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  • Blue Mosque: This landmark mosque assumes a stance of authority over Sultanahmet Park. Just under the dome, hundreds of stained-glass windows sparkle like jewels until you are convinced that you're in the presence of a celestial being. The blue of the mosque actually changes to yellow, orange, and red, depending on the time of day.
  • Ayasofya: When faced with the dome of this masterpiece, it's tempting to mimic the actions of Mehmet the Conqueror almost 600 years ago and drop to your knees in a gesture of utter humility. The sensation is intensified by the low level of filtered light that finds its way in, temporarily blinding you to everything except the source of illumination.
  • Topkapi Palace: Perspective check -- this was once somebody's house. Actually, it was the home of a whole lot of people -- up to 5,000 at a time, all in the service of one man. The sultan surrounded himself with the most beautiful women in the world. He collected the most precious treasures of the East. He assembled the most sacred relics of the Muslim faith under this roof. Six hundred years of Ottoman history lie behind these grand ornamental gates.
  • Istanbul Archaeology Museum: This is one of those must-see museums that all too many overlook. It's actually the largest museum in the country, chronicling in stone both the lives of Byzantium's emperors and of Istanbul. Recovered artifacts date back to 6000 B.C. and proceed through the centuries. A separate building houses the Museum of the Ancient Orient, exhibiting artifacts obtained during the course of the Ottoman period.
  • St. Savior in Chora: An empire's devotion to the faith is mirrored in the opulence of the finest preserved collections of Byzantine mosaics just about anywhere.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.