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June 2, 2002

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Istanbul, once the center of the civilized, Christian world, the jewel of the Ottoman Empire, today it remains the soul of Turkey. Here you can walk across a bridge from Europe to Asia, or relive history by walking down the streets and alleys of Istanbul’s old quarter.
Roman emperor Justinian (famous for establishing law and handing down the word ‘justice’) built this church, Aya Sofia, in 548. For over 1000 years this was the greatest church in Christendom and an architectural wonder that influenced all churches and mosques built after it. It’s soaring dome, 14 stories high, still awes visitors.
The Blue Mosque, built to surpass the Aya Sofia’s grandeur, stands as one of the most famous mosques of Islam. It takes its name from the richly decorated, blue porcelain tiles that cover the interior walls and dome.
During the summer months the Turks present a free lightshow commemorating the achievement of the Blue Mosque's construction.