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We had walked around the historic heart of Sultanahmet on the evening we landed (and learned not to buy water from the little shop on the corner immediately across the street from the hotel--he charged far more than other nearby shops).

On the morning of September 17, we set out to explore Hagia Sophia ("Saint Sophia" or "Holy Wisdom"). [In Turkish it's called Ayasofya; Turkish spellings will be given in parentheses throughout this site.]

This famous domed church was built by designs by Anthemios of Tralles and Isidoros of Miletus at the orders of the famous Emperor Justinian (527-565 CE). It remained perhaps the most imposing church in Christendom until the Renaissance, and it contained the largest dome in the world during that period.

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