Istanbul

Istanbul


Hi, I’m Rick Steves, back with more of
the best of Europe. This time we’re relaxed
and getting all cleaned up for a Turkish experience
in Istanbul. Thanks for joining us. ♫ Istanbul is one of the great
cities on Earth, period. For thousands of years,
this point where East meets West has been a crossroads
of civilization. Few places on earth
have witnessed more history than this sprawling metropolis
on the Bosphorus. We’ll cruise the Golden Horn,
shop the Grand Bazaar, and check out a poor man’s
Wall Street, sample some Turkish delights… Oh, that’s good, yeah. Smoke anargile, eat fish fresh off the boat, explore the harem
in the Topkapi Palace, marvel at Byzantine domes, and lose ourselves
in a sea of people in this vast and complex city. Turkey bridges Europe and Asia. Istanbul, its largest city
and commercial center, straddles the strategic
Bosphorus Strait. Part of the city is in Europe
and part in Asia. The Golden Horn inlet
divides the new town, with its high-energy
business zones, from the old town, where you’ll find
the major sites. As a city which is
over 90% Muslim, Istanbul offers
a good opportunity to better understand Islam. Visitors are welcome
to visit historic mosques and, at the same time,
experience a religion that still packs the house. The Blue Mosque was
the 17th-century triumph of Sultan Ahmet I. Architecturally,
with its six minarets, it rivaled
the great mosque in Mecca, the holiest in all Islam. Its grand courtyard
welcomes the crowd that gathers for worship. ♫ As with all mosques,
you park your shoes at the door, and women cover their heads. If they don’t have a scarf,
there are loaners at the door. Countless beautiful tiles
fill the interior with exquisite floral
and geometric motifs. It’s nicknamed the Blue Mosque
because of its blue tiles. Blue is a popular color
in Turkey. It impressed early
French visitors enough for them to call it
“the color of the Turks,” or,turquoise. While churches portray
people like this, Muslims believe
the portrayal of people in places of worship
draws attention away from worshiping Allah
as the one God. In mosques, rather than
saints and prophets, you’ll see geometrical designs
and calligraphy. This explains why,
historically, the Muslim world excelled
at non-figurative art while artists from
Christian Europe focused on painting and sculpture
of the human form. Artful Arabic calligraphy
generally shows excerpts from the Quran
and quotes from Muhammad. As a church would have Jesus
and God front-and-center, in a mosque,
elaborate signature medallions high above the prayer niche
say “Muhammad” and “Allah.” Large ceremonial candles
flank the mihrab. That’s the niche which
points southeast to Mecca in Saudi Arabia,
where all Muslims face when they worship. Services are segregated by gender —
the main hall is reserved for men,
while the women’s section is in the back. While, to some, it’s demeaning
to make women stay in back, Muslims see it as
a practical matter. Women would rather have
the option of performing the physical act of praying
in private.Muezzin: ♪ Allah
hu akbar ♪
♪ Allah hu akbar ♪like churches have bell towers,
mosques have minarets. According to Muslim tradition,
the imam, or prayer leader, would climb to the top
of a minaret to call the faithful to prayer. ♪Hadu anna Muhammadan…♪ These days, the prayer leader still performs
the call to prayer live, but it’s amplified
by loudspeakers at the top of the minarets.[ muezzin calling ]♪ Allah hu akbar ♪The call is always the same —“Allah akbar,”
“God is great. “Witness there is only one God,
Muhammad is his prophet. “Come join the prayer. “Come join the salvation.” ♫ When this happens,
practicing Muslims drop into a mosque,
face Mecca, and pray to God. [ muezzin calling ] Then, after a short service
praising God, workaday life resumes. ♫ Modern Turkish culture
is complex. To sort it out properly,
I’m joined by my Turkish friend
Lale Surmen Aran, who co-authors
my Istanbul guidebook. So what does the call to prayer
mean to you? See, it’s a personal thing. Most of the people you see
here are probably Muslims, but Turkey’s
a secular country. It’s in our constitution. But, on the other hand,
we say that you never know who has got the money
or the faith. The real virtue
is not to show it off. Steves: Turks love to meet and mingle at Ortaköy,
just under the massive bridge that connected Europe with Asia
in 1973. The tempo of life in Turkey,
like other Mediterranean lands, is slow enough to enjoy
the moment and good friends. People love their tea, the sound of dice
on the backgammon board, and sucking on the hookah,
ornargile, generally a tobacco-free
dried-fruit smoke. ♫ This city,
so layered with rich history, was officially named “Istanbul”
only in 1923 with the foundation of
the modern Turkish republic. Before that, it was called
