Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque and now a museum in Istanbul. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture". It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.

Blue Mosque

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is a historical mosque in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey and the capital of the Ottoman Empire (from 1453 to 1923). The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.

The Blue Mosque was built between 1609 and 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. While still used as a mosque, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque has also become a popular tourist attraction.

Religion in Turkey

Islam is the largest religion of Turkey. More than 99 percent of the population is registered as Muslim, mostly Sunni.

Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul's cosmopolitan Beyoglu District

Graffiti and street art in Istanbul

Whirling Dervishes Souvenir

Quote from Meet Joe Black: I want you to get swept away out there. I want you to levitate. I want you to sing with rapture and dance like a dirvish...

Need I say more?

A local Turk smiling at my camera

The name of Turkey, Turkiye in the Turkish language, can be divided into two components: Turk, which means "strong" or "mighty" in Old Turkic and usually signifying the inhabitants of Turkey or a member of the Turkish or Turkic peoples, a later form of "Tu–kin", a name given by the Chinese to the people living south of the Altay Mountains of Central Asia as early as 177 BCE.

Jampacked in Taksim Square

Turks and tourists celebrating the Big Eid 2008.

The only country that falls between two continents

Turkey's location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance.