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Stop #11: Istanbul, Turkey

By David Morris

Istanbul, Turkey

Boy, talk about a city with a rich, wonderful heritage.  First of all, Istanbul is the only city in the world that spans two continents: Europe and Asia.  We had the privilege of walking about in each (so I have now officially been to three continents).  Istanbul is home to 17 million people and the size of the city is 91 miles by 31 miles.  IT IS HUGE!!!

Istanbul is also the only city in the world that can boast about being the capitol city during three different empires.  The first was the Eastern Roman Empire as established by Constantine (at which time the city was called Constantinople).  This is where he established Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire.  Unfortunately, soon thereafter, the eastern part of the empire collapsed and a Greek colonizer named Byzas who founded the Byzantine empire established the city as that empires capitol.  Then later, the Turks, who came from Mongolia, captured the city, renamed it to Istanbul, and made it the capitol of the Ottoman empire.

Istanbul is home to the third largest church in the world (see Florence), which is now the museum in front of the Blue Mosque.  When the Turks took over the city, they converted some of the Christian churches into mosques for Islamic worship but left most of the Christian carving and Christian etchings in tact.   In the case of the Blue Mosque,  the etchings of Christ and Mary still exist.  When they would hold their services, they would cover them up with drapes and when the service was over, would remove the curtains.

I have some wonderful pictures from the city, many of the mosques, and other points of interest in Istanbul.  Enjoy!

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