“Constantinople.” Over the centuries,
this city has been the capital
of two grand empires. The Byzantine Empire
started in the 4th century and lasted until
the 15th century. That’s when the Ottomans
took over and ruled until
the end of World War I. Today, even though Turkey
is governed from Ankara, Istanbul remains
the financial, cultural, and historic center
of this country. As ancient Rome was falling,
Emperor Constantine moved the capital
from the West here to the less chaotic East
in around 324 AD. It was named Constantinople
in his honor. Then, in 476,
Rome and the Western Empire fell to invading Barbarians. That left Constantinople
the leading city of Western Civilization. Traces of the Roman capital
can still be found. This square was a race track,
like the Circus Maximus in Rome. Built in the 4th century
to seat over 60,000 fans, the Hippodrome
was Constantinople’s primary venue
for chariot races. Its centerpiece,
this 3,500-year-old ancient Egyptian obelisk,
was originally carved to honor a pharaoh. It was moved here
to ornament the race track in the 4th century. What you see today
is only the upper third of the original
massive stone tower. While you won’t find
any chariot races these days, Istanbul remains
a city of experiences. One of the most memorable
is enjoying a Turkish bath. Today,
baths welcome tourists and give a peek
into a rich tradition. You leave absolutely everything
in the changing room. Slip ungracefully
into wooden slippers and shuffle into
the steamy caldarium. Turks brought the steam bath
with them from central Asia, blended it with
the Roman bath culture they found here,
and created the Turkish bath. First,
you relax at the basin — heat up, soften up
under a cascade of hot water. Savor the experience, achieving maximum
sweating and relaxation. Then your attendant
works you over, scrubbing vigorously
with rough brillo-pad type mitts, then sudsing and washing. Refreshed and cleaner than
you can remember ever being, you venture back
into the city, ready for more
history and art. The best look at
ancient Constantinople is a church-turned-mosque
that’s been considered among the greatest
houses of worship in both the Christian
and Muslim worlds — Hagia Sophia,
the great church of Constantinople. Built by the Byzantine
Emperor Justinian in the early 6th century on the grandest scale possible,
it was later converted into a mosque
by the conquering Ottomans. Today, it’s a museum. Hagia Sophia,
which marks the high point of Byzantine architecture, is the pinnacle
of that society’s 6th-century glory days. This church was completed
in 537, just about when Europe
was entering its Dark Ages. For four centuries after that,
Christians in Europe looked to Constantinople
as the leading city in Christendom,
and this was its leading church. This clever
dome-upon-dome construction was the biggest dome anywhere until the cathedral
of Florence was finished during the Renaissance,
900 years later. The vast interior
gives the impression of a golden weightless shell, gracefully disguising
the massive overhead load supported by
masterful Byzantine engineering. 40 arched windows
shed a soft light on the interior,
showing off the church’s original marble
and glittering mosaics. But the Byzantine empire
collapsed in the 15th century, and Hagia Sophia
was turned into a mosque. Christian mosaics
were plastered over, and new religious symbols
replaced the old. This church was built
to face Jerusalem. Mosques face Mecca. When Hagia Sophia
became a mosque, they couldn’t move the church,
but they could move the focal point
of the praying. Notice how the prayer niche
is just a little bit off-center. That’s because it faces Mecca. The Galata Bridge spans
the easy-to-defend inlet called the Golden Horn
in the very heart of Istanbul. A stroll across the bridge
offers panoramic views of Istanbul’s Old Town, a chance to see how
the fishermen are doing… And plenty of options
for a drink or meal with a view. For fast food, Istanbul-style,
we’re grabbing a fishwich, fresh from the guys
who caught it, at one of the venerable and very tipsy
“fish and bread” boats. Oh, man. [ speaking Turkish ] [ speaking Turkish ] This is Istanbul fast food, huh? Now this is
what kind of fish? Fresh mackerel. From near the Galata Bridge, it’s easy to hop a tour boat
for a relaxing sail up the Bosphorus
and a chance to see the city from the water,
with Europe on one side and Asia on the other. You’ll pass
massive cruise ships which pour thousands of tourists
into the city for a frantic day
of sightseeing and shopping. The boat passes homes
of wealthy locals who can afford some of
the priciest real estate in Turkey —
Bosphorus waterfront. The dramatic Bosphorus Bridge was the first bridge ever
to span two continents. And the Rumeli Fortress
was built by the Ottomans the year before they conquered
