Istanbul's Hagia Sophia
Lying in northwest Turkey, at the junction between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, is Istanbul. Ancient Constantinople, this was the capital of the Byzantine Empire, the Greek speaking half of the Roman Empire which survived the barbarian invasions. In 1453, it fell to the Ottoman Turks, who converted it to Islam and called it Istanbul. At its heart, two great mosques tower over the bay. The elder of the two is called Hagia Sophia, it is the Greek for Saint Sophia, and it was not built as a mosque. It was conceived to be the greatest Christian church in the Byzantine Empire.
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