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1st visit: 2008. Istanbul, Turkey. Hagia Sophia is gorgeous in person.

The interior of Hagia Sophia. Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later an imperial mosque, and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey.

Istanbul --   A quiet moment amid the many cafés and bars that line  Nevizade Street.

Alan Richman Reviews Middle Eastern Food in Instanbul

Istanbul -- A quiet moment amid the many cafés and bars that line Nevizade Street. Food in Istanbul

Topkapi Sarayi Palace - Istanbul, Turkey

Topkapi Sarayi Palace - Istanbul, Turkey From this balcony, the sultan could see merchant ships pass through the straight.

Look at the Galata Tower in Istabul! Isn't it amazing...gotta love good architecture. www.annjaneliving.com

Look at the Galata Tower in Istanbul viewed from the European side. One can dine there and visit the narrow balcony surrounding the building for spectacular views.

30 famous places that you MUST see - Sultanahmet from Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

30 famous places that you MUST see

30 famous places that you MUST see Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque) from Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey CHECK

Textile-lovers, take note: Tulu Textiles is where in-the-know stylesetters score the dreamiest pillows, linens, and fabric in Istanbul.

The Insider’s Guide to Istanbul

Textile-lovers, take note: Tulu Textiles is where in-the-know stylesetters score the dreamiest pillows, linens, and fabric. Photo courtesy of Tulu Textiles