the city of Constantinople. Tour boats
share the Bosphorus with plenty of
commercial traffic. The narrow and strategic strait
is a bottle neck busy with freighters, including lots of
Ukrainian and Russian ships, since this is the only route
from ports on the Black Sea out to the Mediterranean. For more crowds
and urban energy, you can join
the million commuters who ferry over and back
every day from the Asian side
of Istanbul. Ferries shuttle in and out from all directions
as seas of locals make their daily half-hour
intercontinental commute. But for me,
the ultimate joy of teeming and vibrant Istanbul
is back in the Old Town, simply exploring
its busy streets. The venerable Spice Market,
while a touristy scene today, still sells
its exotic range of products, and the air is heavy with aromatic spices. You’ll find everything
a sultan could want — saffron and cinnamon, dried vegetables and fruits,
pistachios and hazelnuts, and a cornucopia of sweets,
including, of course, Turkish Delight. Okay, so this is
Turkish Delight. Aran: It comes in
a variety of flavors, but the most favorite
of the Turks is the pistachio flavored. Mmm.
Oh, that’s good, yeah. Istanbul’s been a busy
trading center from the start, so it needed to be
well-protected. This imposing wall
helped fortify the ancient Byzantine capital. The wall sealed off the city, protecting it on the one side
where the water didn’t. Dating from the 5th century, these ramparts stood strong
against both Catholic Europe from the West and the Muslim forces
from the East until 1453. Finally, the Ottoman Turks,
who for centuries had been on the rise
and chipping away at the Byzantine empire,
broke through the walls. They established the city
as the capital of their growing empire
and transformed Christian Constantinople
into a Muslim city. Our storybook image
of the Ottomans — sultans, harems, eunuchs —
is best imagined here in the Topkapi Palace. Built in the late 15th century,
this was the power center of the Ottoman empire
for almost 400 years. Its buildings form
a series of courtyards, the outer being used
for public functions. The further in you go,
the more private the rooms. Among the most private
was the harem. The wordharemmeans
“forbidden” in Arabic. It’s the huge suite
where the sultan lived with his wives,
female slaves, and children. Aran: This is the largest room
in the harem. It was the entertainment room,
and used for activities like the wedding of
the sultan’s daughters. This was the divan that
the sultan used as a throne. The divans by the window
were used by the queen mother
and the wives of the sultan, and the musicians used
the balcony up above. But when I say “a party,” do not imagine
a public event. It was rather for
the family of the sultan. So just a small
family affair. The sultan, his mom,
his wives, and his girlfriends. His favorites. The whole purpose
of the harem was to provide future
heirs to the throne, to the Ottoman throne. But most of the tourists
think that it was a party place, a fantasy place —
it was not. It was an institution
that had its own rules, it was very well-regulated, and these rules
were very strict. The sultan was not above
these rules. So the sultan didn’t just
come in and pick a girl. Definitely not. It was the queen mother,
mother of the sultan, mostly, that decided
what should happen in the harem, and it was, again,
the queen mother that decided whom
the sultan socialized with. Steves: And, of course,
the sultan enjoyed a state-of-the-art bathroom, complete with hot and cold
running water. Bathed in light from these
exquisite stained glass windows, this is where
the sultan relaxed, entertained,
and savored the sumptuous luxury his power provided. Some of the sultan’s opulence is still on display
in the palace museum. The exquisite Topkapi dagger
wows tourists with its dazzling diamonds
and golf-ball-sized emeralds. Clearly, the Ottomans,
in their heyday, were a wealthy power. The palace is also
a holy spot for Muslims, containing relics of Muhammad
and other prophets, some of whom are revered
in both the Bible and the Quran. This contains
what’s considered to be the arm of St. John the Baptist. And here’s John’s skull
inside this jeweled case. For Muslims,
the most precious relics are those of Muhammad —
his bow and sword, exquisite cases containing
his tooth, some hair, and his holy seal. [ chanting ] And, in the adjacent room, ahafiz
that’s someone who’s memorized all 6,000 verses of the Quran —
is part of a team that sings verses
from the Muslim holy book 24 hours a day,
seven days a week. [ singing ] For generations, Europe dreaded
the Ottoman threat. They were on the march,
even knocking on Vienna’s fortified door. But, through the 19th century,
a combination of corruption,
incompetent sultans, and an antiquated
