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Hattusas is over 4,000 years old and was capital of the Hititties.

Istanbul (Byzantium, Constantinople) is the only city in the world built on two continents and is the crossroads of the ancient civilizations. 3,000 years ago it was home to  ancient fishing villages and since has been a capital three times: Byzantium 657 B.C., Constantinople 324 and Istanbul 1453. Today it is a melting pot with over 10 million inhabitants of different cultures and religions working and playing in chaotic harmony. Istanbul is divided by the Bosphorous, a wide water strait connecting the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Two suspension bridges connect Europe and Asia. Fortresses, palaces, historical mansions and countless other points of interest line up the busy Bosphorous. The southern end leads to the mystical Golden Horn. Saint Sophia Nearby is one of the greatest architectural  creations in the world, Aya Sofya the Church of Holy Wisdom (Basilica St. Sophia). Many consider it as the "Eighth" Wonder of the World: Built by the Byzantium Emperor Justinian circa 535, it is awesome in size, still the biggest basilica in the world and contains well preserved Byzantine mosaics. It is influenced by Roman and oriental characteristics. Adjacent is the site of the Hippodrome that once held 100,000 spectators of chariot races and gladiators. On the site are the Obelisk from Egypt, Serpentine Column from Delphi and fountain of Willhelm II.  The Byzantine (Sunken) Cistern built in 532 was once used as a huge water storage. Today it is an eerie underground maze of dimly lit walkways with Medusa heads, 336 columns, carp in the water and classical music playing in the background. St. Chora originally built in 5th century, has splendid mosaics and mural paintings depicting biblical scenes starting with Adam and Eve.

Galata DistrictIn 1453, Fatih the Conqueror took over the city and made it the capital of the Ottoman Empire. During his reign Fatih Mosque and the Topkapi Palace were built. Today the legendary Topkapi Palace, home of the Ottoman Sultans, is a museum displaying the Emperors personal artifacts, lifestyle, Harem, armory, priceless treasures including the 84 carat Kasikci diamond and a huge collection of Chinese and Japanese porcelains. Other majestic palaces include Dolmabahce and Beylerbeyi. The Sultan Ahmet Blue Mosque is known for its 20,000 exquisite blue Iznik tiles and 260 stained glass windows. Suleymaniye Mosque with its breathtaking vast dome and architectural ingenuity is the largest mosque in Turkey. The great architect Sinan's tomb is located here along with his emperor's, Suleyman the Magnificent. Kapali Carsi, Grand Bazaar, is the world famous ancient bazaar. It consists of a maze of covered streets housing over 4,000 small artisan shops selling precious handmade rugs, jewelry, leather goods, souvenirs, etc. and restaurants. There are an endless number of things to see and do in Istanbul.

Izmir Clock TowerIzmir (Smyrna) In addition to its rich history, it is Turkey's third largest city and has the busiest port. Situated around a bay, it has beautiful promenades lined with palm trees, outdoor cafes and restaurants. Ancient Smyrna was the Ionian capital where Homer, author of Iliad and Odyssey, was born. It was considered the most beautiful Roman provincial city in Asia. In the 4th century Lysimachos, a general of Alexander the Great, built Kadifekale (Velvet Fortress) on Mt. Pagus, since then the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires have left their marks too. This site offers magnificent birds eye view of the gulf and city below. At Bayrakli is the 7th century B.C. temple of Goddess Athena and the recently excavated 10th century B.C. brick house.

A few other points of interest are the 2nd century Agora, Roman forum, Roman aqueduct, Archaeology Museum and the Bazaar District with its maze of narrow streets. Close to Izmir are the Balcova Thermal Baths that were once the Baths of Agamemnon.

During the Spanish Inquisition, the Jews found refuge in the Ottoman Empire and many settled in Smyrna. At one point the number of active synagogues and houses of prayer reached fifty before the migration to the Americas and later to Israel. Now there are seven synagogues giving service to this community. Izmir has many well preserved houses of worship among them are its largest synagogue - Beth Israel Synagogue, its oldest church built in 1625 - St. Polycarp Church and its oldest mosque built in 1592 - Hisar Cami. Smyrna is one of the Seven Churches: Revelation 2:8-11

Film Strip of Cities and Sites

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