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Balabanova All Over

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[Istanbul, Turkey, May 24, 2019] A gloomy, rainy morning sky greated us on our full first day in Istanbul. Luckily, it was not cold. We borrowed some umbrellas from our hotel and headed to Hagia Sophia, the most easily recognizable Istanbul landmark. The current structure is the third church built at this site in the 6th century by Byzantine Emperor Justinian, the previous two having been destroyed. It remained the largest cathedral… Read More

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[Istanbul, Turkey] Our last day in Istanbul was jam-packed with activities. We had plenty left to see in this ancient city and we were determined to get to most if not all. We started our day with trip #3 to the Blue Mosque. The goal – to finally get inside! On the first day, the line was so long we decided to try later, and the next day we went too late… Read More

[Istanbul, Turkey] We vowed to not let the New Year’s Eve celebrations detract from sightseeing, and so we took the first day of 2013 by the horn and made the most of our time in Sultanahmet. We started off with the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. I heard this museum housed the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. While there is a sarcophagus named Alexander at the museum, it didn’t, in fact, belong to Alexander… Read More

[Istanbul, Turkey] What a better way to send off 2012 than exploring Istanbul all day? Our first stop for the day was Topkapi Palace, which served as the imperial residence for the Ottoman household for 380 years. It was built in the 15th century by Mehmed II and was abandoned in the 19th century, when the family relocated to the Dolmabahce palace, across the Galata bridge but still on the European side… Read More