I've received this (and other 2) wonderful card today from my new penpal Gökçe :) It shows the Sultanahmet Mosque and Haghia Sophia. I haven't been to Turkey, but I find İstanbul one of the most fascinating cities of the world and that's one of the places that I just must visit during my life! As a person, who is interested in history, I enjoy visiting old cities and towns, especially the ones which are older than my own city, so over 1000 years old. But İstanbul isn't simply an ancient city - it's a city which used to be the centre of different empires, different cultures and religions. The historic circumstances were changing, also İstanbul's name was changing, but it was always one of the most important cities in the world.
The history of Hagia Sophia is a good example of the city's history in general - it was built as a Christian patriarchal basilica in 4th century and was later turned into a mosque (and minarets were added). Now it's a museum.
The Sultanahmet Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, was built between 1609 and 1616 and is the national mosque of Turkey.
Last, but not least, as I've written in one of the posts about İstanbul bridges, I love all kind of borders :) So receiving a card, on which I can see both Europe and Asia, makes me very happy :))
Istanbul (Turkish: İstanbul; historically Byzantium and later Constantinople) is the largest city in Turkey, largest city proper and second largest metropolitan area in Europe, and fourth largest city proper in the world with a population of 12.6 million. Istanbul is the cultural and financial center of Turkey. The city covers 27 districts of the Istanbul province. It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbor known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the Europe (Thrace) and on the Asia (Anatolia) side of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. In its long history, Istanbul served as the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). The city was chosen as joint European Capital of Culture for 2010. The historic areas of Istanbul were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.