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Istanbul biggest draw remains its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sultan Ahmed Mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. At its lower levels and at every pier, the interior of the mosque is lined with more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles in more than fifty different tulip designs. Dolmabahe Palace, located in the Beikta district on the European coastline of the Bosphorus strait, served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922, Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. Topkapi Palace was the Sultan's residence during Ottoman's times. Construction began in 1459, ordered by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Byzantine Constantinople. The palace complex consists of four main courtyards and many smaller buildings. At its peak, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people, The Spice Bazaar, or Egyptian Bazaar is one of the largest bazaars in the city. Located in Fatih, in the neighborhood of Eminn and is the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar. The building qitself is part of the klliye of Yeni Mosque, and rents from the shops within was intended to help pay for the upkeep of the mosque. The structure was designed by the chief court architect Koca Kasm Aa, but completed by architect Mustafa in 1660.
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