medieval organization all contributed to
the eventual fall of the Ottoman empire. The Topkapi Palace represents
the pinnacle of Ottoman power. For the pinnacle
of Ottoman shopping, visitors seek out
the Grand Bazaar. In many ways,
Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar remains much as it was
centuries ago, enchanting
and perplexing visitors with its maze-like network of
more than 4,000 colorful shops, fragrant eateries,
and insistent shopkeepers. No, it’s your turn. [ laughs ]
What do you have? Is it possible to show you
something you don’t need? Show me something I don’t need,
that would be very nice. Have some fun
with these guys. You have more
than you need. I’m a lucky man today. Yes, that you are. A special price? Despite the tourists
and the knickknacks, the heart of the Grand Bazaar
still beats, giving the observant visitor
an unforgettable memory. [ speaking Turkish ] In its day, this labyrinthine
warren of shops under fine arches
was the “world trade center” for the entire Ottoman Empire, locked down and guarded by more
than 100 soldiers every night. Today,
the main drag is touristy, but the complex is so big,
it’s still easy to escape the tourist zones
and discover some authentic
nooks and crannies. Surprises await in the low-rent
fringes of the market. [ crowd shouting ] A commotion of shouting marks the bazaar’s
“poor man’s Wall Street.” These currency brokers
are frantically swapping fortunes of euros,
dollars, and Turkish lira for their clients. [ shouting ] Others put their
fortune in gold. The many jewelry shops
are a reminder that Turks love gold, not because they’re
vain or greedy, but because it’s considered
a practical and tangible place
to store their wealth. Around the corner,
surrounding a humble courtyard, sooty smiths labor
before furnaces. They’re melting gold off cuts and sweepings
from nearby jewelers’ workshops back into a pure
and more usable form. Gold, gold. To get a full
and balanced appreciation for today’s Istanbul,
you must leave the old town and explore the lively,
more cosmopolitan neighborhoods. For the visitor, Istanbul’s single tram line
is a godsend, lacing together
the most interesting sightseeing areas. While often packed, it zips directly through
the middle of town fast, unaffected by
the frequent traffic jams. We’re riding it
from the old town over the Galata Bridge
into the new town, where we’ll pick up
a subterranean funicular, then climb up to the place where everyone
seems to be heading — Taksim Square,
Istanbul’s contemporary heart. Taksim square,
a major transportation hub, gives us a good taste
of modern Istanbul. The traffic circles a statue
that celebrates the father of modern Turkey — Mustafa Kemal Atatuürk. If Turkey is
western-looking today, you can thank this man. In the 19th century,
the Ottoman Empire was in a state of decline. Backing Germany in World War I
and, therefore, losing, the decrepit old empire
was swept away, and from its remnants arose
the modern republic of Turkey, founded in 1923 by Atatuürk. The monument shows
the two sides of Atatuürk — the military hero of
the War of Independence and civilian Atatuürk,
the first president of modern Turkey,
surrounded by figures representing the proclamation
of the republic. Nearby, a colorful trolley
travels the length of the city’s
main shopping boulevard, Istiklal Caddesi. It’s teeming with people, lined with shopping temptations and showy street food, and sports some
fine old architecture, a reminder that
this street was home to the city’s western-looking
elite in the 19th century. Even today,
Istanbul’s churches and international consulates
are in this district. And the street offers
an enticing parade of taste treats. These desserts come with
plenty of honey. “Döner” means “revolving,” and you’ll know why when
tempted by a döner kebab. And, for a fast meal
with no language barrier, ubiquitous
cafeteria-style restaurants present
a can-can of fresh and traditional Turkish food
prepared in home-cooked style. And my favorite way
to experience urban Istanbul is simply to hike
the entire length of this main
pedestrian boulevard, immersed in
a fascinating sea of people. Stand still for a moment
and watch the people. This is today’s Turkey. Modern Turkey
is a melting pot of 20-or-so
different ethnic groups — Turk, Kurd, Armenian, Jew, Greek, Georgian, and Gypsy,
and styles from the very traditional
to the very latest. The city is a huge draw
for visitors, still a crossroads
of humanity. And, according to
the Turkish proverb, every guest is
a gift from God. Like its bridge,
Istanbul brings East and West together
with a complex weave of modern affluence,
Western secularism, and traditional Muslim faith, it’s a dynamic
and stimulating city well worth experiencing. Thanks for joining us. I’m Rick Steves. Until next time,
keep on travelin’.

