help You Witness Impressive Attractions

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By Author: Amanda Sutcliffe
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When you are in the transcontinental city of Istanbul, you'll have plenty of things worth seeing. This Turkish city was coveted by various empires in the past for centuries. Based on the Neolithic artefacts discovered at the beginning of the 21st century by archaeologists, the history of this city goes as far back as 6000 BCE. However, the history of the city proper began with it being established as Byzantium by Greek settlers around 660 BCE on the Bosphorus strait's European side. Later it was ruled by the Romans and Ottoman Turks. During your winter holidays spent in this city, you'll get the chance to explore its popular attractions.

Among the most prominent ones you can visit during your Istanbul holidays is Aya Sofya. Also called Hagia Sophia, it was first built as a cathedral at the beginning of the Middle Ages in 360 AD and it became famous for its massive dome. When it was built, it was the largest building in the world and was considered an engineering marvel. During the mid-15th century, it was converted into a mosque when ...
... the Ottomans established their rule over the region. When it was a church, the area surrounding the throne of the emperor within the church was considered the world's centre.

Yet another architectural marvel is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which is popularly known as the 'Blue Mosque'. It gets its nickname from the blue shades on its domes and minarets, as well as the hand-painted blue tiles in its interiors. The mosque was built on the orders of Sultan Ahmed I in the early 17th century. It had caused much furore across the Islamic world when it was finished owing to its six minarets, which matched the number of minarets of the Great Mosque of Mecca. A seventh minaret had to be gifted to the mosque of Mecca to put an end to the dissent.

During your winter holidays in Istanbul, you'll also get to explore the Topkapi Palace. It was first constructed on the orders of Sultan Mehmed II, also known as Mehmed the Conqueror. This palace is located beside the Bosphorus and was the home of the Ottoman Sultans until the 19th century. You'll come across some fascinating works of Islamic art while exploring this building. Among the major highlights of this grand palace are its Harem and the Second Court. While exploring the Third Court, you can browse the intriguing collection of Prophet Muhammad's relics.

One of the most awe-inspiring attractions you'll get to witness while holidaying in this Turkish city is the Basilica Cistern. It comprises a massive underground hall, which looks like a palace and has 336 columns supporting it in 12 rows. The cistern was once used to store the imperial water supply to be used by the Byzantine emperors. The construction of this cistern began during the rule of Constantine the Great but was finished in the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Justinian. Most of the columns that were used while constructing the cistern were brought from earlier classical structures.

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