Comments

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    诪讬讻讗诇 讗讘讬砖专

    讟专讜专讬住讟讬诐 讗讬住讟谞讘讜诇 砖讬讬讻转 诇讬讜讜谉 砖砖诪讛 拽讜住讟谞讬谞讜驻讜诇 讗专讚讜讗谉 讟专讜专讬住讟 讘谉 讟专讜专讬住讟 砖砖诇讟讜 讘讗专爪谞讜 400 砖谞讛 . 讜诇讗讞专 诪讻谉 砖诇讗讜 讛讗谞讙诇讬诐 23 砖谞讬诐 诪讻诇讘讬诐 讛讗诇讛 砖讗讜讻诇讬诐 诇讗专讜讞转 爪讜讛讜专讬讬谉 爪 驻 专 讚 注 讬 诐 讗讬讻住 诪诪砖 诪讙注讬诇讬诐 讙诐 讛诪诇讻讛 讗讜讻诇转 讗转 讛爪驻专讚注讬诐 讙诐 讛诪诇讻讛 讻诇讘讛 讘转 讻诇讘讛
    讘讞讬讬诐 诇讗 讘讬拽专讛 讘讬砖专讗诇

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    Bronson Deleon

    I know it's normal there, but I would prefer a girl to give me a soapy bath rather than a fat man, it's just wrong, not a good culture on that aspect.

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    sultan 艧enez

    I recommend you to go to Cappadocia. Amazing country, lovely people, delicious foods, fantastic areas. Love u Turkey 鉂わ笍馃嚬馃嚪

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    Mou Bhattacherjee

    Am interested about turkey bcs of their tarkis serial..Hande ercel( Hayat) & Burak deniz( Murat)my best actor ever.. I wish I will visit Turkey in my life..

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    Anas Suhaimi

    Imam usually don't do the call for prayer (Adzan), it's the task of Muezzin, also called Bilal (the title is a homage to the first Muezzin, Bilal Bin Rabah). The story of Bilal Bin Rabah is pretty amazing, check it out. The second call for prayer, ie. Iqamah, sometime is done by the Imam especially if the congregation number is very small. However, Iqamah is not done from minaret, rather it's done from inside the prayer hall about 5-10 minutes after the Adzan as it's meant for those already in the mosque signalling the prayer session is starting.

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    Anas Suhaimi

    21:30 "If tTurkey is looking western today, thank to Kemal Attaturk".
    1) Feeling thankful towards someone for making their Eastern country into a Western one
    2) People come to Turkey for the Eastern legacy, yet wishing it's Westernized
    doesn't sound right to me.

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    Jackson Tremaine

    That Turkish woman is trying a little too hard to overexplain and justify the Sultan's harem. Give us a break. The sultan didn't need that many women to ensure an heir. He kept concubines for the same reason men have always kept dozens of women on hand: for sexual gratification, personal enjoyment, and a delusion of power. Again, give us a break.

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    Aulia Devi

    You know the fact the western SOLD AND BOUGHT for something FAILED OF TRIAL of that smoking, this western wanna put it back that they are who is right by smoking,and blame another doing "adultery" for the FACT they sold and BOUGHT of a "s*x*ual stuff". Congrats. Namimah never be works!!

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    Eric Ulric

    They should take better care of their country. It's so dirty and everyone just traipses over it with no responsibility taken. Please clean those streets: it's indecent.

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    chandrasekaran k.l

    I have had a clear perspective of Istanbul very clearly backed by your commentary reminding me of my study on European History during my college days. Your commentary, a composition of your study on the the subject laced with your beautiful commentary. I could understand your love for touring the place you choose to visit and understand the history of the place you visit.. It is commendable that I should say that I had a personal tour of Istanbul with a clear knowledge of Turkey because of you.

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    Timur

    istanbul is like an active organism that never stops. The city never sleeps and never wakes up. Cities like London and Paris are more mechanical.

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    Independenceforkurdistan Country

    Turkiye??? Where is Turkey??馃馃馃馃 there is a part of Kurdistan + Yonanistan occupied by mongols 馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬馃嚬馃嚪馃挬

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    Lucarinho

    Spent a semester abroad in Istanbul. I didn't know what to expect, just went there and see what happens. Best decision of my life and best time of my life so far.

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    Abraham Lincoln

    Im kurdish from the netherlands east turkey kurdish. I have been to istanbul 2times its very cool and izmir also. And united states also twice usa is so cool amazing people and the food wauw i love it <3. I love united states and turkey. <3 also europe<3.

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    Anna Stasi Travel

    You should at least say byzantines were Greek so other Europeans/ Americans don鈥檛 get confused and think it鈥檚 Italian

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    Ahmed Majed

    I want to spend my whole life in Istanbul. Its my dream. I don't know why but beauty of Istanbul and history of Istanbul always touching my heart .

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    Ruma Rahim

    My husband and I travelled Istanbul last June for a week and absolutely loved it to the max! 馃槉 馃晫 馃嚬馃嚪

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    Krete Shi

    螝蠅谓蟽蟿伪谓蟿喂谓慰蠉蟺慰位喂蟼 螝蠅谓蟽蟿伪谓蟿喂谓慰蠉蟺慰位畏锛侊紒锛
    Constantinopolis锛侊紒锛
    鍚涘+鍧︿竵鍫★紒锛侊紒

    No 陌stanbul锛侊紒锛
    No 賯爻胤賳胤蹖賳蹖賴锛侊紒锛
    No 浼婃柉鍧﹀竷灏旓紒锛侊紒

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    Akl谋selim T眉rkiye鈥檓

    I think that there are so many jealous people about Istanbul. If you don鈥檛 believe me, you can see replies to comments. 馃嚬馃嚪馃嚬馃嚪馃嚬馃嚪馃嚬馃嚪

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    cyservic

    WHO GIVES MONEY TO TURKEY EVEN BY TRAVELING THERE IS WRONG BECAUSE THEY USE YOUR MONEY TO ATTACK IN SYRIA AND KILL PEOPLE 馃檨

    THINK ABOUT IT … IT REAL 脺NFORTUNATELLY !

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    MissKitty

    Emperor Constantine was Greek and the Byzantine Empire was Greek too, not Roman as you falsely mention many times in the video! What a misinforming video! Turks have nothing to do with the history of Constantinople except than conquering it and building minarets over the old Greek buildings and churches.

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    G眉zel S枚zler

    Names-nicknames used for Istanbul(1453 onwards):
    Konstantiniyye, 陌slambol, Payitaht-谋 Saltanat, Dersaadet, Dar眉鈥檒-Hilafet眉鈥檒 Aliye,
    陌stanbul

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